A Polaroid for a Refugee depicts points of transition in the lives of individual refugees. The Polaroid pictures reflect the inner strength and dignity maintained by refugees during their long and harrowing journeys. For every Polaroid Giovanna takes, she gives one to the refugee as a reminder of the moment, and on the back is a simple statement: “Wherever your destination may be – tell me when you feel you have reached a safe place.” This is a message of hope, which, sadly, for some may never be fulfilled.
Since October 2015, the photographer visited various locations including Preševo, Serbia, Lesvos Island, Athens, Idomeni and Chios Island where she volunteered with different associations and NGO. On all of these occasions, she had her Polaroid Land Camera with her – and it was during her first trip that the A Polaroid for a Refugee project was born. It is a very simple project based on the concept of giving – giving something back to the refugees, a moment of their life and journey captured forever. In fact, everyone Giovanna photographed has a Polaroid picture now.
The portraits she took are very similar to family pictures, conveying a relaxed and carefree attitude that only scratches the surface of the refugees’ lives. A Polaroid for a Refugee tries not to show the refugees as victims or heroes, or migrants to fear, but as humans, resilient, joyful individuals.
Giovanna Del Sarto is London-based Italian documentary photographer, currently undertaking a long term project, A Polaroid for a Refugee. APfaR has been exhibiting in U.K., France, Switzerland (winner of the Lugano Photo Festival Women Open Call), Georgia and Italy. A Limited Edition Hand embroidered series of digital reproduction APfaR Polaroid postcards are available at The Photographers Gallery, London. The profit goes to Action from Switzerland charity”s Athena Centre for Women on Chios Island. APfaR reached the final to second stage of People category at World Press Photo 2017 Publications and commissions include Amnesty International,National Geographic, Swiss Federal Commission on Immigration (FCM), The Guardian, L”Espresso, La Repubblica, NHS, Traces London,Huffingtonpost, TPI.