The Rayograph

Seeking Refuge

Bryan Meltz studied Visual Journalism at the Brooks Institute of Photography and has since been a prolific and well-awarded documentary photographer. Her work has been featured in the pages of Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, Financial Times, Vibe, and Blender, and in 2005 she was named Emerging Female Documentary Photographer of the Year by the Yarka Vendrinska Memorial Fund for her long-term project on HIV/AIDS. Indeed, social and humanitarian issues are her focus, and she captures them so well through her lens.

Recently, her series “Resettled” caught my gaze. In this long-term project, the photographer captures intimate glimpses of a family of Somalian refugees living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Of this series, she wrote:
I met [Arbai Barre Abdi and family] in 2004 while working as a still photographer on a PBS documentary about refugee resettlement in America. In 2006, I started taking my 4×5 camera and Polaroid positive/negative film with me on my weekly visits to see Arbai and the kids. The pace of working with a large format camera allowed for a different form of collaboration, one that was much more intimate and personal than my normal reportage style of shooting.

Soon after I began, neighbors, friends, and children from the complex began lining up for their portraits. Almost none of them had family photos in their homes, and for many it was the first time they had their pictures taken. One of the older women broke down after seeing her portrait and told me that she had never seen herself in a photograph before. She walked away holding her image tightly, yelling at the group of children around her as they tried to grab at it.

Via Feature Shoot.

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This entry was published on March 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Seeking Refuge

  1. While they’re all beautiful, those first kids look mighty tough. I just love the fight on their face.

  2. Steve Ramirez on said:

    As someone who once faced child soldiers and terrorist in Africa, I know that some of what is in their eyes can be mental toughness, and some can be the cold glare that precedes tragedy. In Africa, life is cheap. Children die of disease and war and the patents often never looked back. I have seen young women walk around bloating corpses as they sell bananas. Africa is a beautiful, sad, place.

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