In Pictures

Setting up a photography studio at sea

In the early hours of the morning, while the sea is clear, smugglers in Libya send off boats full of migrants that reach international waters by about 08:00.

Photographer Marcus Drinkwater spent a month onboard the Golfo Azzurro, a vessel that intercepts these boats and takes their passengers safely on board.

Beginning with a desire to give a sense of individuality to these migrants, Drinkwater took a series of posed portraits of the men rescued by the Golfo Azzurro.

Amin Dada leans against the background and poses Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Amin Dada, 20, Sudan. Time in Libya: Two months. Destination: France
Atak Kammis poses calmly for the camera Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Atak Kammis, 19, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: Italy
Izadin Eyssa stands on wooden boards and looks into the camera Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Izadin Eyssa, Sudan, 18. Time in Libya: One year. Destination: United Kingdom

Inspired by the work of Malian photographer Seydou Keita, who would often photograph his subjects against heavily patterned backgrounds, Drinkwater gave his subjects a choice of backdrop to stand against.

The different patterns, which doubled up as blankets to keep the migrants warm at night, were then hung on a railing on the ship's deck, with cable ties.

Musa Latif sits for the camera Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Musa Latif, Sudan. Time in Libya: Three months. Destination: Germany
Omer Ali stands with his fist clenched against a background Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Omer Ali, 20, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: France
Ali Mohammed poses with his fist on his cheek Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Ali Mohammed, 23, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: Germany

While music played, the men lined up and waited to have their portraits taken.

Each subject chose his own background and posed for the portrait as they wished.

Drinkwater said: "I was struck by the confidence and spirit of many of these men, many of whom have been refugees since 2003 as a result of the Darfur conflict."

Ahmed Mohammed poses with a red bag across his chest Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Ahmed Mohammed, 23, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: France
Abubaker Halin, Sudan sits with bare feet Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Abubaker Halin, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: France

One 17-year-old Nigerian named Julias had travelled with a friend for more than six months to reach Sabratha on the Libyan Coast.

Both boys were beaten daily and forced into disused warehouses without sanitation or clean water until their time on a migrant boat had come.

Abdusalam Adam wears a tracksuit and stands in front of a coloured blanket Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Abdusalam Adam, Sudan, 16. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: Italy
Ibrahim Mohammed poses for the camera with a blanket wrapped around his head Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Ibrahim Mohammed, Sudan. Time in Libya: One month. Destination: Italy

"If you are unfortunate enough to not have enough money, smugglers would get you to call your parents to ask for more," he said.

"During the phone call they would beat you so hard your parents would hear, then do anything to find the money to wire over."

Abakamht Nour stands with his arms crossed Image copyright Marcus Drinkwater
Image caption Abakamht Nour, Sudan, 41. Time in Libya: Four years. Destination: Italy

Photographs by Marcus Drinkwater.