Daniel Castro Garcia
Foreigner is an ongoing, multi-disciplinary project that challenges the visual culture and political rhetoric used to represent and address the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe. The project started in May 2015 in response to the British media’s coverage of two migrant vessels that capsized in the Mediterranean in April 2015, claiming an estimated 1,000 lives. Adjectives such as “cockroaches” were used to describe those onboard and those that attempt these journeys to Europe. This tone and caliber of language and other examples of media/political spin have to lead to the geopolitical landscape of Europe being altered in a preoccupying way. Conservative and nationalistic political growth intensifies the difficulty of being able to provide the general public with a well balanced and considered analysis of a situation that should not have caused the hysteria that it has. The issues faced by migration into Europe are not black and white, and by reducing the narrative to this structure, valuable information is being ignored.
An online search of the words “migrants Europe” or “refugees Europe” produces chaotic scenes of hundreds of people defined by a single moment, often violent, traumatic or pitiful. There are no names and no personal accounts. The dignity and image of the individuals in question must be protected and clearly communicated, and furthermore, the intelligence and attention span of an audience must not be so readily underestimated and manipulated.
There is an empowering and collaborative nature to photography that has regularly been disregarded during this crisis. I am motivated by the idea that the people I work with have an opportunity to present their personal experiences without being subjected to a hidden agenda. Collaboratively we have worked to produce a body of work with valuable audiovisual and written testimonies that do not seek to entertain but inform. There is no aim to either sanctify or vilify anyone.
Daniel Castro Garcia is a photographer and filmmaker. Starting out as a street photographer producing personal projects his work now focuses on social documentary and portraiture.
In May 2015 Daniel started the photography project “Foreigner” in collaboration with his John Radcliffe Studio partners Thomas Saxby and Jade Morris. The aim of this series was to contribute an alternative type of image to the visual landscape of this humanitarian crisis. Since May 2015 he traveled to and revisited, many of Europe’s refugee/migrant hotspots.
In May 2016, the book, “Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015 – 2016”, was self-published by John Radcliffe Studio after being shortlisted for the First Book Award (MACK Books). In October 2016, “Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015 – 2016” was shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation First Book Award.
In January 2017 Daniel was named the winner of the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award 2017. This resulted in the first solo showing of “Foreigner” at the TJ Boulting Gallery, London, March 2017. The exhibition was accompanied by a new John Radcliffe Studio publication, “Foreigner: Collected Writings 2017”. The project has since been exhibited at the Cortona On The Move, Organ Vida at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Wagner Gallery at New York University.
In March 2017, Daniel was selected as a grantee by the Magnum Foundation Fund, which has enabled the continuation of his project titled, “Foreigner: I Peri N’tera”, that focusses primarily on the integration of African communities into Sicily, Italy.