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Sumaya Agha
Sumaya Agha
Sumaya Agha

Sumaya Agha

Country: Syria/United States
Birth: 1970

Sumaya Agha is a freelance photographer based in Portland, OR, who began documenting the Syrian refugee crisis over four years ago in Jordan and Europe. She is of Syrian descent with many aunts, uncles, and cousins still living in Damascus. Sumaya holds a BS in Applied Art and Design with a concentration in Photography from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and an MPA from Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Her worked appeared in the Huffington Post, BBC Focus on Africa, Forbes Africa, and NPR.org, and she was a still photographer for the Academy Award winning film “The Fog of War.” She has lived in Syria, Liberia, and the United States.

Watching from afar as civil war ripped apart Syria, I felt compelled to help the refugees whose lives have been destroyed by the conflict. And with dozens of close relatives enduring the horrors in their hometown of Damascus, I had a personal connection to the crisis. I moved to Amman, Jordan in 2012 and began working as a photographer for humanitarian organizations helping mitigate the crisis that had spilled over from neighboring Syria.

While in Jordan, I spent many days in the refugee camps and host communities, getting to know countless families living there and documenting their substandard living conditions. I heard myriad stories of heartbreaking loss and brutality and enduring spirit, and found that hopelessness is pervasive among the young, as they cannot see a future for themselves.

In January 2016 I went on assignment to Macedonia and Serbia to photograph the refugees migrating through the Balkans. Throughout the freezing winter, 2,200 refugees per day crossed into Serbia. Up to 10,000 a day crossed in warmer months. They came from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, including many families with young children. The typical journey went like this: flee their home country, take a perilous raft ride from Turkey to Greece, and then move onward through foreign lands in search of a peaceful home.

Now that the Balkan borders are closed to refugees, thousands are stranded in Eastern Europe, hoping to be relocated to Western Europe. More than 60,000 refugees are in camps throughout Greece, including Ritsona Refugee Camp, where I went on assignment in July to document the crisis.

With no end in sight to the conflict in Syria and elsewhere, the refugee crisis is certain to continue right along with it. That means millions of regular people continuing to seek safety and some sense of normalcy in the absence of peace.
 

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Joakim Eskildsen
Denmark
1971
Joakim Eskildsen was born in Copenhagen in 1971 where he trained with Royal Court photographer, Mrs. Rigmor Mydtskov. In 1994, he moved to Finland to learn the craft of photographic book making with Jyrki Parantainen and Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, graduating with an MA degree in photography in 1998. He often collaborates on projects with writer Cia Rinne, and his publications include Nordic Signs (1995), Blue-tide (1997), iChickenMoon (1999), which was awarded Best Foreign Title of 2000 in the Photo-Eye Books & Prints Annual Awards, the portfolio al-Madina (2002), which was made in collaboration with Kristoffer Albrecht and Pentti Sammallahti, and the book The Roma Journeys (Steidl 2007), which a.o. has been awarded with the Amilcare Ponchielli Award in 2008, Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (Gold) 2009, the Otto Pankok Promotion Prize, and the David Octavius Hill-medal awarded by Deutsche Fotografsche Akademie in 2009. Joakim lives and works in Berlin.Source: www.joakimeskildsen.com Joakim Eskildsen (born 1971 in Copenhagen) is a Danish art photographer. Eskildsen was a pupil of Rigmor Mydtskov in Copenhagen and went to Finland in 1994 to study photographic book making with Pentti Sammallahti at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. He lives near Copenhagen and has shown some of his works in Europe (including Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, France, England, Italy), China, and South Africa. From 2000-2006, together with the writer Cia Rinne, Eskildsen sought out Roma in various (mainly Eastern European) countries and other ethnic groups in India who are possibly related to the Roma. The fruits of this work have found their way into the book The Roma Journeys, which delivers insight into the life of the Roma by its text and more than 200 photographs. Source: Wikipedia
Monica Denevan
United States
1964
Monica Denevan studied photography at San Francisco State University. Her ongoing series, "Songs of the River: Portraits from Burma," began in 2000. Since then, she has returned to many of the same small villages in Burma/Myanmar, making intimate photographs of fishermen and their families in the spare and graphic setting of the Irrawaddy River. She travels with a medium format film camera, one lens, and bags of film, working with natural light and making composed images. Once home, she makes photographic prints in her traditional darkroom. Denevan's photographs have been exhibited internationally including solo shows at Scott Nichols Gallery (Sonoma, CA), Duncan Miller Gallery (Santa Monica, CA), Tao Gallery (Hong Kong) and Serindia Gallery Annex (Bangkok.) In 2020, she was one of 25 artists included in Photo-Eye Gallery's (Santa Fe, NM) first-ever juried exhibition. Her work is currently displayed on The Strand Cruise ship in Burma/Myanmar. She was a Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 finalist in 2019 and 2012. In 2016, ten of Denevan's images were published in a book of Lao photographs published by Nazraeli Press and Friends Without A Border in NY. In addition, her photographs have been published in ZYZZYVA, LensWork, SHOTS, and Bangkok Airways Inflight Magazine among others. She is the All About Photo 2020 Photographer of the Year award recipient. Monica Denevan is represented by Scott Nichols Gallery. She lives and works in San Francisco. Statement In my ongoing series "Songs of the River: Portraits from Burma," I make portraits of fishermen and their families by the Irrawaddy River. Burma (Myanmar) has a long troubled history, which continues into the present and now receives much more international notice and condemnation since my first trip in 2000. However, little has changed in the quiet villages I often visit. Generations of families live together in thatched roofed huts built on stilts. Women wash clothes in the river. Girls collect river water in large plastic containers that they balance on their heads. Men and boys are often out all night fishing. In the evening, children play, sing, bathe, and joke around at the river's edge. The sounds echo over the water. When in the villages, I am most interested in making portraits of the people I spend my time with, some of whom I have photographed since I first visited the country. I am grateful to be allowed briefly into their lives. The nearby area is stark, minimal, and ever changing, and I use that environment in my photographs. The landscape becomes another subject, another portrait within the picture. As families grow, I incorporate new people into my images, combining the spare, external world with the physicality of the individual. To return to the same place annually and find a new way to see it or to look for what is different is a daily adventure that I enjoy.
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