Refugee crisis: telling powerful stories through photos

Photo: Danila D'Amico

With thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in Greece after the closing of the borders along the Balkan migration route, journalists and photojournalists keep telling compelling stories of devastation, survival, resistance and hope.

Aris Messinis, the chief photographer of the Agence France Presse (AFP) in Athens, said he has been documenting this “tragedy” for almost a decade. But there were moments when he put down his camera to help.

“Seeing people dying in front of you, especially children, is something that will hunt you for the rest of your life. There are places in Lesvos that I will never go in my life,” Messinis said in an interview with IJF16 after the panel discussion on Friday. He explained that it was difficult to be emotionally detached from his work on Lesvos, where thousands of refugees arrived from Turkey.

Messinis’ work has been featured on the front page of many major international magazines and newspapers, including The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Paris Match Magazine, The Guardian and others.

His hope, he said, is to continue raising awareness. “What we call shocking images is the pure reality of human beings. This is not something we create. This is the daily life of these people: people dying, people suffering,” he added.