Migrant Workers

PhotographerAlessandro Penso
PrizeBronze in Press / Nature/Environmental
Entry Description

It’s a journey that last one year. Through Italy, the southern of the peninsula basically, moving on the strength of seasonally farming, seeking for a little bit of money that could be enough to survive. In silence, and hiding themselves. Without rights, alternatives and chances to choose its own destiny, in conditions that none could define “human”. The project “Migrant Workers Journey” describes and documents the social and human working conditions of migrant people employed irregularly in Italy in the agricultural field, mainly as seasonal workers during the harvesting season. I followed the migrants and their migrations during a year, then. To follow each part of the harvest of agricultural products such as tomatoes and citrus fruits in several regions, such as Basilicata, Calabria and Puglia. In the winter, they live crowded into small apartments rented in the area between Afragola and Casal di Principe, a camorra estate. During the season, that lasts six or even seven months every year, they move for miles from East to West and from South to North of Italy in a sort of pilgrimage. An army of nameless that moves dedicating their lives to the harvesting cycle. These irregular migrant workers live or, better, survive in empty houses without electricity and water and in extreme poverty conditions. Home is often a derelict building without power or current water. As many as twenty-five people can be crammed into a degraded house, often without sanitation. They don't have any rights, any form of assistance, any voice, any other chance to find a work. And they work even 12 hours per day for only 25 euros. They are often referred to as the new slaves, at the mercy of corporals, mostly Italians, appointed to control not only their jobs but above all their life.

About Photographer

Alessandro Penso was born in Velletri in 1978. He studied Clinical psychology at "La Sapienza" University in Rome. in 2007 he obtained a scholarship in photojournalism at the "Scuola Romana di Fotografia". During his studies, he produced a photo reportage on the subject "Valle dell'Omo" in Ethiopia for which he obtains the "PDN PhotoStudent". In the last few years he has begging documenting works on the body and sexuality of the modern society and immigration these works are still in progress. Thanks to a part of this work, he obtains several awards such as: The second award for the PX3 photoreportage category "the other" and one honor mention; 8 honor mention at the IPA, 1 for the "Lucca Digital Photo" and the nomination as "selected author" at the "Fotoleggendo 2008". In 2009 he was finalist at the Photoespana and he was selected for the project "In Between" (the goal was to photograph Rome in 62 hours outside the ancient walls) by the "Rome photography Fotofestival" to realize a team project on Rome wich has been published as a book and has produced an exhibition. Moreover, for the Festival of Rome he joined a team expo "12x10". In 2009 thanks to "Drag Kings" project won "PDN Photo Annual 2010". In 2011 won Project Launch, Santa FE, with "Migrant Workers Journey" which was exposed at New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.In the same year entered in the Shortlisted of the prize "Accademia Apulia Photography Award 2011".His works have been exhibited and published in different countries like England, North America, South Africa, EuropeHe lives and works in Rome.