The book is a fascinating and personal insight from the time photo journalist, Russell Chapman, spent in Syria at the refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon. First he recounts his own personal experience of what it was like to go to a war zone and his interaction with the people. The reactions of children to his camera and his surprise at how open the Syrian’s were with him. You can see how deeply he was touched by the people in their situation.
After, he gives a brief of history on the origins of the war in Syria, what began as revolution and has descended into a civil war along with the reasons why. It is interesting to see, in a nutshell, a summary of what is to be honest, an often confusing situation to outside viewers.
Then we come to the pictures, there are 3 sections. The refugees, life in Aleppo, the rebels. The pictures are very personal, in great detail transmitting strong emotion. You are certainly able to get a feeling of the people. Portraits, landscapes, and war zones are set in different situations. A lot of the photos have comments explaining the context in which they were taken. Through the images you come away with a sensation of knowing something about the people.
This book is a strong record of a personal journey into a war zone and yet it is also surprising. There is a real human touch into the images. Russell seems to have found a connection with his subjects as he photographed them and this is what makes the book unique, it isn’t so much a record of war but rather, a record of people, of who they are, as they cope with the consequences of war.
Thanks and always love,
This is the kind of book I like to look for. It reminds me of Material World although the subject matter is so much sadder. I look at my own family, the small grandchildren and wonder who they would be, what would they be like if they had to grow up in war zones. We talk about our soldiers returning with PTSD,(my son was in the military) and these are adults who signed up for this. What effect does it have on a child or worse and entire family. At least our soldiers have families for support.
Hello Lois. If you like, I can tell you from my experience about the children and families. I was amazed at their resilience. I think a lot of the younger children don’t really comprehend the situation, their families try and protect them as much as possible. Some of the older children I saw were definitely traumatized and their parents have a sense of desperation about them. On the other hand the warmth they show, no matter how bad their situation was incredible. They all wanted to tell me their stories, give me some tea to drink.
Because they generally have very large extended families, there is a huge support network for the majority, even if they have almost nothing they all do what they can for each other. Those who suffer the most are the women who have lost their family and are now effectively on their own. It is extremely difficult for them. There are some organizations run by Syrians themselves who live outside and who try to help these women but the job is enormous and there is never enough to help everybody.
Let me know if you have any questions about my time there, I will answer.
Russell, thank you for sharing more of your story. I would love to learn more and wonder if you would be willing to write a guest post for my blog to help bring about more awareness.
Hi Lois. Please contact me through the contact page of my blog. I prefer you ask specific questions then I can give you specific answers. For me this is better than writing a post in general and maybe not answering your questions. Is this ok for you?
Thank you, Russell, for your offer. I will put together some questions and get back to you.
OK. Look forward to seeing your questions.
Many thanks for posting the details of my book Vikram. Link to where people can buy it is here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/russell-chapman/syria-refugees-and-rebels/hardcover/product-21435759.html
Thank you for sharing. The photographs certainly place an emotional scar on each victim.
The object is to let he pictures speak for themselves as they show the people.