Cover of the Month

Crossing the Mediterranean

In his project, “Escaping Death: Syrian Refugees,” German photographer Felix Kleymann documented the current refugee crisis, having posed as a refugee himself in order to be smuggled to Europe in a rubber dinghy. His journey started in northern Iraq, where he documented life in refugee camps. Many displaced people there were receiving shelter, but still hoped to return to Syria one day. From there he went to the refugee camps in southern Turkey, bordering Syria. This is where many began journeys to escape war and famine in Syria and find a new life in Europe.

To get the truest angle on their hardships, Felix rode with refugees crossing the Mediterranean in a rubber dingy. Unfit for the 15km trip, across frequently rough waters, from Turkey’s west coast to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios, the boats would not have met any humane standard. There were not enough lifejackets for everyone. Through interviews he conducted along the smuggling chain, Felix learned not every refugee made it to the other side

After crossing into Greece, Kleymann followed a group through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and finally, to Germany. The boat they had taken was fortunate to survive the weather, but the journey thereafter showed Felix it was hardly the only time they would need luck to survive inhumane conditions in a flight from desperation.