Because the Syrian civil war is raging on the other side of the globe, most Nelsonites have primarily experienced the escalating crisis through photography. Whether it’s the picture of a drowned four-year-old lying dead on a Turkish beach resort or the one of desperate father Laith Majid fleeing with his lifejacket-clad child in his arms, these are images most of us won’t soon forget.
“We haven’t seen anything like this for decades and decades. I was spurred into action because of what an acute, intense, terrifying situation these people are in,” Nelson photographer Bobbi Barbarich told the Star. “We have to try to help somehow and I felt compelled to help this cause because those pictures really spoke to me.”
That’s why Barbarich has decided to donate the proceeds of her family portrait work to Kootenay Refugee Coalition until Dec. 31. In her head, she’s fighting fire with fire — or photos with photos.
“I was inspired by seeing all these families, and that connection makes me think of my own family and our families around here. Getting photos done is an annual tradition, and it’s never felt so important to support families and demonstrate what a Canadian family looks like.”
She believes the images will demonstrate Canadian values, and show refugees the life they can look forward to once they reach refuge on our soil.
“This is something we would normally do — so we’re still being who we normally are, but now we get a chance to help someone at the same time.”