“This is not a movie”

PK111115004413-11I’m going back to Calais in a couple of weeks to continue making photographs in The Jungle. After my last visit, at the beginning of November, one thing became immediately obvious – photographers, especially anyone who looks like a press photographer, are not welcome… not in the slightest. I was reminded by people sitting outside shelters as I walked past, two cameras slung around my neck – “This is not a movie!” – people don’t want to be photographed in this situation, who would?

The problem I have is that I barely speak French, let alone any of the multiple languages spoken between the 6000 people in The Jungle – I find it difficult to communicate my reason for being there… I want to photograph The Jungle, and the people in it, as a historical document, nothing else. So, when I go back to France on December 11th, I’ll be staying until after Christmas, living in a tent somewhere on the camp. I think the only way to be accepted somewhere is to actually live there.

I’ve cut my equipment down to the absolute minimum. I’m taking just three cameras: an Olympus Mju II, which will be my primary camera, a Pentax 67 and a standard lens for portraits, and a digital Fuji X100T… this will be used mainly to shoot video.

I’m going to try to ‘blend in’ for a few days before I start taking photos, although at 6’1″ and 105kg, blending in can be difficult…


  1. Hi Phil,
    Search out a pink caravan, the guy living there is called Toby. He is the “go too” guy you may need in the Jungle.
    If you can, have a look at Dunkirk. A completely different animal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phil, I’ve followed your blog for about 2 years now, I’ve watched your work develop and grow and witnessed your progression upwards. I really think that this Calais project will pave the way to even greater things. I am in awe of your talent and your commitment. I’ve never met you, I don’t know you – but I’m so proud of you, Phil!

    Kindest regards,


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for documenting this. I experienced something like this in Haiti. I wanted to take pictures of the desperately poor people there, to motivate people here to help them. But they resented being photographed, as if they were freaks or animals in a zoo. It was difficult to navigate. But how can the world know what is happening there unless it is recorded? Best wishes and thanks for your commitment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.