Migration and its perils is a subject photographers have never been shy to explore. Whether it be Robert Capa in Palestine during the formation of the state of Israel, or Sebastião Salgado's magnum opus Exodus.
The cause of the mass migration of peoples is a maze of geo-political factors; one of which is conflict. News of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria as a result of almost 5 years of civil war is interminable. Brexit and Donald Trumps presidential campaign have forced an almost reluctant media to cover migration topics, brazenly bias on both the left and right. And, since only 12% of broadcast and newspaper content is their own and, within them, only 12% of the information is checked for factuality; the news media are egregiously unreliable.*
Photography, however, is actual. It can be argued that the "12 inches" behind the camera carries their own biases. This is indeed true, a photographer after all chooses what he or she photographs. But the places, the people; their faces, cloths and actions - captured through the lens - are not chosen by the photographer. This simple fact makes them substantially more reliable then any news print or broadcast.
Here is a list of my top five most dramatic images taken by photographers of a modern exodus.
1) Massimo Sestini's image of over-packed boat that set sail off the coast of Libya, later rescued by an Italian naval frigate.
2) Aris Messinis' image of migrants stepping over dead bodies whilst being rescued off the coast of Libyia
3) Alex Majoli's image of migrants being rescued on the coast of Lesvos, Greece.
4) Vadim Ghirda's image of a woman and her two children huddling around a fire on the nothern Greek border of Idomeni.
5) Warren Richardson's image of a women and her child awaiting a bus to transport them to a camp to be processed in Hungary.
Edmund Burke one observed that he was "convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others". I happen to disagree with him, I take no pleasure in seeing these images; what attracts my attention to these photos - and photography in general - is that they show us faces, real faces, real situations. And they should simply make us ask, why?
*Taken from Nick Davies book Flat Earth News