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Polaroid photos capture the tragedy of refugee crisis

1 September 20170 comments

A stunning and thought provoking series of still pictures has emerged from a UNICEF initiative to raise money for its Children of Syria Emergency Appeal.

UNICEF asked eight photographers to capture the essence of human migration. The result is a book called MIGRATE featuring compelling images exploring human migration.

One of the photographers Cyrus Mahboubian told The Guardian the process was as much about talking to the subjects of the photos as capturing their images.

“Living in London, “we find ourselves largely detached from the ongoing refugee crisis, despite its staggering scale. I wanted us to inspire fellow Londoners to have a conversation about it,” Mr Mahboubian said.

For the project, the photographers used Polaroid cameras,

“With Polaroid, the interaction with the subject becomes more personal, shooting fewer pictures, talking more,” Mr Mahboubian said.

With the war in Syria now in its sixth year, eight million children depend on humanitarian assistance, almost half of whom have been forced to flee their homes.

Often, mainstream media reports the crisis and also shapes the way western audiences perceive it in the context of local political exigencies.

The aim of the MIGRATE project is to cut through the fleeting and cursory media coverage and focus on the tragedy and heartbreak experienced by people affected.

The photographs are on show at Omeara, a gallery in London and a book is available for purchase online.

See The Guardian’s gallery of some of the images here:


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist