Lesbos

PhotographerKai Loeffelbein
PrizeGold in Press / Feature Story
Entry Description

The moment the refugees arrive at the shore is absolutely dramatic: the arrivals cry, scream, collapse, but also laugh and sing, take selfies and call their relatives. It is an emotionally overwhelming situation. How many boats arrive depends on weather, patrolling coastguards, the political situation and the smugglers' time schedules. Sometimes more than thousand refugees arrive, another day only a few boats reach the shore. When I visited Moira, a camp where the refugees have to register, I was shocked that this refugee- camp was run by almost no-one. The refugees are totally left to their own resources there. Moira which was set up in former army barracks reminds me at a grim prison. It was overcrowded and didn't provide any sleeping facilities. The sanitary situation was appalling. Some volunteers managed to provide food once a day but hunger was rife.

About Photographer

Kai Löffelbein, is a young freelance photographer from Germany (born 1981). After he studied political science in Berlin, he began his studies of “Photojournalism and Documentary Photography” in 2008 at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover. Since 2007, he has been working as a freelance photographer for different NGOs and several German newspapers. Kai Löffelbein traveled through various countries in South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. In doing so, the art of photography provided him with insights into completely different ways of life and living conditions. Meeting people who have to fight for survival on a daily basis raised his desire to grab his viewers’ attention and make them take action. His images furthermore show the effects of socio-political and economic processes on common people. Kai Löffelbein feels committed to Concerned Photography. “My images always take sides. Their aim is not only to draw people’s attention to various social grievances but also to make us realize our own responsibility in a globalized world”, says the photographer. “My aim is to treat people with respect and the utmost empathy without displaying poverty and suffering for the purpose of sensationalism. The human being in all its complexity is always at the heart of my work.” His photos were exhibited, for example, in Brussels, London and Moscow as well as several times in Germany.