Syrian Refugees: The human story
I have been developing the idea for this project since I was in Syria last year to photo-document that terrible conflict as well as spending time in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. What impressed me the most was the warmth of the people despite all the terrible hardship they are suffering.
Millions of Syrians are now refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and they have very little international support. Because of the circumstances they have to find ways of supporting themselves and their families. They are doing this by trying to find work but there also are quite a few who have started small businesses. Syrians are extremely resourceful, they have to be. This project is about telling the stories of these people as they find ways to rebuild their lives in a foreign country. I have kept many of my contacts with Syrians in Jordan. The plan is to follow up on them as well as meet new Syrians to see how their lives have changed in the last year. The objective is to show that although they are refugees they are no different to you and me, they desire security, a home, education and a job. Refugees are often portrayed in the media as pathetic creatures living in the dirt, I want to show their humanity as they work to rebuild their lives.
The project's ultimate goal is to create a book which tells the individual stories of those I will meet, interview and photograph as they go about rebuilding their lives. There will also be exhibitions in Europe and the USA as a continuation of the book and exhibitions I have already produced from my time in Syria last year.
I will also donate 20% of the profit from sales of the book and any photographic works to buy medicines for Syrian refugees. Many cannot afford the medicines they need, particularly for the children so this project will also be of direct benefit to those who need it.
The impact your help will have
The biggest impact your help will have in enabling this project is to give a voice to those who have lost and suffered so much. This project is very much about showing the humanity of ordinary Syrians who are desperate to live in peace and raise their families. We are living at a critical point in human history. Never before has the world seen so many refugees, nearly half the Syrian population has been displaced. This project is about showing we care for our fellow human beings, wherever they are. Together, with your help, I want to bring a different narrative, one that shows the humanity of ordinary Syrians and that with the right help they can rebuild their lives.
Not only am I looking for contributions to fund the project fund but also for publicists who believe in a humanitarian cause and would be willing to help publicize the book and exhibitions for maximum impact. Even if you can not contribute directly, if you feel strongly about what is happening to your fellow human beings, then please spread the word about this project.
This is based on my budget last year when I went to Syria and the subsequent printing, production and exhibition costs.
50 large photographic prints, approx 75x50cm on Dibond and laminated @ $200 each = $10,000
Book preparation, layout and initial print run cost $6700
Exhibition expenses for 3 shows in Switzerland, UK and the USA including shipping, insurance, picture hangings and travel. Switzerland approx $2000, UK & USA approx $3350 each. Total $8700
Return Flight to Amman, Jordan approx $1340
Hotel accommodation and food for 3 weeks in Jordan approx $2680
Fixer, driver, translator approx $1000
Indiegogo & PayPal fees $3100
Perk costs $4000
Grand Total $37,520. All costs are in US Dollars.
About Russell Chapman
I'm a freelance photographer and writer who is well versed in the issues of the Middle East. Last year I went to Syria, spending a month to see what is happening on the ground. I wanted to understand the reality of the situation and how it is affecting the Syrian people. After, I spent time in Lebanon and Jordan, visiting refugee camps and talking to the people. I have to say, as a result of my experience of the warmth I encountered despite all the suffering they are going through that I now feel very close to them.
My work in Syria is well recognized. I have been invited to speak and show my work at international conferences at Franklin University in Switzerland, Oxford University in England and the Conference of Forced Migration in Washington DC. My curator is Professor of Art History, Johanna Fassl of Franklin University, Switzerland.
I have done interviews for various international media, my last being for World Refugee Day on June 20th with China Youth Daily, one of the largest newspapers in China
I'm also a fine art photographer and work with the AcquestArte gallery in Ascona, Switzerland to show my art.Check out the gallery page for this project to see a slide show of some of my photography work in Syria last year.
Please contact me if you have any questions. For more information about me and my work check out: www.russellchapman.wordpress.com
My press release can be seen at: