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Seeking Refuge - Overview

Seeking Refuge

A project about the relationships we have with people. About the journeys we make in life and what we overcome and how we cope.

Mohamed photographed by Matt Trapp

I worked with two different men: Mohamed, who is a young man with his whole life ahead of him, and H, who was an established photographer in Syria.

It was hard to communicate at times due to language barriers, but we
still had a human connection through emotion and trust. No matter what language you speak you can still communicate in other ways. It’s natural for me to pick up a camera to capture and depict a situation rather than words: the picture is my language, photography is my way of expression.

The men really opened my eyes. I felt I had been naive and quite frankly unaware of the desperation of people seeking refuge in other countries. The trips they take are life-threatening; they have no other choice and have been forced out by war. You hear about it all the time on the news, but you don’t realise how serious it really is.

Here's Mohamed's story:

Mohamed was a young mechanic in Sudan, driven out by the fighting.

His journey here was hard and he left everything behind: home, friends, family. Fitting into and adapting to a different culture is hard, especially for someone so young.

“I miss my family and friends when I think of home.”

– Mohamed

Mohamed is confident and didn’t need much directing. The portrait felt powerful when we shot it: Mohamed had to suppress so much through his childhood, but now looks away from what he has witnessed, and towards his own future free of fear.

We shot the image of the windblown reeds in the direction of Mohamed’s home back in Sudan, thinking of the distance he'd had to travel to feel safe, something that we take for granted. It shows how far he is away from his family and loved ones.

“The journey to the UK was hard, but I met a lot of people who I consider to be my friends, I don’t regret coming here. I will return home if the fighting stops.”

“I am studying English and Maths at college. In Sudan I was a mechanic, this is what I’m training to be here.”