LET ME IN - PhMuseum

LET ME IN

Caimi & Piccinni

2015

Serbia

The project "LET ME IN" focuses on the most recent mass migratory movement. It consists of a series of 80 self-portraits of an immigrant or a refugee plus his/hers handwritten letter, a note left on the photographer's diary. The pictures were collected on the Balkan route at the borders of Europe, in Belgrade, Subotica, Horgos, Sid, Tovarnik, Berkasovo, in the improvised campsites, in the city parks, on the road lead- ing to the border fences, in the bushes where some people where hiding, at the bus or railway stations. People fleeing their homeland for Europe were asked to take their picture with a remote control and to write a letter containing either a message to the country of their destination, a story from the journey, some more intimate thoughts, words from a song, a poetry, a drawing. The aim of the project is to form a body of work representing - both in images and words - statements of individuality from people within the migratory movement, in the attempt to find a way to connect with individuals in the often reported indistinct flow of migrants crowd. Avoiding to indulge on the feeling of compassion or on images of misery, persons are courageously photographing themselves looking into the eyes of the European people and into what they believe will be their future. The final goal is to restore the dignity of every single human being, sharing their messages and showing their figure, promoting a better and clearer awareness concerning the migration crisis and its victims.

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  • One of the pages of the photographer's scrapbook handwritten by Seyed Mohammad Ghayum on September 8th 2015, in Belgrade, Serbia. The diary contains letters of migrants and refugees fleeing their country and heading to Europe and are notes about the journey or just personal considerations. The notebook with a collection of 80 testimony was then photographed on a neutral background.

    The message in Farsi on this page translates as follows:
    My name is Seyed Mohammad Ghayumi a 27 years old man forced to emigrate. During this journey I came to understand the differences among cultures. In our country, children from the first day they are born are forced to witness unpleasant things such as war and murder and must work since a very young age. People from other countries such as Turkey or Greece or Serbia, giving us hospitality today, helped us a lot. Our request to the international community is to put into security our country so that finding peace we can all get back there. Because there is no other place like your homeland. This is the request of all the Afghans.
    I wish peace to all the world.

  • A family from a little village near Kabul sheltering in an abandoned house in Belgrade during a storm on September the 10th, 2015. A constant flow of migrants from war torn countries crowded the serbian capital in 2015 as the last major stop before attempting to enter Europe.
    The photographer asked the subjects to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Farsi they left on the diary translates as follows:
    I am Mohammad Sadegh Rezaii Afghan citizen. For 5 years I lived in Iran, unfortunately the behavior of the Iranian authorities is very humiliating. They never issued us the residence permit e that situation posed so many restrictions. Moreover one of my children has medical kidneys problems, He has the Neurogenic Bladder and in Iran is impossible to cure him. For these reasons we were forced to leave to Europe and we hope we can find help. We thank for the hospitality and the human manners all the European countries.

  • A young Pakistani migrant in the fields surrounding an abandoned brick factory in Subotica, near the Croatian border, on September 14th, 2015. Hundreds of people are hiding within this area, which offers some improvised shelter and represents a strategic spot for migrants attempting illegal border crossing.
    The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Urdu he left on the diary translates as follows:
    In the name of god, hello I am Mohamed Omar Bashir, from Momen Ejensi, where there's war. For this reason I left my home. It's three years I am in travel for Europe. The day 10th in Bulgaria they took my fingerprints and now I am in Serbia, I don't know where to go, maybe in three days I leave to Italy or Germany.

  • A Syrian man on the last road strip mile before the Croatian border on September the 15th, 2015. Road is now deserted after the police shut the Serbian/Hungarian border which was open for migrants to cross, just few hours earlier. The man anyhow decided to head for the improvised campsite at the end of this road, with migrants trapped on the Serbian soil.
    The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Arabic he left on the diary translates as follows:
    I'll tell you this story: when we left Turkey we were 30 people. They said we would go in a big touristic boat. Instead it was a small ten person dinghy and they embarked us by force and smugglers took our money. The boat sailed into Turkey's territorial waters but suddenly stopped while in the Greek area. After ten minutes with a GPS phone we called for help the Greek coastal guard. They identified our location and said they would come shortly. We were 30 people, including women and young children, we didn't know what to do apart praying God to save us. After 20 minutes the Greeks came and saved us all except one person who drowned in the water. They could not find him. His name was Mohammad Hagi from Syria, who died in date 11/09/2105. This is my story. With all the respect.

  • Nadeen, a Syrian woman from Damascus, in the open fields in Sid, near the only border passage left open from Serbia to Croatia covers her face for the picture, on September the 17th, 2015. She fears possible reprisals both by extremist groups and government forces against members of her family still in Syria. She is escaping the war together with her family and her little children, heading to Germany.
    The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in English she left on the diary translates as follows:
    We are very happy to see some people like you. Because our country and the Middle East government is very bad. Closes in our face doors.
    So thank you very much. Nadeen from Syria.

