October 9, 2014

“Refugees” for Preemptive Love Coalition

Humanitarian

A few weeks back I had one of those last minute calls offering an assignment the next day. After realizing that the call was from one of my favourite charities in the world, I was ready to clear my schedule, move some appointments and go for it. And I’m glad I did!

PLC (Preemptive Love Coalition) had the mission to travel 200+ kilometres to the city of Erbil, and find a special family of refugees that had fled from the northern area of Mosul because of ISIS persecution and the slaughtered of people there. (If you haven’t seen the news lately, that area of Kurdistan has received about 2 million IDPs -Internal Displaced People.)

This family was special to PLC because among all those tens of thousands of refugees in the area, they were the only ones with a little boy with heart disease. So our mission was to try to find that 1 year old boy and his family, and record their story so PLC could start raising funds to treat him. (PLC has accomplished 1000 lifesaving heart surgeries for children throughout Iraq.)

After searching for awhile on our own, and waiting for a translator who could help us with Arabic, we were eventually able to find them in one of Erbil’s refugee camps. We were there in the middle of the day, in temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (and a few degrees warmer inside the refugee tents). But we were able to hear their story, record some video and of course make some stills.

My mission as a photographer was to make some editorial/advertising type of images that could work for the PLC campaign later on. It was a great challenge to manage all the equipment (I was carrying my Quadras) in that heat. I really thought that I was going to fry some of my gear! You may be asking yourself why so much equipment?  Well, I was hoping to get some unique images that would look different than the usual photos coming from refugee camps. I was after a ‘look’ quite different from photojournalism. So I decided to use my trusty Octabank and Quadras, first inside the family’s small tent and then just outside of it, while a big crowd of spectators looked on (I had to deal with crowd control and kindly asked for some space in order to make these photos). So out of all the craziness of the day, here are some of the images.

Don’t forget to visit my friends from PLC here, where you can get more ideas as to how help these families.

Thank you.

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