Publisher Note

An image is at the origin of this work. A photograph interviewed in an associative magazine which showed four bodies lying on the ground in a forest in northern France. The caption said they were Afghans, probably exhausted, resting away from prying eyes. It was a violent image, a photograph of war. The bodies seemed dead and their way of occupying the space seemed to announce the tragic figure of the mass grave.
It is this image that I went to look for in the “jungle” of Calais where the migrants stayed while waiting for a possible passage to England. An image that I couldn't find but which eventually produced two series of photographs.
In 2009, I went several times to this “wild” forest of Calais, which has been both tested by the climate and marked by history. The traces of cabins and the remains of sleeping bags were the most visible signs. Shortly after, I took photographs in Paris of Afghan migrants sleeping, between daybreak and the presence of the police who had come to evacuate them. The abandoned blankets of the forest were once again inhabited by bodies I could only imagine.
In 2012, I met Jawad and Mansour, both Afghans seeking asylum in Paris. I gave Jawad school notebooks so that he could write the story of his trip from Kabul to Paris. At each of our meetings, he gave me a few pages of his story which he translated. I saw in it the story of a modern epic, the negative story of our globalization. Mansour lent me the notebooks he used for his French lessons. A language of survival, a literature of urgency was translated from Farsi. I haven't changed anything in these writings, in the brutality of the text and in the narrative of exile that they constituted.


Les migrants

by Mathieu Pernot

Release Place Guingamp, France
Edition 1st edition
Release Date 2012
Writer: Various Authors
Artist: Mathieu Pernot
ISBN-13: 978-2-9537926-4-5
Subform Photobook
Topics France, Migration, Migrazione, Paris, Suburbs
Methods Photography, Writings
Language French, English
Format Softcover with texts and translations in separate booklet
Dimensions 16.5 × 21.1 cm
Pages 112