Politiken is a leading Danish newspaper that, like many publications, has carved out its own space online. Here, stories are released across a new medium, providing the opportunity for the content to gain global readership. On the internet, Politiken’s pieces have the potential to reach places that they normally wouldn’t. On Facebook, I recently came across one particularly harrowing story that had been brought to life through words, pictures, and an ingenious tactic I’d never seen before.
It is the story of the refugees, who sometimes risk becoming a thing, a collective identity, rather than what they really are: individual people. Individual lives, including children. It’s tragic that sometimes, we need that reminder, and sometimes, we need to be reminded to exercise our compassion and our understanding, even though their situations go far beyond the scope of what we can understand. Because sometimes, the only way to understand entirely is to live fully. This story and its photographs won’t enable you to do exactly that, but they’ll shed some light, making the crisis, the people, and its world, just a little bit clearer.
It’s no coincidence that the children’s figures, photographed in living color, are juxtaposed against a black background. This tactic does a few things, and for me, it immediately conveyed despair; a lack of hope in the striking starkness of the absence of something. But the lack of surroundings also made each child all the more relatable, because they could’ve been anywhere in the world, including in downtown Philadelphia.
But this wasn’t anywhere geographically close to me — not even remotely. Still, it felt all too familiar, and that familiarity generated impact, because how could it not? Click on the image below to check out this exemplary storytelling.