Alessandro Penso captures the pitiful plight of Greece's teenage migrants

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Jan 21 2013, 11:08:00

Penso's reportage-style shots deserve the Terry O'Neill award - but for me the haunting narratives of shortlisted photographers Wendy Sacks and Mimi Mollica stand out the most

Alessandro Penso pressed his shutter the precise moment a young Moroccan man was hit by a car in Greece in a racist attack by locals. Afterwards, Penso explains, "I went to see him in hospital. With him he had a police form which asked him to leave the country within 15 days because he was there illegally."

Mostafa El Mouzdahir was one of a group of young migrants, aged 14 to 18, Penso photographed in 2012 for his dramatic series Adolescence Denied, which won the Terry O'Neill award last week. The series was taken in the port city of Corinth, where young men from all over the Middle East and Central Asia live precariously as they attempt to illegally board lorries that will carry them further into Europe. Many of them were from Afghanistan, had fled the forced militarisation practised by the Taliban and were now living in fear of police capture and racist attacks.

The Terry O'Neill judges concluded that Penso's series "captures [migrants'] lives in limbo when they are left stranded looking for both safety and a future. We hope his work will help inform future generations of the depth of the crisis."

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