Photographer Phil Le Gal is traveling across Europe to visit both old and new borders for his project The New Continent. He’s so far been posting pictures from Calais, a French port city where migrants trying to reach the UK often get stuck.
Some of Le Gal’s photos show daily life in "the Jungle," a maze of tents where around 3,000 migrants are in a limbo between Britain and France. Here’s a man who fled conflict in Baghdad and ended up in the camp. He didn't want to be named.
Here’s a makeshift church in the Jungle.
And here’s an Afghan convenience store set up by people living in the camp. The trip to the nearest supermarket is a 30-minute walk.
The graffiti in Calais tells you a lot about how some migrants feel. European countries have been arguing over how to share the surging number of refugees arriving from the Middle East and Africa this year.
Le Gal started traveling in June and plans to visit plenty of borders in Europe — official ones between countries, former ones like the Berlin Wall, and new ones like a fence being built in Hungary to keep out migrants.
Le Gal, who was born in France and now lives in London, is focusing on the 26 countries in Europe's Schengen area, because someone from outside Europe only needs one visa to travel freely through all the Schengen countries. Le Gal wants to show that this European togetherness and the freedom of movement for outsiders who come in are good things, he told BuzzFeed News.
"[Europe] has been suffering from bad publicity, whether it's about migration, or about Greece and economics. But so much has been achieved," he said. "Twenty-six countries without passport controls — you just whizz through and it's amazing. And the fact that you can have rights in all these countries is amazing. People take it for granted."
Le Gal took this photo of mobile phones being charged in the Jungle, because it shows one of the happier moments during a typical week there.
"Once a week, maybe, a guy comes with a generator and they charge [their phones], and they play music off them, and people dance," he said. "It lifts people for a while."
Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Shyamantha Asokan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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