Holding Hands Across Borders
This photo documentary is the result of a collaboration between Photographer Bas Niemans and Anthropologist Miranda Poeze. The project is based on Miranda's PhD research. Over the past five years she has researched Ghanaian migrant parents in The Netherlands whose children are living in Ghana. In her research, Miranda focused on how migration and often lengthy separations, shape the relationships between migrant parents and their children. This photo documentary offers an intimate insight into the lives of eight cross-border families and on the ways their family lives and migration projects are intertwined.
The aim of the photo project is twofold. First, it aims to capture how geographical separation shapes relationships between migrant parents and their stay behind children. Through photos and accompanying interviews we get to know the migrant parents in The Netherlands and their children in Ghana and the impact of separation on their relationships. We learn about the expectations of migration and decisions that parents (have to) make in their migration trajectories, the difficulties to maintain intimate relationships across borders and the importance of long-distance communications and face-to-face contact. The photo documentary explores the powerful mix of emotions that long-term separation and often-unfulfilled expectations trigger in these parents and their children after many years of separation, but also of love, hope and pride. Secondly, its larger aim is to shift the currently one-dimensional and polarized debate about migration by literally showing the faces and often selfless motivations behind it in both The Netherlands and Ghana.