Sebastian Rich, Photographer

Sebastian Rich, USA

Ghadeer Sabri, a 13 year-old Iraqi, being taught the history of the American flag by Mary Grandinetti of Catholic Charities in Louisville Kentucky, USA. Ghadeer lost her left arm in a bomb explosion in Baghdad that killed her aunt and wounded her mother and sisters. Photo by S. Rich/2013.


Over the years I have photographed the horror and the hell because I know that there is an appetite for it. How sad is that!

Recently UNHCR gave me the opportunity to photograph resettled refugees in the United States in Louisville, Kentucky, and Charlotte, North Carolina. And what an enormous pleasure it was – capturing new and exciting lives, people on the brink of discovery. Burmese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, Afghans, Somalis, Congolese, Iraqi and Pakistani … the list is almost endless, with the US taking in more than half of the world’s resettled refugees.

From the South Vietnamese pilot who now helps other refugees and has been in Kentucky for 30 years, to a recent arrival from Democratic Republic of the Congo who had been in Charlotte, North Carolina just weeks, neither subject was photographed in a dramatic setting. In fact, quite the opposite, mundane but new daily life rituals. The back-story behind the images of course is one of happiness found and an overwhelming sense of real freedom in their new home.

For me this assignment has been a journey that has completed a circle. To see the other side of the coin – hope realized and life given new meaning – lives without fear.


Acclaimed British photographer and cameraman Sebastian Rich has worked in current affairs for more than 30 years. After joining Independent Television News (ITN) in 1980, he covered some of the world’s biggest breaking stories. He later pursued a freelance career. Over the years he has also spent time focusing on humanitarian issues, and collaborates with the UN refugee agency in Africa and the United States.

1 family torn apart by war is too many

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