I started photographing the odyssey of refugees coming to Europe in the summer of 2015. People fleeing from war and bad economic situations in their home countries attempt the journey in a myriad of ways—many of them travel to the Greek islands, eventually find their way to the mainland, and then journey through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia before making their way into Europe.

These people are not treated well en route. Europe (and the rest of the international community) has not organized this journey in a human way, and the resulting circumstances leave many refugees desperate. They are often disorientated and sick. Some even lose their lives.

I wanted to show the struggle of the refugees on this route—their boredom, but also their fear. They dance and make friends, but their lives are often on hold for months. Sometimes these extremes occur in the same day. This series explores that strange dichotomy.

—Kristof Vadino

Editors’ Note: This project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2016—don’t miss the work from all 50 of these outstanding, international talents!

If you’re interested in seeing more work on this topic, we’d encourage you to check out one of these related articles: Saints, a striking black-and-white series about the refugees living in Athens, Greece; Mauricio Lima’s award-winning documentary project about two brothers from Syria seeking asylum in Sweden; and Stranded Lives, compelling portraits from an Iraqi refugee camp.