Now Here  Calais (2016)






Hatton's images of the Calais Refugee camp productively contribute to a growing body of work in this area. They document the transition toward a sense of permanence that has grown out of the makeshift and temporary. His high-contrast, monochromatic photographs really push the documentary feel of the images, but by being unpopulated, their emotional weight is somewhat indirect. They are packed with detail and a sense of tragedy.

CLIFF LAUSON, Curator, Hayward Gallery
Tom Hatton's pictures have for me real presence and real purpose. They do a very difficult thing: they speak about the refugee crisis without cliché or sanctimony or voyeurism. They are conceived in an artistic rather than a journalistic mode that is nevertheless not aestheticized. I admire the way his voice is low key and that is what gives his pictures their quiet power.

KATE BUSH, Head of Photography, Science Museum Group




The ongoing migrant crisis is one of the defining issues of our time. Narratives spun by politicians and the media are entrenching positions of difference and spreading fear. There seems to be a complete failure from the highest political institutions to agree on how to solve, or at least alieviate the most significant problems. This is despite proposed solutions that would irradicate people smuggling and create temporary jobs to support ageing economies.
If managed successfuly the numbers of refugees could be absorbed across Europe without large changes to local populations. This crisis is therefore entirely one of perception. The unwillingness at the top of politics is directly reflected in an attrociously dispassionate populist position.




Rather than provide a fixed truth or decisive moment, these photographs instead demand an encounter with the camp without a pre-loaded or sensational political agenda. We are not shown the refugees but the traces of their everyday lives in the camp. Their absence is central to the work and invites the construction of fictions emptied of racial prejudices. 
The black and white large format film further dislocates the viewer from both the place and typical journalistic imagery. Only via these suspensions, via the blurring of the documentary mode can the photographs begin to escape pre-mediated opinions of refugees and instead relay a human space, fragile, psychologically complex and held together by the coldest manifestations of chance.





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