TRAVEL JOURNAL OF A CLANDESTINE IMMIGRANT
I accompanied Kingsley, aged 22, as he departed Cameroon. Like many other Africans, Asians and South Americans, he believes in the European dream. Through Kingsley, I tried to portray the people who, overnight, leave behind a past, a culture and a family for a new life they imagine to be better. Kingsley had already tried to reach Europe on his own two years before, but he ran out of money and had to turn back at Nigeria. Since that aborted effort, he had saved more money. He also received great support from his circle of friends and contacts. In France, his best friend was waiting for him: they used to work together in Cameroon as hotel lifeguards. His buddy had met a Frenchwoman there and married her.
Besides the exploit that such an expedition represents, the photographs reveal the often dramatic clash between the exile's expectations and the day-to-day realities of life in a foreign society.
At a time when merit as a virtue is touted more and more by politicians (especially French), I wanted, through this report, to expose the difficulties of a modern migrant journey and convey a sense of everything these people give – sometimes even their lives – in the hopes of a safer and more prosperous existence.