The bravery comes from the sea

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

A troubled, painful, heroic trip, that often meets with death. To cross the Mediterranean Sea means to rewrite a new Odyssey. It is the story of men, women and children who rely on providence even before fate, on a small boat, in the quest to find not an artificial well-being but rather to conquer a “dignified poverty”, an elementary concept, which we Westerners have forgotten. The migration situation, so dramatically current due to the multiple daily landings from the North African coast, is likely to be trivialized because of the images broadcasted or published repeatedly by the mainstream media. As in all trips, there is a starting point and a destination. Yet there are just few who really describe, in the media narrative of this humanitarian tragedy, what really happens in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, true epicenter of the migratory flow. Photographs by Luca Catalano Gonzaga collected in the series “The bravery comes from the sea” were taken in December 2016 in Libyan waters, north of Sabratha, on the Italian Coast Guard ship “Ubaldo Diciotti” and address the issue of “first aid”, a proven protocol that this year alone has saved more than a hundred thousand people. The operation is very delicate and requires cold blood by all the operators in the field. The dinghies dispersed in water that are identified after emergency calls are overcrowded and their passengers hungry, thirsty and shivering. Women huddle close to their children, the men are wrapped in thermal blankets, while some of them are literally pulled out of the water, grabbed by the life jacket, and taken to safety on the ship. There is a small thread of hope coming from the migrants eyes. On the horizon one can see the Sicilian coast. They leave a pitiless crossing behind to prepare for another long journey. (Text by Sebastian Caputo).


A selection of photos from the archive of Luca Catalano Gonzaga is available as collector’s prints. The goal of print selling is to contribute to the realization of the photographic projects of Witness Image that narrate the great transformations of our time.