I have a new project. Can you help?

I have been developing the idea for this project since I was in Syria last year to photo-document that terrible conflict as well as spending time in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. What impressed me the most was the warmth of the people despite all the terrible hardship they are suffering.

I need your help

Syrian child in Zaatari refugee camp.                      “I need your help”

Millions of Syrians are now refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and they have very little international support. Because of the circumstances they have to find ways of supporting themselves and their families. They are doing this by trying to find work but there also are quite a few who have started small businesses. Syrians are extremely resourceful, they have to be. This project is about telling the stories of these people as they find ways to rebuild their lives in a foreign country. I have kept many of my contacts with Syrians in Jordan. The plan is to follow up on them as well as meet new Syrians to see how their lives have changed in the last year. The objective is to show that although they are refugees they are no different to you and me, they desire security, a home, education and a job. Refugees are often portrayed in the media as pathetic creatures living in the dirt, I want to show their humanity as they work to rebuild their lives.

The project’s ultimate goal is to publish a book which tells the individual stories of those I will meet, interview and photograph as they go about rebuilding their lives. There will also be exhibitions in Europe and the USA as a continuation of the book and exhibitions I have already produced from my time in Syria last year.

I will also donate 20% of the profit from sales of the book and any photographic works to buy medicines for Syrian refugees. Many cannot afford the medicines they need, particularly for the children, this project will be of direct benefit to those who need help.

I now have a crowdfunding project at Indiegogo.com to help me complete what I feel to be an important project which will give a voice to many who can show the humanity of a people in a difficult situation. Please go to my project at Indeigogo and have a look and watch the video. With your help we can give a voice to those who have lost and suffered to much and really draw attention on an international scale to a people who simply want to live quietly with their families.

Even if you can’t help directly but you still believe in helping your fellow human beings then please share this appeal with as many people as possible. Anything you do is very much appreciated, thank you.

Oxford University, Refugee Studies Centre

Thanks to my curator, Professor Johanna Fassl, they have asked to have an exhibition of my Syria photography as part of an international conference

RSC Conference: Refugee Voices – Refugee Studies Centre

The morning after the night before.

Yesterday evening I had the vernissage for my exhibition; Syria: Facing the revolution, which is curated by Professor Johanna Fassl.

Syria: Facing the revolution.It was an interesting evening that generated a lot of conversation. Mustafa, who I travelled with to Syria, flew in specifically for the show. As a result of my work, I have been invited to take my exhibition to Oxford University in March, a representative of the university was at the show and said they would very much like to have me and my work at a big international conference on the worldwide refugee situation. Watch this space.

New exhibition

Syria: Facing the revolution.Opening of my exhibition on 15th November 2013. Syria: Facing the revolution: It features select photographs by UK born photographer Russell Chapman who travelled to the Middle East in the spring of 2013, documenting the revolution and its impact on human life in Syria and in the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. For Chapman, “Photography does not mean to freeze what you just saw but more what you just felt. When we venture into our past, our memories are not like a continuous film that runs on in our head but more like images, in which we recognize forms that touch all of our senses.”

The exhibition is curated by Professor Johanna Fassl, faculty member at Franklin College Switzerland and director of Columbia University in Venice,


The children of Zaatari

I have now been to Zaatari refugee camp for Syrians in Jordan a couple of times. While the majority of the children seem to be quite happy and playful there are some who are very much traumatized. Quite often, kids will run away when a camera is pointed at them because they think you are going to shoot them, the look of fear on their faces is so strong.

Something else quite shocking I discovered in the camp is that the supply of food is so limited that families are forced to sell the baby milk powder they are given by relief agencies just so that they can have enough money to buy bread for their families, the babies must then eat solid food but it is the only way these families can survive.

Too much fear

Documenting Syria

I have spent a month in Syria looking at the war in order to understand why this war is happening. At the moment I am in the process of writing about my experience. I had the opportunity to talk to many people from political, military and humanitarian wings of the new Syrian opposition. My intention is to give as clear a description of what I found as possible. With that, I also took many photos of what I saw and they form a chronological record of my time in this fascinating country. After two years of war I find the people very resilient and resourceful. What really amazed me was the children, how they deal with the war really encapsulates the spirit and determination of this people.

I will be making exhibitions of my pictures from Syria that form a narrative to the human side of what is a very difficult situation for so many people. Here in this post are a very small number of images that give a taste of what I have done. Click on the link to see information about my photo documentary book Syria: Refugees and Rebels

Update August 2014. I am now planning to work on a new project with Syrian refugees in Jordan and I could use your help. You can see more about it in my article here Syrian refugees: Rebuilding their future

Children in the Bab Al Salam refugee camp

The first major battle win by the FSA

Azaz, graveyard of the tanks. The first major battle win by the FSA

This boy was injured by shrapnel. His father is rushing him to a field hospital

This boy was injured by shrapnel. His father is rushing him to a field hospital

I was across the road when a cannon shell hit this apartment building. Fortunately nobody was hurt

I was across the road when a cannon shell hit this apartment building. Fortunately nobody was hurt

FSA fighters. Front-line Aleppo

I had to get into a sniper position to get this photo. Was by far my riskiest shot

I had to get into a sniper position to get this photo. Was by far my riskiest shot

They have no international help. They build shelters with what they can find

They have no international help. They build shelters with what they can find