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Refugees Photograph Their Journeys with Disposable Cameras

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The ongoing refugee crisis has been the focus of many photographers’ works in recent times. German photographer Kevin McElvaney show the story from a different perspective: through the eyes of the migrants themselves.

In December 2015, McElvaney gave single-use disposable cameras to refugees he encoutnered in Turkey and Greece. He asked them to document their journey across Europe, and the photos that returned 3 months later are now part of a project titled #RefugeeCameras.

7 of the original 15 cameras were sent back to McElvaney in the envelopes he prepared. 1 camera was lost, 2 were confiscated by border authorities, 2 are still in the possession of refugees who failed to reach their destination, and 3 other cameras are missing with the refugees who carried them.

“With this photography project Kevin tries to give one of the best documented historic events of our time a new perspective — and last but not least the refugees themselves the opportunity to document their own journey through photography,” the project’s description reads. “Lets try to see the individual behind the anonymous concept of a ‘refugee’.”

A young boy stands with his wet clothes on the stony beach right after they stranded.
A young boy stands with his wet clothes on the stony beach right after they stranded.
Hamza holds up two boys after all refugees left the dinghy.
Hamza holds up two boys after all refugees left the dinghy.
Refugees sit on the floor in an overcrowded train in Germany
Refugees sit on the floor in an overcrowded train in Germany
Son Kerim and Dyabs' wife in a transfer-camp are covered in blankets in a transfer camp in Macedonia.
Son Kerim and Dyabs’ wife in a transfer-camp are covered in blankets in a transfer camp in Macedonia.
Son Kerim is joking around with other kids in a train compartment on their way to Germany.
Son Kerim is joking around with other kids in a train compartment on their way to Germany.
Son Kerim jumps around and smiles after arriving in their temporary sleepingroom, probably in Germany.
Son Kerim jumps around and smiles after arriving in their temporary sleepingroom, probably in Germany.
A father from syria sleeps with his child in his arms on a bus from Athens to Idomeni
A father from syria sleeps with his child in his arms on a bus from Athens to Idomeni
Refugees sit in front of a toilet in an overcrowded train from Macedonia to Serbia. A ticket cost 25 euros
Refugees sit in front of a toilet in an overcrowded train from Macedonia to Serbia. A ticket cost 25 euros
Refugees you every corner to find a place to sleep. A young boy can be found between this group of men.
As a refugee, you every corner to find a place to sleep. A young boy can be found between this group of men.

#RefugeeCameras will be shown in an exhibition from April 1st through April 3rd, 2016, in Hamburg, Germany.

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