TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY Jean Revillard
Nord de la France, les migrants en attente de leur passage en Angleterre fabriquent des huttes. Après de multiples séjour à Calais, Jean Revillard propose un travail entre le rêve des robinsonnades de l’enfance et la tragédie des réfugiés. Ce travail à remporté un prix au World press dans la categorie contemporary Issue.
How did you come to these places in northern France and Why did you decide to realize this work?
It was in 2006, I had to cross the Atlantic by boat. On this trip, I was repeatedly confronted with the problem of illegal immigration.
In the port of Tangier when children clung to my boat to join trucks. In the Canary Islands as it was at that time in full boom of the arrival of African boats on Lanzarote. Finally the Caribbean night when I come face to face with the smugglers who were organizing a massive transfer of Haitian immigrants to Guadeloupe.
I promised myself that when I return I would work on this issue.
It took me a long time to understand that I did not want to do a reportage on illegal immigration but rather a more reasoned work, more curious, a work that would stimulate the observer in a more universal way.
Who lives in these places?
This depends on the migration taking place in a given period, when I was there there were many people coming from Afghanistan, they were seeking a way to go in England.
To go to England and the only way to climb on truck trailers, pass border controls, and finally get on boats illegally crossing La Manche. Before this happens, people spend 3 to 6 months in these extremely difficult conditions.
What represent these shelters for these people?
All these shelters are located next to the parking of trucks. They are places of life but also of the guard posts, because every ethnic group defends a territory.
The paradox is that these places do not belong to anyone in particular but change of owner based on migration flows.That said, in geographical terms, it’s interesting, they are well hidden, but when you know the logic of their locations, they become easy to find.
This is also the logic that interests me in my work: the forced return of the man in the forest.
Despite appearances, every time there is a great coherency in these places so out of the ordinary, whether it is of illegal migration, places of prostitution, or as in the case of my latest work: electrosensitive.