In centuries the Made in Italy textile industry has been a name of luxury and prestige. The tradition and honor in using the famous label have brought wealth and jobs to many regions in Italy - especially in Toscana in the north. But Europe is changing and so is Italy. In the city of Prato, 30 minutes outside Florence, Chinese immigrants began arriving in the beginning of the 1990’s. Since that more than 50.000 Chinese have moved to the city which now consists of 25% Chinese immigrants.
There are several issues with this development mainly due to the lack of control with the immigration. Up to 20% of the Chinese people in Prato are with no permanent residence which means they can only work on illegal factories up to 15 hours a day with no days off and living under terrible conditions.
But the immigrants also have a dream of an ordinary western life - a life with education, freedom and a place where they feel like home.
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This summer MINT photographer Kasper Palsnov travelled to Toscana to document this for the Danish daily Berlingske. The story was made in cooperation with journalist Christina Boutrup who wrote a great piece on the issue.
The story was printed on 3 spreads in the Sunday issue of Berlingske and was made as a long-read on their website (read here, in Danish only).
Once you take a picture of something it’s already in the past. I started out with photography with a fascination for that very basic notion. Now, some years later, I tried to make sense of all the notes I took along the way. I went through about 400 rolls of film of the last 7 years and came up with this book, diverted into five chapters.
You can flip through all of it here.
Music by Sopha.
It has rained the whole day. The gras is wet and walking over it leaves big footprints in the mud. Emmy lies on her back, looking up into the sky. Her parents have tried to make her get up, but Emmy is either ignoring it or maybe just enjoying it too much to be bothered. She just lies there as if there was no better place to be right now. This being in the moment is a situation that I have experienced with Emmy over and over again during the last eight months that I have been following her and her family. It is fascinating.
While I lived in Denmark in 2012 and 2013 I stumbled across these statistics of prenatal screenings. They told about the fact that since the screenings were implemented in 2004, the number of newborns with Down's Syndrome in Denmark have dropped from around 60 per year to around 20. Looking upon Denmark as a progressive society with high social standards it was a surprising statistic for me.
I got into contact with two or three different families who have a child with Down's Syndrome. I wanted to see myself how that life is different. What is better? What is worse? What does it say about our society if we start to select our children like that?
From the first day I arrived the family's house it has been an interesting story to photograph and Karina, Martin, Emmy and Kristian have been inspiring people to meet. I'm happy to call them my friends by now. Emmy has accepted me into her world from day one. We don't talk much. We mostly play "Bamse&Kylling" and sometimes she is teaching me how to read danish. The childish and naive way she is looking at the world is fascinating for me. What is generally conceived -and in some areas is- a disadvantage, often seems to be an enrichment. Emmy perceives the world around her differently. She takes the time to look at a yellow leave on the ground. She touches it with her hands and just takes the time. Her family goes along side with her and they seem to have found a good balance between supporting her and just letting her be who she is. I'm very excited for the times I will spend time with the four of them. As a photographer probably just as much as a friend. See the whole story here.