When migrants photograph their own journeys in Europe

When migrants photograph their own journeys in Europe
Disposable Perspectives — Amy Lineham gave 15 men living in a Paris migrant camp disposable cameras, what was captured shows the humanity of the people behind the label.

‘Police don’t respect to the asylum seekers! Guys asylum seekers not animals, asylum seekers are people!’ reads a postcard, written by one of the men who took part in Amy Lineham’s latest photo project, Disposable Perspectives. 

Looking to challenge the mainstream portrayal of the migrant crisis and put some authorship back into the hands of asylum seekers, Amy gave disposable cameras to 15 men living in the Porte de la Chapelle camp, Paris. Out of the 15 cameras given, only 8 were returned after the five-day deadline – with quite a few of them being lost due to police violence.

Unfortunately, as will be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention, this isn’t surprising. As well having to deal with the unstable life they experience in the camps, aggression against the people who come to Europe in search of a safer life is rife, be it from the police, some less than welcoming locals, or the demonisation, especially of young men, perpetuated by right-wing press.

Instead of building a narrative around sadness and fear though, the photographs taken by these men and developed by Amy tell a different story, a human one with highs, lows and plenty of friendship.

“I met the guys because I was co-managing clothing distribution at the camp, so was always on the desk talking to people. I gave out the cameras right at the end of my time volunteering so I knew some of them quite well,” Amy explains via email.

“Others were new to the camp – I put a sign on the front of the distribution desk in English, Arabic, Farsi and Pashto, inviting people to ask about the project so a few joined that way. People were generally really excited and eager to take part, though we did have some rejections – one person said he would love to join but was worried about legalities over taking photos of strangers.”

Amy remembers how this bloke explained he’d  just arrived in France and was nervous of doing anything to draw attention to himself, “that really highlighted to me how precarious day-to-day life for these people can be.”

Keeping the photographers anonymity for their own safety, Amy hopes the Disposable Perspectives exhibition, which features the images captured on the eight cameras, and postcards written by the participants, will dispel some of the myths about the migrant experience.

“I don’t feel it’s my place to speak on the experience of immigrants,” says Amy, “but what I wish people thought about was how each person under that banner is an individual living a 24/7 life in the same way as we all do. They have thoughts, feelings, interests, hobbies just like anyone else and their humanity should be recognised as equal.”

3720000137180026372100181 (4)

37210022Disposable Perspectives is on show at The HIVE in Dalston until 9 June, from 2-6 PM.

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Latest on Huck

The activists fighting the mental health crisis
Election 2024

The activists fighting the mental health crisis

Micha Frazer-Carroll examines the way the mental health crisis has escalated in the last five years and meets those organising to end it.

Written by: Micha Frazer-Carroll

Little White Lies’ new issue explores the sick, comic excess of Kinds of Kindness
Film

Little White Lies’ new issue explores the sick, comic excess of Kinds of Kindness

The latest issue from Huck’s sister magazine is an eye-popping and lurid exploration of Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ new offering writes editor David Jenkins.

Written by: David Jenkins

Documenting Gay power and Pride in 1980s America
Photography

Documenting Gay power and Pride in 1980s America

New photo book ‘Castro to Christopher: Gay Streets of America 1979–1986’ is an epic story of creativity, community, strength, joy, and resistance on two coasts.

Written by: Miss Rosen

Fragile, intimate portraits of California’s imprisoned youth
Photography

Fragile, intimate portraits of California’s imprisoned youth

New monograph ‘A Poor Imitation of Death’ documents and humanises the stories of seven young Californian inmates, aged between 16 and 20 years old, who were tried as adults despite being juveniles.

Written by: Isaac Muk

I was made homeless 11 days after the Asylum decision I waited 16 years for
Election 2024

I was made homeless 11 days after the Asylum decision I waited 16 years for

After spending years waiting for a decision on his refugee status torture survivor Gideon discovered his traumatic fight for security was far from over.

Written by: Gideon, a client at Freedom from Torture

Save the date for Rishi’s Leaving Drinks
Election 2024

Save the date for Rishi’s Leaving Drinks

Huck is teaming up with our friends at Dalston Superstore and Queer House Party to bring you an election night viewing party like no other.

Written by: Ben Smoke

Sign up to our newsletter

Issue 80: The Ziwe issue

Buy it now