In my library I have an old Russian Camera. It is an old gift my father gave me when I graduated from high school. Thus, began my lifelong passion for photography. On a shelf nearby is a book written by my father curiously titled: "Migrants in transit". The book chronicles the 1939 exodus of the people of Lorraine (a French province on the German border) fleeing the invading German Army. The story is told through the eyes of an 11-year-old child. His eyes.

Of the child's odyssey seeking refuge inside France one particular episode remained firmly planted in my memory. The one of a penniless and deprived boy who had to beg for milk on the surrounding farms for his little new born baby brother. Wandering amongst cows, and abundant pastures, he heard the same reply from farmers: "No milk for migrants". After many rejections, the desperate boy crumbles at the doorstep of a strong and tall black man. The man was a pariah like him, yet he generously shared his milk with the young boy.

The ever first migrant I got to know was my own father. I had never thought of that prior to this photographic series.

A nameless Migrant is today making headline news. Each morning at breakfast I hear a monochord voice announce a shipwreck with hundreds drowned or missing. Then the tone changes. I learn that a new camp was opened and another closed. Experts explain why "quotas" are set, others claim "we cannot accept all the world's misery" … I glance at my coffee cup which is empty and I turn off the radio. It's over. I guess I'll have to wait for the evening news.

Migrant of yesterday and today, Migrant from here and there, Migrant of a thousand faces, I chose to symbolize you through handmade paper boats helplessly sailing towards the doorstep of our consciousness.

Alain Trouilly

All photos © Alain Trouilly

About the Series: 

This series of photographs titled "Migrant" was awarded the "Grand Prix d'Auteur 2018" ( Grand Prize of Authors 2018) by the French Federation of Photography.

Photos can also be viewed at the magazine "L'ŒIL de la Photographie".

About the Author: 

Alain Trouilly was born in Lorraine in 1952 and today lives in the suburbs of Paris.

Official Website:

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