Until it was demolished in October 2016, the makeshift ‘jungle’ camp in the French port of Calais was the last stop for thousands of refugees and migrants hoping to reach the United Kingdom – el dorado or ‘the land opportunity’ as they called it.
As they waited anxiously to leave, Melissa Arras photographed everyday moments in their lives, played out in this surreal environment, proving how desperately they wanted stability.
Coming from a migrant family herself, Arras has a special interest in the sense of belonging. This project is a visual exploration of the uncertainty inherent in migrants’ lives as well as their treatment around the world, not just in Calais.
Who? Melissa Arras
From London, UK
Docking June 1-23
Working on El Dorado
About refugees in Calais
Editor in chief YET Magazine, Switzerland
SALVATORE ON MELISSA
I met Melissa Arras when the Calais crisis was everywhere in the international press. Photographers widely documented one of the most critical situations connected to the European migrant crisis and, in this context, El Dorado was the perfect example of one of those stories that stand out due to its sincerity.
Melissa, with her sensitivity and her honest way of approaching people who are stuck in such a surreal situation, managed to create intimate relationships and recorded personal moments that might not be spectacular enough to catch the attention of a large audience and create scandals, but that manage to show, in their simplicity, the inner instincts that brings us, as human beings, to hope for a better future.
Her story has to be spread since it sheds light on this delicate and ever changing situation, not just in Calais. Docking Station is surely a great platform to give her a chance to share visions and feedbacks with experts from different fields.