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Trail of TearsRefugees in Greece
Social documentary photographer Steve Evans has had his passport stamped in more than 100 countries and photographed thousands of people over the years. His mission: tell people's stories and amplify the voice in their eyes. With increasing politicization of the refugee crisis in Europe and the United States, Steve often publishes images that document his experience with refugees.“It’s hard to create ‘a’ portrait of a refugee, one that represents the whole, just as it’s hard to have ‘a’ story of a refugee, one that represents everyone,” Steve wrote. “There are a million faces, a million portraits, and a million stories – each one different and unique. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”Steve calls his series of refugee photos Trail of Tears: Refugees In Greece. Upon arriving from Turkey to the shores ofLesbos, a Greek island in the dangerous Aegean Sea, people are overcome with a variety of emotions. Volunteers are waiting to help ferry vessels to shore and distribute food, clothing, and supplies to the refugees. “For all of them, it is the end of one journey, and the beginning of another,” Steve said. Steve found that his photos of children were particularly emotional. “Children are often frightened, tired and confused when arriving on the Greek island,” he noted.While political refugees seem to get special treatment (more food, medical assistance, and better accommodations) by authorities, Steve said, economic refugees are often forced to live in more sparse and squalid conditions.Steve hopes that his images, as well as his other social documentary photography, will bring dignity and awareness to the pain felt by the refugees struggling along Europe’s Refugee Highway.He has been particularly concerned with the way these refugees, with the same deep, human emotions as the viewers of his photography, have become the center of politicized rancor. He’s compelled to capture these moments and go beyond others’ perceptions of what a refugee is, showing the humanity in his subjects and bringing dignity to their current struggle.“For me, photography and the camera do indeed teach one to see the world from a different perspective,” he said. “You see its beauty, its wonders, and its uniqueness in addition to its ugliness, hurts, and pain. But over time you learn to see beauty in the ugliness, hope in the hurting, nobility in the ignoble, dignity in the shamed, and riches in the impoverished.”“You can be an advocate by way of your camera and the images you create,” he added. “It is my hope and prayer that in some small way I have been able to help by the photographs I’ve taken.”
Crossing the Aegean from Turkey.
Leaving Greece into Macedonia.
Hundreds of thousands of abandoned life vests.
Landed on Lesbos island.
Refugee tents on Lesbos.
Hoping for transport from Athens to Macedonia.
Tens of thousands at the Greece-Macedonia border.
Happy for now.
On Lesbos wondering what’s next.
Waiting in Athens.
Refugees at the Greece-Macedonia border.
Military control on the Macedonia side.
Waiting at the Greece-Macedonia border.
Please let us across the border.
Patiently waiting for their opportunity to cross the border.
Tears of frustration and anxiety at the Greece-Macedonia border.