News / Arts & Entertainment

Photos Highlight Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Displaced Persons in S. Sudan

Photos Highlight Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Displaced Persons in South Sudani
X
July 13, 2013
Renowned photographer Sebastian Rich has spent much of his career traveling around the world documenting the plight of people in war and conflict. In Washington, an exhibit of his work called "Broken Lives" highlights Syrian refugees in Jordan and civilians caught in the fighting in South Sudan. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
TEXT SIZE - +
Deborah Block
Renowned photographer Sebastian Rich has spent much of his career traveling around the world documenting the plight of people in war and conflict.  In Washington, an exhibit of his work called "Broken Lives" highlights Syrian refugees in Jordan and civilians caught in the fighting in South Sudan. 

Rich calls himself “a photojournalist in the right place at the wrong time.”  He has photographed and filmed every major conflict during the past 40 years.  He’s been wounded, kidnapped and held hostage.  But that has not stopped him from getting involved in the stories of the people he photographs.

“The pride, the hope, and the dignity that’s left, because when a refugee becomes a refugee usually they have absolutely nothing, only the shirts on their back when they cross the no-man’s land into the host country," he said. "But what struck me, what they do have left is their pride and dignity.”

Rich is known for his haunting images, especially of children, like a Syrian boy who was just crossing into Jordan.

He says he wants to remind people that anyone can become a refugee.

“In Syria, for instance, these refugees are coming from the city," he said. "They’re not farmers.  They’re politicians, lawyers, doctors, policeman, soldiers, coming to be a refugee for the first time.”

He took the photos for the U.N. refugee agency.  The organization’s U.S. representative, Shelly Pitterman, says the pictures reflect the plight of refugees everywhere.

“You see the trauma in some, the sadness, the loss, the fear that refugees around the world experience," he said.  "But at the same time, you see an element of hope.”

That hope, Rich says, is reflected in a South Sudan refugee camp, where villagers fled to escape fighting between the government and rebel forces.  He says one Syrian refugee, who came to Jordan with nothing, would not let her situation destroy her life.

“And within a few months, she had set up an unbelievably wedding dress hire business in a tin shack," he said. "Where she got the dresses from, I have no idea, but she hires out these ballgowns for weddings, and she does manicures and pedicures in a refugee camp.  That’s fantastic.”

Rich says he appreciates the refugees who let him photograph them, even in their darkest moments, like one Sudanese woman whose son died soon after they reached the refugee camp.  

“The camera is incredibly close to her face," he said. "And even after all the years of sticking my rather intrusive lens into people’s quintessential moments of terror, I wanted to back off, but she wouldn’t let me, and she said through the translator, 'I want my story told, I want my son to be remembered.'”

Rich also got the chance to do something he’d never done before - photograph refugees who have settled in the United States, like a seven-year-old girl from Sudan who is in a class learning about the American flag.

“I went to photograph her and she just held up a little bit of paper with her coloring in of the U.S. flag, and she’s got her shawl over her head, and for me, that was just a wonderful picture,” he said.

The U.N. refugee agency hopes Rich's pictures will bring awareness to the plight of all refugees, especially those in Syria and South Sudan.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.

Blogs