1.14.2009

Port of Patras Refugee Camp, online at SDN

Aside from endless body counts and the enormous waste of tax money, there is little awareness in the United States or Europe about the true impact of our misguided, immoral, illegal wars on terror. With his Port of Patras exhibition online at SocialDocumentary.net, Greek photographer George Poutachidis shows us hard-working, apolitical and non-militant refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan, driven out of their native countries by what British Punk group the Clash called Washington Bullets.

The refugees in George's photographs are residents of a makeshift camp in the Greek port city of Patras, awaiting a chance to get to the heart of Europe, a continent run by governments who do not want them. They are trapped in a purgatory between the hell of the war-torn countries they've left behind, and what they imagine to be the heaven of peaceful, civilized Europe.

Technically, George is a master of capturing the moment, eliminating needless elements from the frame, and revealing the deep connection he has formed with the young men he's photographed. More importantly, perhaps, he's a completely independent photographer who works for no agency, no newspaper, and like the best artists with cameras, follows his heart to places of passion, trouble, joy and injustice, capturing it like lightning in a bottle, so the rest of us can see what he has seen. Whether a photograph can change the world, I don't know. But we are better, wiser and more informed about our impact on the world because of George's good work.

Thanks to Guernica mag for reproducing this post.