I’ve been travelling around Scotland for the last week or so – shooting a bit of a mini-project photographing strangers. Because of this, and a lack of internet access, I haven’t really been following current world events too closely. But like everyone, last Saturday I awoke to the terrible news of the massacre of 129 innocent people in Paris. Straight away I realised that the ongoing project I’m shooting in Calais’ refugee camp, ‘The Jungle’, was now going to become a lot more difficult – both politically and logistically.
For a few days I’ve been getting texts and emails from family and friends asking me if I’m still going back to The Jungle… Would I be safe to return? And the answer has been ‘yes’: I am still going back. The plan is to go home to the Isle of Man this week to see my family, and then return to Calais around the 10th December. For this next visit, I’m going to actually move into the camp and live in a tent. My intention, all going well, is to stay until about the 27th – which of course will mean being there for Christmas Day. Staying away from home at Christmas would not have been possible without the permission from the most important woman in my life… but my daughter has given me a pass, and as long as I’m home for her 15th birthday on the 2nd January, she’s happy.
I’m not a particularly political or religious man – it’s politics and religion that got us into this mess in the first place – so I’m not going to attempt to enter into a debate about the shambles our world is in at the moment. My interest is in people and the environment they live in, and that’s what this project is about: a document of a small patch of land in France dubbed ‘The Jungle’ and the 6000 people who live there.
All film Kodak Portra 400 35mm & 6x7cm (Top to bottom)
Unknown Somalian man – Pentax 67/105mm
The Jungle – Olympus Mju II
Donated caravan – Olympus Mju II
Perimeter fence, ferry terminal – Olympus Mju II
Unknown Iranian man – Pentax 67/105mm
The road to Calais – Olympus Mju II
Processed and scanned at the infinitely professional UK Film Lab