Paolo Marchetti has been on a roll lately! Since he was named a finalist in the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards, he then went on to win third prize in the “Nature, stories” category at World Press Photo. He then won 1st place in the Documentary category at the LensCulture Earth Awards. Wow, congratulations Paolo!

In Amsterdam, at the World Press Photo Award Days, we had the opportunity to sit down with Marchetti and find out more of the story behind his powerful, unusual series “Fever.” Marchetti shared many insights: on his project, on the state of Europe today and on the very basic elements of photography. We hope you enjoy.

The times we are moving towards are the ideal breeding ground for dynamics based on fear. We see how new policies imposed by dictatorial banking systems are feeding the fires of anger. In the era of globalization, tens of thousands of people all over Europe are screaming to the world, “I exist—I exist and I am not a product of your company. I exist because I live my identity, unique and essential and I belong to a people, a religion, a race.”

The main factor that blows oxygen to the flame of anger in our society is undoubtedly represented by the ongoing crisis, especially in Europe, which has forced the individual into a corner. In recent years, these factors have created the conditions for a severance between all people and the beginning of philosophies based on “every man for himself.”

An additional factor that is fueling the disconnection between people was trigged by the so-called “Arab spring.” This event amplified an already existing seed of fear into a full-blown racial intolerance among the young people of Europe. This change has created multiple rifts: between generations and between people of different backgrounds. In particular, the most vulnerable become the most divided: immigrants on the one side and on the other, those that see the immigration phenomenon as an existential threat to their society and their work.

These feelings, the need to protect their country and their culture, stems from the “invasion” of immigration flows. And yet these “foreign invasions” are not even confirmed by recent censuses. It seems instead that these historical events are being used by the various political parties as tools to manipulate electors. Some politicians are stoking the feeling of fear linked to the concept of invasion and loss of identity, while simultaneously undermining values such as helping the most needy and practicing cultural openness. In short, fear has become (once more) a political tool.

—Paolo Marchetti

Don’t miss the work of all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014. In total, you’ll find 25 powerfully told stories from across the world.