Wednesday, 6 January 2016


"I was on a beach in Kos waiting for the rafts to arrive ... then I saw an older lady on the beach with the flicker of a smile on her face. She looked very calm and comfortable. I stayed a few metres away and shot some frames as the morning sun illuminated her face. I decided to approach and offer her a small sweet – a gesture of Greek hospitality. I kneeled before her and held out the sweet, saying good morning in Arabic. She seemed lost, but her gentle face still had a beautiful smile. She reached upwards with her hand and then I realised she was blind. I was overwhelmed by emotion. We exchanged some pleasantries in English and Arabic then she took the sweet, gave me a warm handshake with both hands and thanked me. Her family was watching, some smiling, some with tears of joy running down their faces. This was one of my best mornings of the year."
Yannis Behrakis, Guardian photographer of the year 2015

Photograph: Amoun, 70, is a Palestinian refugee who lived in Aleppo, Syria. Here, she is resting on a beach after arriving from Turkey on a dinghy with 40 other refugees.

"The least challenging part of this year was taking pictures. The biggest struggle was the emotional involvement ... it was so sad to see the same thing again and again."
Yannis Behrakis

"The emotional impact of covering the refugee crisis is devastating. I have suffered from insomnia and nightmares, and felt guilty many times for not being able to do more. I have refugee blood myself – and I am a father."
Yannis Behrakis

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photograph by Yannis Behrakis via


  1. Thanks for the share!

  2. Blickt man auf die/den Einzelne/n wird die Tragödie aller sichtbar.

    1. ... die Tragödie wird durch den Blick auf einzelne Menschen auch weniger abstrakt. Vielen Dank, Anna!

  3. Replies
    1. Many thanks, Abbie. I find this photograph extremely beautiful.