The photos are flavors of years of traveling and exploring. One has won an award, others exhibited and some published in various media outlets as you can see here. If you want to use a photo just ask.
The Balkans saw thousands of refugees crossing through the land in the second half of 2015. I was there, working for the UN Refugee Agency. Children, parents, grandparents, sick, elders, disabled, fit, strong, tired, - refugees who had travelled from far away, crossed mountains, deserts, the open sea. Refugees forced to flee their homes in Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and the list goes on. People hoping to be protected by human rights in Europe and try to live in dignity. No one I spoke to had wished to leave, and all I spoke to wished to return one fine day.
I spent two years in Afghanistan. The country and its people took me away. There's passion and pain, love and hate, war and peace, clichés and originality. It was an inspiration and an irritation. No one who has ever lived in the odd and wonderful place called Afghanistan will forget its magic. I, for one, will not.
Iran is one of the most hospitable countries I've visited although I can only speak to the city of Masshad and the people living east of there in the arid country towards the Afghan border. I was there researching for the novel, The Boy Who Could Swim, and take photos. I ended up unlawfully imprisoned, withheld by the Iranian security services charged with spying. After weeks of solitary confinement, and without contact to the outside world, they let me go one fine day.
Amir the Carpet Maker in Masshad
This photo was awarded a price in the GC Photo Competition on Migrants and Community Action.
Greece is the beginning or the end of Europe depending on the eyes that see. For the many stranded refugees it's the beginning of a dream, the end of one journey and the beginning of a new. Most of the refugees I interviewed for my novel wanted to continue further into Europe. The asylum system in Greece is dysfunctional and the EU is not respecting the principle of solidarity. The dream has gone sour for many of the refugees that live under appalling circumstances and in daily fear of fascists. These photos are of refugees, homeless Greeks and the fascist neo-nazi parti of Golden Dawn.
Deep in the Vietnamese jungle boardering Laos is the mighty Son Doong Cave. It is the biggest cave known to man. It is still a privilige for the few to venture on an expedition to this lost world. I was one of the lucky few. I would return in a heartbeat if the possibility was offered.
When the Chernobyl reactor four caught fire in late April 1986 and caused the worst nuclear disaster in the history of man, the nearby nuclear town of Prypiat was soon evacuated and abandoned by the 50,000 workers, wives and children.
Today Prypiat is a ghost town, a relic of a time that was, and a warning of what we are capable of doing to ourselves.
Vietnam and the War
In 2015 I was in Vietnam working on a documentary about war veterans and victims of the many unexploded bombs that are still here. These portraits are of people with stories that goes beyond my imagination. The documentary film Forty Years Later will tell their stories. More about the film here
I lost my heart to Hanoi. I only lived there for a few months but I scratched beneath its surface and what was revealed was a city with secrets and flavors that are still vivid and will lure me back. No doubt about that.
When we are eating noodles we cannot but reveal the human behind the mask.
The dish in the photographs is called bun bo and is a tasty broth, rice noodles, pork and meatballs that comes with a side of banana flower, fresh herbs and light lettuce that one has to mix with the bun bo. Add a bit of spicy fish sauce and you have yourself an atypical breakfast for me, but a normal breakfast for Vietnamese.
I spent a couple of months in Sudan's Nuba Mountains in 2011. This was before the birth of South Sudan as a nation state. It was a time of uncertainty and tension. A few days after I left an opposition politician was assassinated and an open conflict erupted. Weeks before these events I spent lots of time on the desolate dust roads and was granted a rare opportunity to experience the remote corners of the Nuba Mountains.