Alexandros Avramidis, photographer
It is the end of February and we are in the port of Thessaloniki. Ahmed, Abdul, Mariam and other teenagers are holding a camera in their hands and are taking photographs of the scenery. Every shot reveals a different image, but actually it’s more like a personal testimony. Through this creative way, SolidarityNow chose to educate refugees and migrants, to express their thoughts and criticism on the organization so that it can be improved and respond to their needs.
“Photography, beyond its creative angle, is a popular medium. First of all, we’re all taking photos and more than before we take selfies. It is easy to express yourself through photography, and now it has become a common language, more than speech and writing”, says the renowned photojournalist Alexandros Avramidis, who gave photography lessons to teenagers, adult refugees and migrants, all beneficiaries of the organization. These seminars took place within the framework of the Resilient Roots* project. After the theory lesson the teenagers had to practice everything they have learned. All of them are walking at the harbor’s pier and take photographs of the sea, of themselves, of the boat that has been moored in Thermaikos golf. You hear the whistling sound of the cameras’ click while at the same time Alexandros gives them instructions and advice. “At first you see their own unique glance, what they have inside them; the way they see the world”, he states.
Alexandros has been awarded with the Pulitzer prize for covering the refugee crisis and has been working with Reuters for years. His images have traveled all over the world, transmitting news and provoking a variety of feelings. For him, photography is not only his art; his profession is a common language, and this is what he has tried to communicate to his students as well.
As he tells us, the contact with the students gave him some kind of knowledge. “The children who come here are in this loving environment, at the same time they have the opportunity to do all these activities”, he notes. By giving to children incentives and expression options, you give them the opportunity to shout out everything they think and cannot confess. “Let us not fool ourselves, at this age youngsters who do not receive support delinquency is almost inevitable. The fact that they come to this place and can do all these activities in a very decent way is very nice”, underlines Alexandros.
* Since July 2018, SolidarityNow has been implementing the pilot project “The Resilient Roots Initiative”. The program, co-ordinated by the CIVICUS network in partnership with Keystone Accountability & Accountable Now, aims to improve communication and interaction channels between SolidarityNow Management and its beneficiaries. About 60 young people beneficiaries of the organization, from Athens and Thessaloniki, are involved in a number of activities.