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Hello.

I am an international travel and documentary photographer, driven by the desire to tell the stories of the people I meet and the places I visit through the photographs I capture, all over the world.

Courage

Courage

I first met Abdulazez in a desolate, miserable refugee camp in Northern Greece. I was there working on a documentary project, and he had introduced himself after hearing my broad English accent.

"Are you a journalist?" - he asked.

"No, no" - I replied, well aware that journalists were looked upon with more than a degree of mistrust within the camps.

"It's ok, I don't mind if you are a journalist. I just want to practice my English".

And so started an unlikely friendship.

As we made our way through the camps of Northern Greece, Abdulazez - who had quickly assumed the role of an unofficial translator - shared his experiences with me. He asked me to imagine life in his shoes. He had been happy in Syria. He had been studying to become a graphic designer and wanted nothing more than to follow his dream of becoming a digital artist. Instead, his family found themselves forced to flee the country they loved and making the treacherous journey to the safety of Europe.

And yet, despite the challenges he faced, he never seemed to lose his passion for life or his dreams for the future. Determined to make the best of every situation, he set about learning everything he could, from anyone he could. He taught himself English in less than a year. In less than two years, he was teaching English lessons to other refugees, explaining concepts of the language which would challenge many native speakers.

He has become a voice of the people, whose voices had been lost within the crisis. And his voice is strong. His open letter to Donald Trump, entitled "Dear Donald", was turned into a video by Al Jazeera, viewed by tens of millions of people around the world.

And his Through Refugee Eyes photography project has captured the experiences of the refugees in a way only someone who has walked in their shoes could do.

Today he has found the safety he seeks, in Belgium, where he is busy building a new life for himself. Within days of arriving, he bought his a book on the Flemish language and set about learning his second language in as many years.

It is that determination to simply get on with life, no matter what, which inspires me most about him. At just 19 years of age, he has already stood up to challenges most of us could never imagine. And he has done it with a smile on his face. It is a smile I have rarely seen him without. It was that smile which was the subject of one of the first things he ever said to me, something I will never forget:

"Just because we smile, it doesn't mean we aren't crying inside".

The world needs more people like Abdulazez, people who aren't afraid to smile and cry at exactly the same time.

Bád Eddie

Bád Eddie

Caught Short

Caught Short