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Photographer takes portraits of refugees and their most prized assets


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Photographer Brian Sokol has been working with the United Nations at an interesting project, aimed at portraying refugees and their most prized assets.

A lot of people have never left their comfort zone. It is very hard for them to comprehend that people in war zones are forced to fled their homes, cities, and even countries.

Most of the times, refugees do not have enough time to gather all their belongings. Although they do not own too many things, they love and cherish everything they have.

“The Most Important Thing” consists of portraits of refugees taken by photographer Brian Sokol

Brian Sokol has started a project called “The Most Important Thing”. The photographer is backed by the United Nations Refugee Agency and he is looking to shoot portraits of refugees holding their most important possessions, most likely the only ones they managed to grab before fleeing their homes.

The project has begun in November 2011 in Sudan, where a lot of people were forced to cross the border into South Sudan.

The photos cannot miss their “target”. They are aimed at the hearts of the viewers and they are truly moving. It does not matter what a person thinks about war, these pictures will affect anybody who is taking a look at them.

First stop: Sudan

Omar only managed to grab his axe before leaving the country. This is his most prized asset because he is using it to create wooden structures, providing shelter for his family.

On the other hand, Maria grabbed a water container. This way she will have a vessel in which to carry drinking water.

Howard managed to grab a type of big knife, called “shefe”. He used it for protecting his family and cattle, while crossing the border into South Sudan.

A small child has also been forced to fled the country. His most valued possession is a pet monkey, called Kako.

And then there is Dowla, a woman who grabbed a wooden balance, which she used for carrying her six children on a journey lasting 10 days.

Inspiring portrait photography of Syria-based refugees

After Brian Sokol ended his Sudanese journey, he moved to Turkey, the place where most Syrian refugees have fled.

The images are as impressive as the ones from Sudan. The most inspiring one depicts a young girl called Tamara. Her most valued possession is her diploma. She is hoping to continue her studies in Turkey, with the help of a government-funded project.

It is amazing that these people have managed to keep their “cool” and grab the things they could actually use. If people living in first world countries had to flee, then they would not know what to take first: their smartphone, HDTV, Xbox, or camera.

Nevertheless, more emotional photos are available on Flickr, courtesy of UNHCR’s official account.

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