The openness of local residents enabled Louise Abbott to create a remarkable documentary study of this overlooked region of Quebec. In The Coast Way, Abbott focuses on the people of the Lower North Shore and the ways in which their lives have changed during the past twenty years. She presents, in photographs and words, an image of a society in transition - where homemade birch brooms and satellite dishes sit side by side. In the early 1970s when electric light finally reached the Lower North Shore, one of the last places in Canada to be provided with electricity, it was quite an event. "The first night," remembers Jack Bursey, "I put on every light in the house and left them all on just to sit down and look. I felt so glad we had electric, eh. Yeah, I'll never forget. Oh, God, it changed a lot after electricity come." The advent of electrical power marked the end of one kind of isolation and the beginning of another. Television arrived, bringing with it visions of an outside world at once compelling and engrossing. "People don't visit one another in Tabatiere like they used to one time," laments Ivy Robertson. "A lot of that is due to TV, I guess."
With a camera, taperecorder, and notebooks, Abbott has documented the impact change has had on this isolated community of English Quebecers, revealing her subjects as they revealed themselves to her.