We are witnessing an unprecedented refugee crisis around the world. Everyday thousands of people are forced to flee their homes due to war and violence. The millions that settle in camps will likely remain there for years, unable to go back home or begin a new life. For many of these refugees, a tarpaulin is their only protection from the harshness of the elements. The beating of the grudging sun, the sting of the winter cold, the relentless monsoon rains shape their lives with implacable force.
As a photographer I feel the obligation to continue to document the lives and humanity of the refugee population in the hopes of creating images that trigger the viewer’s empathy and allow them to relate to the plight of refugees.
This project includes portraits of refugees from 2 different corners of the earth: Haiti and Syria. The images are transferred using a cyanotype process onto the very tarpaulins that have sheltered them over the years. The use of cyanotypes is intentional and explicit; cyanotypes are exposed to the sun and washed with water, the same elements from which they sheltered the refugees. As such, the tarpaulin is forever imbued in its purposefulness, mirroring the people they sheltered for so long.