/ Melissa Arras / Photo story

El Dorado

Thousands travel on foot, vehicles or boats avoiding boarder controls. Calais is the last stop, becoming a doorway for refugees risking their lives to flee their homelands. The town has transformed from a seaside resort into an uncontrolled site populated with refugees hoping to enter into the UK. While they are anxiously waiting to leave and keeping their identities hidden, I photographed everyday moments played out in a surreal environment, proving how desperately they want to settle in a situation that could only be temporary. This project is a visual exploration of the political tension and uncertainty inherent in these refugee lives.

In 2014, I started to visit Calais to explore the situation that has been escalating rapidly. My family have migrated to different parts of the world, which has always caused curiosity about migration issues and a sense of belonging, this is what lead me to photographically explore the situation around refugees in Calais. My aim is to capture intimate moments in the refugees lives whilst temporarily anchored in this surreal environment and to shed light on this delicate and ever changing situation. I want to show how migrants and refugees are treated worldwide and what is occurring globally, not just in Calais.

Melissa Arras (1994) is a British photographer born and based in London. Graduated with a BA in photography at Middlesex University, London last year.