Somaro, Bouba and Abdoul

Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy, January 2017

Somaro, 19, Bouba, 19 and Abdoul, 22, arrived on the island of Lampedusa one week prior to this image being taken. The photograph was taken by the Port of Lampedusa where several migrant boats are kept as a memorial to those that crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. These men experienced a particularly rough journey and all expressed the trauma of what was faced at sea. Usually vessels leave Libya in the “peek season” between May and September when seas are calmer but in this case the traffickers forced them to take the journey. They had little information regarding their situation in Lampedusa and did not know when they would be transferred to mainland Italy.
This image was taken on my second visit to the island, the first being in May 2015. On my first visit there were no migrants on the island as vessels were being diverted to Malta, Sicily and mainland Italy. Whilst driving across the town I witnessed them standing by the boats and believed it would be a suitable opportunity to photograph them and create an image that could respectfully comemorate thier journies. I was particularly drawn to their clothing and the connotations of uniform they implicate.
As can be seen in the image, the style is very simple and direct, no direction was given to the individuals other than asking them to simply stand as they wished.