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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera (detail)

Work / Photography

John Radcliffe Studio photographs Italy’s migrant crisis quietly and sincerely

John Radcliffe Studio is a film, photography and graphic design practice with something quite unique going for it. Headed up by designer Thomas Saxby and photographer Daniel Castro Garcia, the duo has created graphic identities, music videos and printed publications to rival the best of them, but running alongside their commercial projects is a strand of photojournalism that doesn’t often crop up in this sphere.

Over the course of May and June this year, Daniel and Thomas travelled to southern Italy to document the country’s Mediterranean migrant crisis. “The small fishing island of Lampedusa is the southernmost island of Italy, and is in fact closer to Tunisia than it is to Italy,” Daniel explains. “Over the past decade it has become a primary European entry point for migrants coming from Africa and the Middle East. The much larger island of Sicily is home to one of Europe’s largest migrant holding camps, and accommodates people that have been brought there from all over the Mediterranean.”

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Boat Graveyard, Lampedusa.
Rescued boat stands with five others as a permanent memorial to those who have died attempting to reach the island.

Over the course of three weeks, Daniel and Thomas travelled around the small towns dotted around Italy’s south coast to photograph the topic of migration from several different perspectives. “From Lampedusa’s physical traces of past migration, to the Port of Catania, where we witnessed people arriving to Italy for the first time, and to Mineo where we met people either stranded in the limbo of bureaucratic processing, or living on the streets, attempting to make their own way to northern Europe.”

“The project is a reaction to the panicked and sometimes sensationalist coverage of Italy’s ‘Mediterranean migrant crisis,’ and an attempt to approach the subject from a different angle to the one we are being shown. Our goal was simply to meet these people, and to try and learn something about who they were.”

John Radcliffe Studio

The series creates a compelling and honest image of the situation in southern Italy, and depicts an enormous and ever-growing community of people who want beyond all else to work. Far from existing independently from the media storm currently surrounding the topic of migration into the European Union, I Peri N’Tera was made in response to it, Daniel explains. “The project is a reaction to the panicked and sometimes sensationalist coverage of Italy’s ‘Mediterranean migrant crisis,’ and an attempt to approach the subject from a different angle to the one we are being shown. Our goal was simply to meet these people, and to try and learn something about who they were.”

I Peri N’Tera is the first part of an ongoing project, and Daniel will be returning to Italy in September to continue his effort to document the situation there.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Abandoned Pool, Lampedusa
Discarded clothing lies at the bottom of an unfinished swimming pool complex, once used as temporary shelter by migrants.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: HMS Bulwark, Port of Catania, 8th June 2015
Some of the 1100 migrants rescued by the British Navy, wait patiently to board buses.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Cemetery, Lampedusa
Catholic cemetery where some of those who have lost their lives at sea are buried.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Abandoned Clothing, Lampedusa
Individual items of clothing left by migrants at the abandoned pool complex, collected and photographed.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Dried Tears, Port of Catania, 8th June 2015
Boy waits to be processed and transported from the port to a migrant holding camp in Mineo.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Processing, Port of Catania, 3rd June 2015
Queue of migrants wait to be processed. Upon arrival many people are barefoot, the first items they are given by the Red Cross are a bottle of water and socks.

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera:Processing II, Port of Catania, 3rd June 2015

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera: Three masked police officers, Port of Catania, 3rd June 2015

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera

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John Radcliffe Studio: I Peri N’Tera