Last October I photographed this young Palestinian boy from Syria – a survivor of the Lampedusa shipwreck which left hundreds dead – as he landed, cold and traumatized, in Malta off a rescue boat. His blond features and blue eyes drew me in the moment I noticed him – I instantly felt I was shooting an incredibly powerful portrait which was also very different from the portraits I get of migrants landing here.
About a week later, I met and had a chat with him at one of the open centres. We didn’t manage to talk much – he was too busy buzzing around the camp on a bicycle! Earlier this month, I spotted him, fully integrated with his Maltese classmates during a school sports day, having the time of his life.
It was awe-inspiring and moving to see the transformation in the kid, thanks in no small part to his very dedicated and wonderful teacher, headmistress and classmates.
Canon EOS-1D X
Canon EF400mm f/2.8L II USM
Focal length 400mm