Montreal photographer Mika Goodfriend created Snowbirds, a documentary study of Breezy Hill RV trailer park, a tightly knit community of French Québécois retirees in Pompano Beach, Florida (home to the largest concentration of Québécois outside Québec). The series examines how these winter transplants import their unique identity and culture to the tight-knit community.
The residents are the last of their kind to migrate en masse to Florida during the winter months, living out their dreams within the white picket fences of Breezy Hill. Notes for a previous exhibition point out that although he was born in Québec, Goodfriend has never felt part of its identity. “Through his practice he endeavours to explore what being Québécois means to him by photographing those whom he feels are woven into its cultural fabric.”
In an interview with Jordan G. Teicher for Slate, Goodfriend said most young Québécois are embarrassed by the snowbird stereotype. “Younger generations are vacationing in Cuba, the Caribbean, and Mexico, cooler spots than Florida,” Goodfriend said. “However, it’s interesting to note that younger generations likely can’t afford the snowbird lifestyle. Many who retire at Breezy Hill worked white-collar jobs with fantastic pensions, which my generation will never have.”
Goodfriend’s series is a memorialization of a distinct culture that remains uniquely foreign to the artist.