2016 - Ongoing
The Passengers project seeks to put face to those who have seen the need to migrate outside the system, analyzing the impact that this form of movement has on their identity.
On 1st August 2016, 118 people were rescued from a rubber boat drifting in the Mediterranean, 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. One more of the hundreds of boats that have been rescued from this migratory route in the past years. Only in 2016, when historical records were beaten, 181,436 migrants were rescued safe, while 4,576 died at sea.
In an attempt to put name and face to this reality, I portrayed the 118 people who traveled on the same boat, few minutes after their rescue. Their faces, their looks, the marks on their body, their clothes or the absence of them... reflect the mood and physical state in which they were after a long journey that had already marked their lives forever.
But that would be just the beginning of this investigation project that has continued to evolve since then.
I soon understood that those people I had portrayed lacked real identity. Those were not themselves, but the result of a long journey during which their identity had been diluted in the mass, sometimes hidden by themselves for fear of the environment, stolen based on abuses and humiliations... And is that the price of traveling outside the system is too high, especially for those who pay with their lives.
During the last three years I have worked to locate the 118 passengers of that boat, today scattered throughout Europe, to understand and document their real identity, with the aim of showing that in those individuals who I had photographed in 2016, there were latent identities, which only needed a peaceful context to flourish again.
To this day, I have met 63 of them, and I have located 105. They currently live in various cities in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Malta, Holland and Switzerland. And, although their future is still uncertain, at least they have been able to return to being themselves.