I was reading this morning about an Amsterdam photographer who travelled to Lesvos, Greece to witness the refugee situation (up to 30,000 can arrive in a month). She eventually found herself in a refugee camp in Moria which was home to about 4,000 refugees. She saw the fear and the confusion and she thought, “Oh my God, you are not from a different world. You are me and I am you.”  She decided to help the children in her own way, and with a translator as her guide, they distributed disposable cameras under the chainlink fence for seven months, asking the children to take photos of things they saw that were beautiful. Her intention was to have the children change their way of seeing a negative situation/place to a positive way of seeing.

What the children chose to photograph sometimes surprised her. “Once, a young boy whose father had left his family years ago was so excited about a picture he had taken that he pressed it to his chest for several minutes. When he finally put it down, she realized he had taken a selfie. “Was this a mistake?” she asked. “No,” he replied. “It’s not a mistake- I’m beautiful.” The response left her speechless. To know that he felt so unlikeable because his father left and to then see him call himself beautiful told me I’d done my job.”

Her name is Sevilay Maria van Dorst. The photography project is called Inside Light.

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