Forged intro INTRO This is the story of a steel city gone bust. Set in Sydney, and its gritty steel working neighbourhood of Whitney Pier, the story mainly features photographs from two separate bodies of work, shot some 10 years apart — in 2005 and 2014/15. The project is intended to serve as a character tribute, as well as an historical marker, for a place where the forging of steel led to the forging of culture. And more importantly, where the death of steel has put that culture at risk of disappearing forever. Sydney, with a population of just over 30,000, is located on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, on Canada's east coast. The entire region has suffered decades of economic downturn and the loss of integral industries, resulting in unemployment, poverty and out-migration. And on the 100th anniversary of a culture born of steel making, a paradigm shift was set in motion by the inevitable closure of Sydney's steel plant in 2001. FROM THE ARTIST * 2005 — 100 years of steel making and not much to show for it, on the surface. The empty, worn-out streets and boarded-up houses serve only to mock generations of hard work and sacrifice. Industry has left its mark on the land, and it ain't pretty. A toxic legacy has embedded itself in the community like a cancer — everything they've worked for has fallen apart. But it's not until everything falls apart, that you find out what you're really made of...a fiery soul and a steely resolve — the mark of industry on a people. They're the last of a dying breed, in a dying city where the rest are dying to move on. There's no room for the weakhearted in their story. This is character earned — character forged. * 2015 — Today, memories of steel's glory days, along with memories of the environmental devastation left behind, seem to have faded even deeper into mainstream obscurity. A government-funded, 10-year, $400-million environmental remediation of the former Sydney steel plant site has gone a long way to close the dark chapter on environmental controversy. Over 250 acres have been remediated, with post-industrial toxic sludge locked in a concrete mix and capped by more than one million tonnes of clay. Families now flock to green grass, playgrounds and sports fields where former steel workers cut up the plant for scrap a decade ago. The simple passing of time threatens to close the chapter on the rest, although, glimmers of the past still remain in the hearts and minds of those left who lived it.