Documentary and street photographer and storyteller based in London with a great interest in issues related to human rights and forced migration.

Awards
Portrait of Humanity 2021, winning single image, British Journal of Photography - 1854 Media (Feb 2021)
Semi-Finalist in Photography4Humanity 2020 Global Prize (Oct 2020)
Finalist in Reconstruction of Identities Open Call (Nov 2019)

Features
Portrait of Humanity photo awards capture hope and courage in a year of struggle, CNN style (Feb 2021)
Portraits of Humanity, The Times (Feb 2021)
Healing issue, Ekō magazine (Jan 2021)
Injustice and Inequalities: Covid-19 issue, PhotojournalismHub (Jan 2021)
Staying Home Together, photographic book by Exhibit Around and issue on F-Stop Magazine (Aug 2020)
Frozen Present: A Story of Resilience of Refugees in Malaysia, Sona Circle (Jul 2020)
Like a wave that never breaks, Europe Must Act (Aug 2020)
Invisible borders, Immaginare dal vero (Mar 2020)

SEEKING REFUGE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Italy 2020

Faces and feet telling the story of a long journey. Walking for hundreds of kilometers, across mountains and rivers. The fear of getting caught. The appalling, repeated, pushbacks at the borders, often violent and degrading. The disrespect for human life. The relief of having made it to Italy, mixed with the uncertainty of what to expect, in a country that is forgetting how to welcome people and learning how to keep them out instead.

The commitment of those who every night take care of the people in transit from Trieste. Every night on the street to treat the feet, fill the stomachs and change the old shoes for a new pair, to walk on the next road.

I met these young men in Trieste, at the end of the Balkan route, during their journey in search of asylum in Europe. Access to temporary shelters here, like elsewhere, has been limited due to COVID-19 measures. This means that people in transit, like them, have been left with no other choice than to sleep rough. The impact of the pandemic has been, and still is, very hard on those seeking asylum. Borders have been further tightened, with increasing reports of pushbacks. Alongside this, the pandemic has fuelled negative feelings towards migrants, accused by some of spreading the virus. This has worsened the unwelcoming climate that people seeking refuge are often faced with.
In this small corner of humanity, I met the volunteers from Linea d’Ombra and Strada Si.Cura. Helping the people in transit from Trieste with the basic necessities after such a journey, but most importantly showing them that there is someone who cares. An asylum seeker in Calais once told me, about the NGOs, that even more than the practical help, what is really important is being there, offering a friendly smile...creating a little corner of humanity, as a place for healing, however temporary. For Lorena Fornasir, co-founder of Linea d'Ombra, in fact, "the hardest part every night is walking away, turning your back and going home...".

INVISIBLE BORDERS
Greece 2019

Dimitri in a red dress, her favourite colour, to celebrate St. Dimitri's day. Her hands show her grace. Her eyes, the scars and the pride of her battle.

Dimitri was born as a boy in the small fishermen village of Skála Sikaminéas, on the Greek island of Lesvos. At the age of 14, she told her parents that she was a girl. She struggled to be accepted throughout her life and experienced tough times, living in a mental institution during her childhood, as well as years of homelessness in Athens. She had to fight for her right to cross the invisible border of gender identity. After her parents passed away, she started wearing women's clothes. Dimitri told me she now feels comfortable with her identity and the way she looks. In the little sunny harbour of Skála, she walks with her head held high. Dimitri lives in the house she grew up in, where her battle began. She covered the walls with religious images, as she is very devout, like her mother. She loves opera, especially Maria Callas, and often plays it very loud, filling the calm air of Skála with melancholy. When I asked her why she often looks sad, she said it's because of all the horrible things happening in the world, and she wasn't just referring to what she learns from the news. There is in fact another story, hidden in the background, one of forced migration, which Dimitri can witness first-hand. The invisible border between Turkey and Greece lies in the water just a few kilometres behind her. Thousands of people risk their life to cross it every year, fleeing conflict or persecution. Women, children and men, seeking refuge in Europe, land on this island, often on the shores of her very own village.

FAMADIHANA - RECONNECTING WITH THE DEAD
Madagascar 2015

Malagasy people have a very unique relationship with death, far from what we are used to in the Western world.

Famadihana is a ritual to celebrate the ancestors, traditional to the Merina people, in the central highlands of Madagascar. The celebration starts at home with a treat, fat pork meat (bemanaka). Then the whole village joins the family on their journey to the crypt of their ancestors, where the head of the family gives a speech in front of the assembled crowd. The bodies are exhumed and carried out of the tomb on straw mats. Family members raise them above their heads and dance to the music of flute players. The dead are updated with recent family news, some are even given a swig of their favourite liquor. The ritual is all about reconnecting, in a joyous rather than mournful way. Before being returned to their tombs, the bodies are wrapped in new shrouds and tied up. The sound of cloths ripping overlaps with the chatter and the live music, in a solemn and emotional yet very festive atmosphere.

FROZEN PRESENT
Malaysia 2019

Zhara, Malika and Hussain are three young siblings. They live in a small flat in a 15 storey building in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They are Hazara and come from Afghanistan, but they had to flee their home country, as Hazara people are still facing ethnic and religious discrimination and persecution. The three siblings are alone. In Kuala Lumpur, Hussain provides for his sisters by working in a bakery. He is the eldest. “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” This is his quote on social media profiles. His commitment and resilience are beyond moving. Malika, the youngest, is really good with languages and often acts as an interpreter from Farsi to English for the others. She teaches English in kindergarten, in the local community centre for Afghan refugees, to kids aged four to five. ‘They are cute, but also a bit naughty’, she says laughing. She has the most hilarious and sweet laugh you could imagine. Zhara is a beautiful young woman, with a more composed personality than her sister. She cooks delicious Afghan dishes, that remind her of home, and dreams of one day becoming a doctor.

Unfortunately, however, they aren't afforded the luxury of a future. Malaysia didn't sign the 1951 Refugee Convention and it doesn't recognise the refugee status. Yet there are 160 thousand registered refugees in the country, and many more unregistered. They are mostly Rohingya refugees who escaped from Myanmar, but other nationalities are present too - Syrian, Yemenis and Afghans amongst them. They aren’t allowed to work and cannot attend state schools, while the cost of private ones is too high for them to afford. They can only rely on UNHCR-issued ID cards. Under Malaysian law they are liable to arrest or deportation, but showing this card provides some protection. Since they aren’t allowed to work legally they have no choice but working off the books, with very low wages and no protection. What is worse, if the police find them working, they can be arrested or sometimes have to bribe them in exchange for turning a blind eye. It's a limbo similar to asylum seekers awaiting a decision in Europe, the difference being, for them it will last until Malaysia changes its policy relating to refugees. The chance of relocation to a third country that could provide asylum is very slim. The USA being the main country of resettlement from Malaysia, the chances have recently become even slimmer due the policies implemented by the Trump administration.
This is Zhara, Malika, Hussain and many others’ everyday reality, barely allowed to exist, let alone dream. Trapped between a painful past and a bleak future, far from home, they are relying on their incredible resilience, in a present that feels like it’s frozen.

STOLEN MOMENTS

I often find myself capturing mental snapshots of what I see. I'm not sure if that's why I love photography or if it is photography that taught me how to see and seek beauty...

"Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of his own self." Marcel Proust