Santi Palacios

6x6 Europe Talent: Santi Palacios, Spain

“Santi's commitment to his work - to the story of migration - is something rarely seen. He has been constantly on the field during the past years producing a stunning body of work, both visually and journastically. The combinations of investigation, his sociological background, field work, visual skills, global perspective and commitment has made of him one of the best European photojournalists to watch.” - Daniel Ochoa de Olza, Spain, photographer and 6x6 nominator

Santi Palacios is a freelance photojournalist born in Madrid, and currently based in Barcelona. Palacios’ work has been recognized with many awards, including in the 2017 World Press Photo Contest, Pictures of the Year, Overseas Press Club and the National Photojournalism Award of Spain 2015 and 2016.

Coming Ashore

Throughout 2015, about one million people risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach European shores. The great majority, about 800,000, took the Aegean Sea route, crossing the waters separating the Turkish coast and the Greek islands in highly precarious boats. The island of Lesbos became the epicentre of that migratory route. For months, thousands of people fleeing war, persecution and misery in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, among other countries, tried to reach the coast of the small Greek territory. This and other islands in the Aegean represented a gateway to the European Union for hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa—Lesbos was a place of transit on their journey to more prosperous countries in central and northern Europe. But, to reach its shores, they had to risk their lives at sea.

The Fence

Melilla is a Spanish enclave located in Morocco, lapped by the waves of the Mediterranean and only 50 km from Algeria. The city is surrounded by a six meter high triple-layered metal fence that separates it from Morocco, making its border one of the most hazardous in the world for migrants and refugees who attempt to reach Europe illegally. Sub-Saharan migrants and refugees live rough in makeshift camps hidden in the woods of Morocco close to Melilla, with no choice but to try to jump the fence, facing the violence of both countries’ police forces and the blades running the length of the Moroccan side of the border.

Discover work by the 6x6 Europe talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.