The churning waters of the Mediterranean hide many bodies. As the Middle East and Africa have exploded in chaos, racked by war, famine, and ethnic conflict, the middle passage between Libya and Italy has become a graveyard for migrants who attempt the perilous crossing into Europe. Last year alone—the deadliest on record—4,579 refugees died on the journey, the victims of unscrupulous smugglers who dispatch them into the turbulent seas on decrepit boats with no navigational instruments, food, or water.
Many images of the migrant crisis, by necessity, depict only the end of the voyage: weary refugees being detained in Italy after their arrest at sea. Mathieu Willcocks, a photographer based in Scotland, set out to capture the reality of the crossing