Border Crossing: Refugees in Detention
Project info

This photographic series is based on the imprisonment and family separation of genuine refugees fleeing for their safety from wars, famine, oppression and brutality in their home countries.

The series of ten, portrait photographs captures the phases of emotional decline from hope to acquiescence as the refugees attempt to navigate themselves and their families through border control, internment, investigation, proof of identity, suspicion, rejection and finally, long-term imprisonment or detention. The phases of the emotions in this series are, in order:

Hope
Compliance
Realization
Disbelief
Outrage
Defiance
Supplication
Despair
Resignation
Acquiescence

Essentially the photographs are candid in the sense that they were not posed for the purpose of the series and the subjects were not directed by the photographer in any way. The photography took place during an outdoor, public, dance performance intended to raise awareness of the shameful practice of Australia’s border detention policy.

The photography was unplanned and carried out on the spur of the moment, in poor, ambient, artificial light. This series is the result of chance, of serendipity and of being in the right place at the right time to record talented dancers empathizing with other human being suffering brutal injustice.

Bernard Peasley