2021 Photo Contest, Portraits, 2nd Prize

Nowhere Near


Alisa Martynova

22 July, 2020

Raindrops symbolize the splashing water and storms in migrants’ stories, Livorno, Italy. The photographer also sees them as a metaphor for stars flung out into space as the result of the collision of two black holes, and as representing the unknown: a place both attractive and terrifying, holding hope as well as nightmares.

More than one million immigrants from Africa officially reside in Italy, as well as an unknown number of undocumented migrants, many of whom have made a perilous and often life-threatening journey to get there. The photographer compares migrants in Italy to scattered stars, a constellation of young people from different countries, of different genders, and with different traits. They have all come to Italy for different personal reasons and are celebrated for their individual stories, in a way that tries to resist stereotyping of African migrants. The photographer asked them about home, dreams, and childhood memories, representing their dreams through metaphors and use of color. Most migrant crossings occur at night, which led to the metaphor of stars, rain and darkness.

A 2016 study by the International Organization of Migrants pointed to insecurity, conflict, and discrimination as the main drivers of migration, not solely economic and work reasons. Discrimination on the basis of social group, religion, or sexual orientation was mentioned by almost half of the study group. In October 2020, the Italian government adopted a decree overturning many of the anti-immigration policies introduced by the previous interior minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing Lega Nord (Northern League).

About the photographer

Alisa Martynova

Alisa Martynova is a Russian photographer who lives and works in Florence, Italy.  After finishing her studies in foreign philology in Russia, she graduated with a photog...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
LEICA SL (Typ 601)

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