Portraits of Refugees Holding Their Most Precious Possessions

New York-based photographer Brian Sokol captures insightful portraits of Sudanese, Syrian, and Malian refugees who have unfortunately been forced to flee from their homes, grabbing what they could with them, in a series for the UN Refugee Agency called The Most Important Thing. The collection of black and white images present an eye-opening look into the lives of these people who have few possessions to call their own.

Sokol, who dedicates his time and efforts to documenting human rights issues, manages to encapsulate the devastating circumstances that these displaced people have been forced to endure while allowing viewers to reflect on their own good fortunes. Each individual in the series holds a precious possession, often a tool or container for survival or perhaps a token of spirituality, exemplifying their priorities and dire situations. Even the few that hold an accessory (like a watch), remind us that it is their one luxury item as they live in exile.

Brian Sokol website

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