  • Flora, a migrant Gabonese woman traveling alone, stands nearby the Serbian/Hungarian border fence on September the 15th 2015. Together with thousands of other migrants, camped in the surrounding fields, she hopes for the doors to be re-opened to let the migrants get into the European country. The door was shut permanently just few hours earlier. The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in French she left on the diary translates as follows:
    The situation concerning migration in Hungary is actually critical, since Hungary is hermetically closed all along the border with Serbia, a very long distance. This puts all the migrants in a life phase of desperation, because not only the authorities of that country are not willing to deliver to migrants the papers, but the chances of getting out of this country become hypothetic. This puts all the migrants in a general chaos and pushes them to spend the whole day shouting in front of the authorities under a overwhelming sun and heat. We hope that public opinion and ONU will arrange a solution for this chaos. Flora.

  • One of the pages of the photographer's scrapbook handwritten by Firas, an 8 years old migrant, on September 8th 2015, in Belgrade, Serbia. The diary contains letters of migrants and refugees fleeing their country and heading to Europe and are notes about the journey or just personal considerations. The notebook with a collection of 80 testimony was then photographed on a neutral background.

    The word in Arabic he left on the diary along with his name, below the drawing, translates as: "home".

  • A young migrant from Syria camped in the Belgrade's city park next the University, on September 11th, 2015.
    He had half of his face blown out by shrapnels from government forces bombing his village. Like thousands of other migrants crowding the city, he's waiting for the right time to head North to the Hungarian border.
    The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Arabic he left on the diary translates as follows:
    My name is Ahmed Al Fayad, I'm coming from Syria from the city Der Al Zor, I am from the clan Alshabtat who suffered both from ISIS and the Bashar Al Asad army. We would like people from Europe to draw a special status for us, because we flee our homes against our will. Please also help all people from Syria to cross the border from Serbia to Hungary.

  • A Syrian lady with her two children from the battered city of Daraa, waiting in an abandoned parking near Horgos for the Serbian/Hungarian border to reopen, on September 15th 2015. Like her, thousands of migrants were crowding the border fence surroundings the day after the doors were permanently closed.
    The photographer asked the subjects to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Arabic she left on the diary translates as follows:
    In the name of God the merciful. May god be praised, Lord of the worlds. I faced many troubles during the journey, me my husband and my children, but I found good people willing to help. I wish them all the best. My wish is that the gate to Hungary might be opened so we can go with my husband and my children to meet my dear parents in Sweden. I wish everybody every kind of success and I thank you all.

  • A small group of young Afghans camped in the bushes near an abandoned brick factory, in Subotica, Serbia on September the 14th, 2015, are waiting for the right moment to cross the border with Hungary. People with little economic means end up sheltering in this area, where local NGOs occasionally bring food. The place is also strategic as a base for the highly risky task of illegally cross the Hungarian border through the open fields.
    The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Pashto they left on the diary translates as follows:
    Hello, we are forced to leave our country and to live as migrants. In our country there was war and poverty and there's still, so we cannot stay. If in our country there were no problems we would have never left our homeland. So we choose a difficult journey. The journey to Europe is like gambling with life. Finally, I would like to ask all the countries to welcome the refugees fleeing to Europe either Afghans or Syrians.
    Sincerely.

  • Two migrant Afghani families camped in the big park next to the Bus station in Belgrade on September the 13th, 2015. The bus station and the surrounding area host thousands of migrants in improvised shelters and tents provided by local NGOs. For many, stop-overs are necessary to collect cash sent in by friends or relatives through the money transfer agencies. The photographer asked the subjects to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message in Farsi he left on the diary translates as follows:
    I am Mohammad Yazdani from MeydanWardak Jaliz province. I left Iran for Europe alone. After 21 hours walk through the Iranian mountains police stopped us, beaten us, they reproached us of being Afghans. They slapped us and kept us with no food for three days. For these kind of mistreatments we couldn't stay in Iran anymore. For the lack of security and for the war I left for Europe again, this time I succeeded, crossing the borders of Iran, Turkey, Greece and Macedonia and now I am here in Serbia. I hope I can get to Sweden.

  • A young Afghan migrant camped in the bushes near an abandoned brick factory, in Subotica, Serbia on September 14th, 2015. Thousands of migrants are sheltering in the area to eventually attempt the border crossing through the fields. The photographer asked the subject to operate a remote control in order to take a self portrait. Subjects were subsequently invited to write a message on a diary to describe their journey or to make any sort of personal consideration. The background scene is the place were every subject was met.

    The message left on the photographer's scrapbook is only a simple doodle, since the subject is illiterate.


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