Visual Perspectives on the Refugee Crisis

by Forum Staff

The refugee crisis is inescapable in today’s news. Striking visuals emerging from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa illustrate a story of both desperation and hope. These images allow viewers to stand for a moment alongside migrants and refugees fleeing their home countries in search of a new life and new opportunities.

On November 14-15, the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) and VII Photo Agency mark 10 years of collaboration with a series of seminars and workshops at VII Perspectives: Migration. VII founder and Chair of IGL’s Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice, Gary Knight, will be joined by leading VII photojournalists for two days of dialogue and hands-on experience. A selection of several of the photographers’ work on the refugee crisis is highlighted below.

Photos by Ashley Gilbertson

Ashley Gilbertson’s images capture refugees – mostly from Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as regions of the Balkans and Africa – on their way into and through Europe during September 2015.

The exodus of people from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe is the largest movement of people since World War II. Working in the refugee transit centers, which see thousands of people daily, the photographer notes that conditions at some of the camps are getting slightly better. However, some conditions – such as five hour train rides packed so tightly there is no room to move beyond the spot people are standing – reflect challenges in addressing the scale of the crisis.

Images courtesy Ashley Gilbertson/VII Photo Agency

Photos by Maciek Nabrdalik

Maciek Nabrdalik’s work from September 2015 depicts the journey of refugees as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesvos in rubber dinghies. These individuals continue their journey across the island, eventually headed for ferries to Athens, and beyond.

Images courtesy Maciek Nabrdalik/VII Photo Agency

Photos by Franco Pagetti

Franco Pagetti’s images from September 2-3, 2015 in the Strait of Sicily capture the work of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

MOAS is a humanitarian search and rescue operation assisting vessels in distress in the central Mediterranean Sea. MOAS vessels use remote piloted aircraft to monitor the seas and provide real-time intelligence to MOAS and the rescue coordination center of Malta and Italy.

Images courtesy Franco Pagetti/VII Photo Agency

Photos by Ed Kashi

In November 2013, photographer Ed Kashi went to Iraq and Jordan, working with the International Medical Corps (IMC). IMC is a humanitarian non-profit organization that provides aid and relief to those affected by conflict and crisis.

The photographer’s work reflects IMC’s efforts to increase awareness and improve not only the physical, but also the mental health of young refugees plagued by depression, fear, suffering, and the sense of a life turned upside down. His images intimately llustrates the plight of this lost generation.

Images courtesy Ed Kashi/VII Photo Agency

Photos by Ron Haviv

Like Maciek Nabrdalik’s, this selection of Ron Haviv’s photographs are centered on the Lesvos, Greece. There, he has captured the work of volunteers helping refugees to arrive safely, as well as the migrants’ journey once they have made it to shore.

Images courtesy Ron Haviv/VII Photo Agency

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