The refugee camp known as the Jungle was settled in an industrial zone on the seaside, strategically located between the port and the Channel Tunnel. Over 14 hectares, these sand dunes were once an industrial dumping site of Calais as well as a former summer camp complex. Jungleye’s initial concept was to delve into of the history and metaphors of the place itself. Exploring the dichotomy of the place—an area that was once both a holiday camp and a dump became a focal point for the workshop. Many associations, NGOs and volunteers helped the refugees living at the Jungle, but most groups provided activities and aid that targeted children and/or women despite the fact that the majority of the camp was male youth and adults. Recognizing that the men were also vulnerable, Jungleye decided to work specifically with men.
One of the first goals in Calais was to give an identity, a name, and an image to refugees who were more often perceived as a single human mass and not as individuals. The Jungle refugee camp quickly became a real “city” with its own businesses, social places, neighborhoods. In a very dynamic atmosphere, the camp was characterized by continuous movement, basic social interactions and this feeling of creation in all parts of the camp. It was through this sensibility that the creative laboratory known as Jungleye was born. As the classes began to focus on photojournalism, many photographers documented the permanent violence with the police, the living conditions in the camp, the daily life between families and social groups, the dismantling of the camp, and the opening of the new camp founded by the government. Since the tensions with camp authorities was a constant and looming presence, the participants often worked under the same kind of duress as photojournalists do. With time and working through the process of creation; however, the participants began to discover a way to narrate their own story through images. It was through this assertion of each individual story, that the participants were able to rediscover themselves.