Frédéric Noy, Photographer
A few weeks ago I went to Cameroon to photograph the arrival of Central African refugees fleeing the violence in their country. For me, this mission was special as I was returning to the place where I had gone for my first photo mission with UNHCR.
Taken during this mission, the photo that I have picked symbolises for me the plight of refugees. A Central African child sleeps on a mat, although visibly marked by hunger he still remains slender and graceful. This picture suggests to the viewers what words would have a hard time describing: the violence of the conflict in Central Africa, the exile, the willingness to live deeply ingrained in his vulnerable body.
This is not a sordid image. There is a feeling of serenity emanating from this child who has now reached safety, a feeling of human dignity, a feeling of hope in the future and a feeling of trust in those who don’t abandon refugees. This child is alive and is fighting for it. This picture is not about failure but represents the will to live.
I have shared the photo on social media without thinking it could have an impact other than to bear witness. I was very proud and happy to learn that this photo contributed to the UNHCR/WFP effort to increase funding for feeding the refugees along the Cameroon CAR border.
The representation of this child shows the tremendous impact of photography: to make a dark reality a hymn to life.
Born in 1965, Frédéric Noy is an independent photographer. His photos give a voice to the most vulnerable especially in Africa where he regularly works with UNHCR, UNICEF and other NGOs.