The New York Times Lens blog profiles the work of Shannon Jensen, who visited South Sudan’s Blue Nile region to photograph an underreported refugee crisis. After making standard documentary images that garnered little interest from international publications, she tried to find a different visual approach to telling the story.
While looking at her images on her laptop she stopped at an image of three refugees carrying their shoes. She had “a gut feeling” that the shoes could be an effective way to tell the story. As refugees arrived she had noticed the state of their shoes, the care they took in repairing them and how much the refugees seemed to treasure them.
I think they started off as protection for their feet, but even when the shoes were so worn down that they weren’t comfortable to walk in, and seemed unrepairable, people were loath to discard one of the few things they owned.
She began photographing shoes. Hundreds of them.
This body of work is also among those featured in Moving Walls 21 by the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project, which is open free-of-charge to the public from January 29 to October 3 in New York City.
CAN YOU SEE ME? Adamou (age 10)
Central African Republic: Adamou Bouba sustained a machete injury when his home was attacked by an armed group. His father and an older brother were killed. To survive, Adamou fled with his mother and 13-year-old brother to the bush, where they remained for several weeks before joining other internally displaced people living in the Bossangoa camp. By mid-January 2014, some 886,000 people across the country remained uprooted by renewed violence.
Refugee families flee their homes empty-handed, forced to abandon their houses and leave everything — money, clothing, food — behind.
The Jezzine District in southern Lebanon is home to many newly-arrived Syrian refugee families, and last month we distributed essential items, like bedding and cooking supplies, to meet their basic needs and help them settle into their new surroundings. Watch the video to see how it’s done.
After a massive quake rattled vulnerable indigenous communities in Guatemala in late 2012, we immediately responded and spent the last year helping them rebuild stronger and prepare for future emergencies.
See more photos of how we empowered them with the tools they needed to withstand the next disaster.
Families who lost everything in Typhoon Haiyan are using cash assistance delivered via mobile phones to buy food, building materials, tools and supplies to restart their livelihoods. Read more.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, rebuilding homes and livelihoods is a top priority - but much of the population of the Philippines lacks access to a traditional brick-and-mortar banking system that could offer financial help.
We’ve been working to provide an innovative solution: mobile banking. Learn more about how we’re providing vulnerable families with the cash assistance they need to get back on their feet.
Photo: Cassandra Nelson
The conflict in South Sudan is forcing thousands of families to flee their homes and seek safety from marauding fighters each day. Despite threats and looting, our teams continue working in close coordination with partners to meet the urgent needs of those displaced.
At one of the makeshift camps at U.N. bases in the capital of Juba, we brought more supplies like blankets, soap and cooking tools to families last Thursday. See more photos.
Photos: Camille Lepage for Mercy Corps