refugees, tuscany, italy, justen ahren,

Fog in the Trees, Italy.  

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Since 2015, when the refugee 'crises' began, nearly 3 million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe while thousands more have lost their lives trying.  This is one of the largest human migrations in history.  


Leaving behind endless war, repression, and famine people are willing to lose everything to find safety in Europe.  


But the resettling of tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa  has led to a resurgence of European Nationalism, and a fear of, anger at, and violence towards foreigners.  It has changed politics, economics, welfare policies, national security, and identity in ways we will see played out for years, if not decades, to come.   


This project is a photo-document of refugees' experiences and the routes they've used into Europe. 


This is a visual depiction of landscapes altered by the movement of people, their memories, their search for security, and European attempts to 'stem their flow'.  Here is what the landscape has witnessed, and holds from one of the largest migrations in human history, an situation that is  defining our times.   

Greece, refugees, Lesvos, Justen Ahren, Molyvos

Graffiti at "Life Vest Graveyard" outside Molyvos,  

Lesbos, Greece.  During the height of the refugee 

"crises" thousands of people were arriving per day 

by boat.  Thousands also drowned trying to cross. 

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Greece, Refugees, Lesvos, Justen Ahren

These "trees" are a common sight on Lesbos.  The

branches are draped with the wet clothes of 

refugees left when they landed, or washed ashore.

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tuscany, italy, refugees, justen ahren

Field, Tuscany

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Orvieto, italy, refugees, justen ahren

Orvieto, Italy.  Refugee on Platfrom

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italy, refugees, justen ahren

Graffiti and Mt Sorrata, Stimigliano 

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refugees, Greece, Lesvos, justen ahren

This baby blanket was left at the site of a refugee 

boat landing, Mytilini, Lesbos, Greece, 2018

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italy, refugees, justen ahren

Roadside Chapel 

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italy, refugees, justen ahren

Destroyed Church

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italy, roccantica, justen ahren, refugees

Looking Out, Roccantica, Italy 

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Greece, refugees, Lesvos, Justen Ahren, Molyvos

These boats, some used by refugees others by 

smugglers, have been dumped in land from Molyvosnear the vast pile of life jackets worn by refugees. 

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italy, roccantica, justen ahren, refugees

Beginning the Next Journey

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Italy, refugees

Smoke.  Early morning in Tiber Valley of the Tiber 

refugees use this valley's major transportation

routes and river to move north towards Germany 

and France. 

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refugees, justen ahren

Cornfield

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refugee routes, justen ahren

Junk Cars, Tiber Valley, Italy

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Justen ahren, refugee routes

Il Rigattieri, The Junk Dealer

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refugee routes, Justen ahren, Italy

The remote mountain villages on the border of 

France and Italy are used by refugees because they can avoid the police in larger cities and they have 

received help from local residents.  


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Greece, refugees, Lesvos, Justen Ahren

Graffiti on the wall of Moria refugee camp reads, ForDeportation.  Lesbos, Greece 2018

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justen ahren

House

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Italy, Refugee routes, justen ahren

On the Route to France

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rome, refugee routes, justen ahren

Traveling the A1, Rome

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justen ahren, Italy, refugee routes, tuscany

Santuario Sant'Antimo 

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italy, refugee routes, Justen ahren

Limbless almost to to the top.  These trees remind me of a line of walking refugees.   

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Lesbos, Greece, Refugees, Justen Ahren

Carrying a stretcher from the beach, south of

Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece.  Several organizations 

train in spotting and receiving refugee boats along 

a 10 km stretch of the island nearest Turkey.  

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Lesbos, Greece, Refugees, Justen Ahren

Lone Tree.  Life Jacket Graveyard.  Molyvos, Greece. 

There are more than 40,000 life jackets here.  All 

held a person.    

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Lesbos, Greece, Refugees, Justen Ahren

Warehouse where clothes are sorted and provided 

to newly arriving refugees.  

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Lesvos, Greece, Refugees, Justen Ahren

Inner tubes, blankets, and clothes left at the site of a landing south of Mytilene airport near Katia.  March 17, 2018

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

Clothes hanging from a tree near the site of a refugee landing near Moria, Greece 2018

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

In 2015 and 2016 at the height of the crises,

thousands of refugees were arriving daily.  Locals 

living in the town of Molyvos on the North Coast,

created a landfill to hold all the debris.  

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

Thousands of people drowned crossing the ocean 

between Turkey in Greece in rubber boats, 

make-shift rafts, even kayaks.  Syrians named the

crossing, the crossing of death.  

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

1 in 88 people die trying to cross the Mediterranean to Greece.  

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

The cost a refugee pays a smuggler for a dingy, gas for the engine, and a life jacket is about $1,000 usd.There can be 60 or more people in a rubber boat.

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Greece, Lesbos, Justen Ahren, Refugees

A bottle of makeup remover among the life jackets.  A reminder of the personal life and concerns of a

person who made it or attempted to make it to Europe. 

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