Close to the port of Calais there is an area encompassing a few hundred square metres that is known as ‘The Jungle’. The people occupying this area have travelled many miles to get there, and their journey is still not at an end. Calais is the departure point for the final and most desirable crossing. There are thousands of people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, all in search of a better life in Britain, the destination of their dreams.
While they await the opportunity to make the great crossing, they build temporary shelters: tent-like structures made of waste material from the immediate surroundings of the camp. In the best cases, the cultural characteristics of the country of origin can barely be distinguished in these.
The way in which the primary requirements of life are manifested in such shelters forms the leitmotif of this documentary photography project, for which I travelled extensively to Calais, the south of Spain, Dunkirk, Malta, Patras and Rome. For me, the image of the shelter – wherever it is in Europe – became the symbol of the misery these refugees experience.
All photos and text by Henk Wildschut. See project HERE