Fourteen-year-old Khalid, photographed in February 2012, attempted a journey to Europe but was unsuccessful, ending up back in Peshawar, Pakistan. “My dream is to be a doctor in Afghanistan but I think my only hope in life is to try again to go to Europe,” he said. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) In the corner of a derelict beachfront cafe in Patras, Greece, weathered sneakers belonging to 20 young Afghan residents sit piled up early in the morning as their owners lie sleeping in November 2011. Worn down during their long overland journeys from Asia, some of the shoes are without laces, confiscated by the police during their confinement in detention centers 932 miles away on the Greek-Turkish border. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR)
Alixandra Fazzina is a photographer whose great impact has been through exposing the treacherous journeys that migrants and refugees face because of conflict. And yet in capturing these streams of people, she never forgets about the individual.
This is what Fazzina’s colleague, Benedicte Kurzen, noticed through editing her work for our latest installment of the In Sight series “PHOTOGRAPHERS edit PHOTOGRAPHERS.”
“This is exactly what lies at the core of any large migrations,” she said. “It is a personal adventure within a mass movement.”
Kurzen focused on Fazzina’s work on Afghan children and their dangerous journeys to seek refuge in European countries, “Flowers of Afghanistan.”
Even in the most unexceptional places, seismic shifts in these children’s lives take place. “The canvas of this dream becomes a never-ending succession of spaces, caves, darkness, small fires, piles of shoes, cold, car parks, alone and together at the same time,” Kurzen said.
Caked in oil and dirt, a young mechanic stands under a green-tinted light bulb strung from a shelter of sticks and plastic sheeting, watching as porters load cargo onto a bus in Kabul in December 2011. As evening draws in and thousands of travelers bound for Afghanistan’s southern borders descend on the company district transport terminal, workers ready the buses for their departures in the early hours of the morning. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Giving thanks to God for the plates of chicken and rounds of thin Arab bread they have just shared, 11-year-old Baseer and his roommates raise their hands in prayer, crowded tightly around a plastic sheet on the floor, in October 2011. Twelve teenage Afghan boys share the basic, rented space at the dirty “Mafia Hotel” in the back streets of Athens’s Omonia district. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Seen through the window of a Pashtun smuggler’s cafe known as “Bashir PCO” after the international call center across the road are piles of rubbish piled up at a junction on Omonia’s Xouthou Street in Athens in October 2011. Attracting old-timers and many newly arrived boys, the landmark cafe is surrounded by congested apartment blocks home to thousands of Afghan refugees in what for many Athenians is a no-go area after dark. Nearby is the “Mafia Hotel,” a smuggler-controlled building that is notorious for criminality, trafficking and sexual abuse. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Seen through a veil of cobwebs that span the branches, 13-year-old Basheer stands amid the fir trees in a patch of wintry forest in Tichero, Greece, in October 2011. After crossing into Europe from Turkey with smugglers three days previously, Basheer had spent the past two nights sleeping in freezing conditions. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Engrossed in combat video games often depicting their countries, jobless youths and teenagers escape the world outside, whiling away the day in a dark cafe in the Sarai Ghazni district of Kabul in February 2012. Away from the screens, youths spend most of their time plotting greater escapes. With many of their peers in Iran working or on the move toward Europe, few of these young urban Afghans see a future for themselves at home. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Illuminated by red lights, a teenage traveler sits under verses of the Koran and a carpet woven with an image of an Afghan woman in Herat, Afghanistan, in March 2012. Surrounded by a group of men near Herat, they are supervised overnight by a middleman who will lead them on with a chain of smugglers toward the border of Iran. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) As the winter sun sinks, a group of teenage travelers arrive at the Company district bus station in Afghanistan in December 2011. Thousands of wayfarers gather each evening at what is often a point of embarkation for the borders of Pakistan and Iran. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR) Crouching atop a pile of ash on top of damp earth, 16-year-old Shareef feeds a cooking fire with scraps of wood as he prepares dinner under dark skies as a storm approaches Patras, Greece, from the sea, in October 2011. Shareef is one of 10 unaccompanied minors, the youngest 11, who are with older drug dealers. (Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR)
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