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Melissa Arras: El Dorado

Next Photographer / Next Photographer / 2016

Photograph Description 1
Before this part of 'the jungle' was evacuated, a large population of Sudanese refugees inhabited the area. This young man was telling me the story of this journey from Sudan to Calais, the countries he passed through and the methods it took. He spoke in such a captivating way, I was transported to the life threatening and scary journey he undertook.

Photograph Description 2
A makeshift tent made from found and donated materials. A commonly seen sight in the campsites, built by refugees and volunteers, they house many refugees at one time. I was offered a cup of tea by this man, something I grew accustomed to by the hospitable nature of the people I met.

Photograph Description 3
Taken after a hair cut by a fellow friend, they took turns cutting each others hair using makeshift tools. I was often awed by how resourceful they were with so little. I captured this moment whilst he wiped his face clean, allowing me to hide his identity, a running theme in the project, due to the abstract nature of the situation.

Photograph Description 4
A teenage boy riding his bike back and fourth racing a friend, I remember seeing the joy on their faces in that moment, they had left the dire situation they were in, and entered their own playful world for a short time.

Photograph Description 5
Communication is vital in the camp for keeping in contact with family and friends, as well as knowing the lasted global news, political changes and routes to take. Electricity is scarce, often a french couple would bring power boxes and wifi to the camps, enabling the refugees to stay connected. I would hear a hum of music throughout the camp whenever the power was provided.

Photographer's Profile
I'm a 21 year old freelance photographer based in London. I graduated last year with a BA photography degree at Middlesex University. For the past year and a half I've been working on a project surrounding the refugee crisis in Calais. Working primarily on medium format, I continue to document the unfolding situation in Calais and plan to expand the project further into Europe.

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