Over the past year, my time has been dominated by grappling with two complicated photographic subjects; migration and the ongoing drama of Israel and Palestine.
As a consolation for the seriousness of it all, I was awarded a three-month residency in Rome in Spring – with a large studio, a courtyard with a fountain, and free pass to the city thrown in. (Has anyone seen the recent film The Great Beauty? Highly recommended.)
But in penance for my good fortune, I returned to London during the sunniest summer in living memory, where I sat in front of a computer for 8 weeks in a darkened room, editing the material I shot in Rome.
I have now emerged, blinking in the light.
For this residency, I drove to Italy and back in my increasingly battered car – a 2,500 mile odyssey loaded up with equipment – in order to meet and interview the survivors en route. Here’s the route I took.
Conducting the interviews under specific lighting and sound conditions, I learned by trial and error how to convert a hotel room into a pop-up film studio. Here is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ image of one unlucky hotel room in the Netherlands that underwent my special ‘conversion’ technique.
The resulting work in progress is a documentary film, focussing on an ill-fated migrant boat journey across the Mediterranean that ended in tragedy and controversy. This issue has sadly just become headline news, with the latest sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Lampedusa.
Zed Nelson, October 2013