Last year, over a million refugees and economic migrants crossed into Europe, fleeing violence in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, abuses in Eritrea, and poverty in Kosovo. This influx has sparked a crisis, with growing tensions and divisions in the EU over how best to resettle people, and a resurgence in the ugly side of nationalism.
But behind every sensationalist headline and hard-hitting statistic is a group of people in search of a better life – leaving behind everything they know, and in some cases risking their lives on a journey in search of safety, stability and prosperity. Their desire to flee war, poverty and discrimination is intrinsically human.
This is where photodocumentary and photojournalism is so important – finding the humanity amongst the politics and statistics, telling the stories of individuals. Seeing leading to understanding leading to empathy. Ron Haviv said it well: “This idea of helping the next generation is a very intrinsic part of photojournalism. We need to continue to build this new group of photographers that come in and tell these stories”. And so here we present the work of five of our favourite photographers, each with their own approach to storytelling, and each using image-making to inform, and to foster empathy and compassion. Visual arts with social purpose.
Banner image © Lucile Boiron