Espen Rasmussen writes: In 2012 with Dewi Lewis Publishing, I published my book TRANSIT, aseven-year-long journey around the world, documenting the lives of refugees and displaced people. I traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, to Syria and Yemen. I met people escaping violence and war in Colombia, Serbia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad. And I followed Rahman, a young boy living in Norway as an undocumented immigrant with no papers, for a period of two years.
The book is about survival: how human beings are able to adapt and cope in surroundings that for most of us are impossible to live in. I spent most of the time talking to people, interviewing them, and documenting their everyday life as refugees and displaced people.
Displacement is not a sudden catastrophe. It is a tragedy that takes place day after day, year after year. I met 20-year-old Mustafa Rashid Hassan from Somalia, who swam for his life from a boat in the Gulf of Aden while 40 other people drowned around him. I encountered 25-year-old Hategekimana Zabayo from DR Congo, who was so starved and hungry that he opted to return to the village that he had fled to look for food. Rebels were lurking in the banana grove, attacking him with machetes as he ran for his life back through the jungle.
In this edition of VII Interactive Book Club, I’ll take you through the process of documenting refugees and displaced people around the world. I’ll discuss how this project started as a single story, developed into a long-term project, and ended up as a book. I’ll also talk about the editing process of the TRANSIT book and the work leading up to a major exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.
Note: Espen is still working on TRANSIT, continuing to document refugees and displaced people.
More of the TRANSIT project on www.espenrasmussen.com