Welcome to the City
Welcome to the city is a documentary photography project shot at the beginning of January 2016 in the infamous Calais refugee camp “The Jungle”.
Being aware of the fact that photography only shows a small portion of reality filtered by the culture, believes and personality of whom is doing it I decided to document that settlement in the most possible neutral way. I chose to do so to make people able to see by themselves what life conditions are in there. In order to keep an impartial point of view and avoid the clichés used to depict refugees I concentrated my attention on the environment, more specifically on the makeshift shelters built inside the camp by refugees and volunteers. My aim is to create a replica of Google street view inside the camp using panoramic images made by sticking together single frames. These images work very well as an access point that allows the audience to get into the camp and have a general view and a bigger picture of it. At the same time, the use of single images stuck together, because of their different perspectives give a disorienting sense of uncertainty and instability adding meaning to the project itself.
The Jungle of Calais, which was mainly bulldozed only a month after I shot this project, was divided in neighbourhoods where people of the same nationality lived together. Therefore there were Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Kurdistan and Palestine as independent boroughs of the same city. The “City” developed from two main commercial streets where the majority of restaurants, cafes and shops (mini market as well as small Turkish baths and hotels) were concentrated.
Since the French authorities razed most of the camp this project has got a new significance as a last documentation of one of the largest refugee camp in Europe. The harsh conditions of life those people are facing right in the middle of rich Europe make it even more unacceptable. This should help us to see the inequality and disparity of treatment human beings face just because of their nationality.