Henry & His Gift Shared

Susan Sontag once said "To collect photographs is to collect the world" and I agree. I feel lots of photographers would agree as well. We collect pockets of our world in the time we capture. We use our photos as words to show our world. To show the good, the bad, the ugly, and the pretty. We use photos to tell all sorts of stories and Henry Lohmeyer is no different. He wants to use his camera, his extended eye, to capture the world and share it. He wants to take a journey and explore the world. Well in this case one part. I will let you hear it from him. These are his words that follow, his journey, and his story. It is an amazing one and if you can please share, donate, follow along, but do not sit in the fragments of silence and do nothing!!










EDGE • FRANCE

It may have been fear’s screaming that we’ve been hearing, I believe it’s time for love’s whisper to be heard.

We all live with trepidation over an edge we perceive. Often this fear closes our eyes to those who, like us all, deserve to be seen. It’s our fear that is screaming and it’s our fear that enhances that edge and divides us all. In this fear, in this projected shame, we dehumanize others and we dehumanize ourselves.

If we can take a thoughtful moment and realize that we’re actually—all of us—trying to be seen, heard, and reminded of our own humanity; that in the end, we’re all tapping on the shoulders of the world, hoping to be seen.

When getting sober seven years ago, the mantra given to me by many was a tender and thoughtful, “Stay in the middle of the boat. Stay in the nest surrounded by those that protect, watch over you, holding space until you are ready for the fearful, rejection-laced world.”

But there came a time for me when that middle-of-the-boat sobriety was no longer enough, and what I really needed was far edgier than anyone ever advised upon. What I really needed was connection. I needed people to see me and love me just like this, mess and all… but more so, much more so, I needed to connect with people by seeing and honoring their cracked edges, their damaged parts, their harshness, and their will to rise, their will to become whole.

This is the Edge. It’s the place we move towards—away from the center of the boat. It’s where real connection happens. It’s vulnerable and it’s real. Although I’m a photographer, it’s not what I see that touches me, it’s how the moment makes me feel—how it reflects the Edge that so many of us live on. It’s there that we find the beauty in the brokenness, it’s there that we find our humanity, and it’s there that we find acceptance for ourselves and others. The Edge is where we’re hurting, it’s where we’re dying... we need to feel the edge—embrace the edge—it’s there that we can start to see the beauty in one another.

That’s why I’m doing this project, and that’s why I need your help.

Though a Kickstarter campaign, which so many have already graciously backed and supported, I’m creating a book called Edge • France where I’ll travel to France and chronicle the life of some of the 250,000 refugees—men, women and children, living day-to-day, displaced from their native homes in order to escape war and persecution. Whether in France or elsewhere, it’s my goal to bring visual awareness to what’s happening right now, without filter, without judgement. Your support will fund the travel and creation of this project.

While I cannot imagine the space they occupy, I have and will continue to lean into their stories, their brokenness and beauty. We all need a witness. And it’s my humble belief that this is where witnessing must begin, away from the middle, at the Edges.

WHY THERE?

Of the one million refugees arriving in Europe last year, just 10,000 ended up in the Jungle in Calais, 3,000 more at Dunkerque. In contrast 5,000 people arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos every day. In Lebanon a quarter of the population is made up of refugees. This is partly what makes Calais so terrible: it's where help could have been managed and provided, yet no one had a proper plan to sort it out—not the French, British nor the UN, leaving the heavy lifting to the larger aid agencies. No one was doing assessments to identify refugees who needed sanctuary or illegal travelers with safe homes to return to. No one was delivering asylum. No one was enforcing immigration rules. And, most urgently, of all, no one was making sure that vulnerable people–especially children–get basic humanitarian aid and protection to keep them safe.

They've begun dismantling the refugee camps of Calais, but history tells us that this is a chronic situation, and with France having no real plan, giving help and shelter to those in need will be difficult without a central location. My path might lead directly to Calias and Dunkerque (La Linière), or may lead to a broader area. I am committed to the finding and witnessing of those forced to live in such disperate conditions.
No where to stay and no where to go.



ACTION.


For five weeks, I will be photographing the refugees in France (Dunkerque, Calais area, Paris and other designated settlement areas), working both in the city’s communities and in the refugee camps themselves. I will be capturing their stories, their hearts; listening to their voices, and with the funds raised through this Kickstarter, showing their humanity to the world. There are over 250,000 refugees in France. It’s impossible to tell the entire story, but I believe that in the stories of a few we can relate to the trials of many who are living on the Edge.

My vision is to create awareness, compassion, understanding and support by exhibiting at galleries, submitting my body of work to magazines and online platforms, and ultimately to garner interest from book publishers, with a percentage of proceeds donated to the cause I have captured. Now, more than ever, we need to see and understand one another.


Link to Kickstarter…
http://kck.st/2dReHDW





Please consider donating and supporting Henry. He is part of our tribe and we are in this journey called life together. Help him be a story teller for these refugees. Stories will be told, eyes will be placed on these refugees, and Henry will collect the world. Thank you for following along on my journey on this blog, and thank you in advance for sharing Henry's story, for bringing injustices to life.


your story teller/poet

Debbie

xo

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