Wars in Afghanistan, Syria and other countries have generated a massive stream of refugees toward Europe. Between spring 2015 and autumn 2020, Jacob Ehrbahn undertook numerous trips to document the lives of the refugees and migrants who dream of a better life in Europe.
We meet people who have fled from war, political suppression, and poverty. We meet them far out in the Mediterranean in Libyan waters, where some are fighting a losing battle against death by drowning, and at various locations around Europe – in refugee camps, under motorway bridges, in run-down factory buildings and at border crossings, where they live in inhumane conditions. There are young men, women, children, and entire families. People living in free fall, struggling each day to hold on to their hope for a better life.
In Spring 2020 Ehrbahn visited the Moria camp on Lesbos, where around 20.000 people were living in extremely primitive conditions – some 40% were children. According to Doctors Without Borders, many had lost their will to live with a growing number exhibiting self-harming behaviour, and many, suffering from anxiety, becoming socially withdrawn. Six months later Moria was burnt down and Ehrbahn again visited to document the aftermath.
Yet in the midst of the misery, some people are able to adapt to the most inhumane conditions and create an everyday life with a structure of sorts. It is also possible to catch a glimpse of occasional life-affirming moments, such as when children can forget time and space for a while and just laugh and play, or when young men inside a ruined industrial building do all they can to prepare the best possible meal out of very few ingredients.
A Dream of Europe reminds us that on the other end of policy decisions and behind the numbers and statistics, there are real people with hopes and dreams.
Danish photojournalist Jacob Ehrbahn, works for the prestigious national newspaper Politiken. He has covered major international news stories as well as the daily lives of people world-wide. Ehrbahn has received numerous awards including World Press Photo awards, Pictures of the Year International awards, NPPA Best of Photojournalism awards and PDN Photo Annual awards. He has been named Danish Press Photographer of the Year three times.
Jacob Ehrbahn : A Dream of Europe
Dewi Lewis Publishing
295mm x 295mm