On my recent trip to the Middle East, my main photography job was in a Syrian Refugee camp. Unfortunately I am not allowed to share images from that time. My work partner, Caleb, and I have been told that we were part of just a handful of outsiders ever permitted to enter the camp, and I found the whole thing overwhelming. Usually we walk out of a place with a plan for what we can do, how we can help to make a difference- this time there was nothing, humanly speaking, that could be done by us. The scope of it and people’s prospects were bleak.
We wondered on the drive back what would become of this vast group of people confined in a camp where your neighbors in the next tiny corrugated tin home were just three strides away. Row, after row, after row of them. They aren’t free to leave the camp unless they want to walk back into a war zone; they aren’t free to have a chance at a future.And no matter how much I had the ideas in theory, I was most affected by how similar we were. I think the most striking thing about sitting with refugees was that the only difference between myself and them was that I could go home.⠀
From my overall time in the Middle East, I think the conversations with locals was the biggest treasure of my trip. One young Jordanian man and I talked about relationships across cultures; and I was so struck by the thoughts of a man who had spent his life in the mountains in which he was born: “I feel that the biggest problem between our cultures is that we don’t understand each other so we fear each other. There’s an old Bedouin saying: ‘Put your hand over your heart. All our hearts beat the same.'”⠀
Here are some of the images from the trip that I can share with you. I hope you enjoy them.