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At The Gate: Portraits Of Refugees Who Risked Their Lives To Cross The Aegean

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    To photographer Elliot Ross, the refugee crisis is "one of the defining human events of this century." His photo series, At the Gate, features striking portraits of those fleeing violence and war, taken at camps in the Greek islands and Athens. Ross' goal is that viewers of the photo series will come to see those escaping as humans, rather than just as "refugees."

    The "gate" is the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece, the corridor for tens of thousands of refugees, and where hundreds of people have drowned trying to reach Europe. Ross photographed refugees of all ages, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds to convey the sentiment that no refugee is the same.

    Ross, who is based in New York City, worked with Magna Carta, a New York-based design company, on the project, which will also include a Vimeo documentary. The At the Gate photo series was released on Ross's Instagram account, @elliotstudio, and he will also release the project's second chapter on the photo-sharing platform.

    "One of the stories that I had been following obsessively was the Arab Spring, and then the outbreak of the Syrian civil war almost five years ago," Ross told Refinery29. "As the atrocities escalated, people began to move­, fleeing Assad's war crimes and the ensuing crossfire between Syrian factions, Kurdish forces, Daesh, and Western airstrikes. Over time, I became less interested in the war itself and further drawn towards the conditions that the civilians were forced to endure."

    Ross used instant film to give the images the feeling of family artifacts. Click ahead to see photographs from At the Gate — of refugees moving toward Europe in the hopes of better lives — along with commentary from Ross about the project.

    Editor's note: Some of the subjects photographed either declined to give their names or asked that their names not be shared.


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