I saw a facebook status from a friend in Los Angeles. She needed a lift from Heathrow to Dover. That’s a bit of a trek from me, but nothing half as much as crossing the Atlantic, and we hadn’t seen each other in years, so I volunteered.
I didn’t really know what she was working on, but I’d seen her social media in the run up and had an idea. I was right – it was the Calais camp.
I’d packed a bag, just in case I ended up going a little further than Dover, and when we couldn’t get her a ferry ticket, sure enough the car was on the Eurostar and I was going to Calais.
We interviewed and spoke with the people who lived in the camp; Stephanie had been making her documentary for months before. There were already some flames visible in the night sky. The next day the whole camp was on fire. What’s essentially a small town of about 10,000 people, on fire, and I can hear gas bottles exploding. People are coming and going with suitcases. The police and fire service are kind of hanging around the edges of the camp.
I had two cameras with me, and occasionally Stephanie shot with my Canon. I had a Minolta X700 and some Kodak Double X film. These photos are from that roll.
I was moved by the tales I heard. There is no easy, or simple answer to what’s happening. It can feel abstract and nonsensical, but it’s vital we remember they are people too.