Greek documentary photographer Angelos Tzortzinis, won third prize in the World Press Photo ‘Long-Term Projects’ category for his series titled “Trapped in Greece”.
The photographer has been working on migration issues for eight years.
This project—shot on Samos and Lesbos, and in refugee camps around Greece—aims to explore human and social adaptability.
Below are two of his images:
A young refugee gazes over a border fence separating Greece from Macedonia, at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni
Tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty-stricken homelands have become stranded in Greece since the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2016. According to a UNHCR report in March 2016, more than one million people, mostly refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, had crossed into Greece since the start of 2015.
As Balkan and European countries north of Greece began closing their borders to incoming migrants, more than 90,000 people were left trapped in Greece, in camps or on the streets.
Moria Reception and Identification Center on the island of Lesbos, in the eastern Aegean, was the largest refugee camp in Europe, until it burned down in a fire in September 2020.
By the summer of 2020, approximately 20,000 people were living in a camp built to accommodate 3,000. Residents complained of rain, cold, illness, lack of food and safety, unsanitary toilets, and water shortages. The fire, which broke out on 9 September, almost completely destroyed the camp. The Greek government said that the fires were started deliberately by migrants protesting that the camp had been put in lockdown as the result of a COVID-19 outbreak.
On the nearby island of Samos, at the end of 2019, almost 8,000 refugees were living on a former military base that had been built to hold 650. Islanders held regular protests demanding the transfer of facilities to the mainland, and camp residents protested against their living conditions.
On 2 November 2020, fire broke out in the camp, two days after the island was struck by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Between 100 and 150 people lost their homes.
World Press Photo
Judges looked at 74,470 photographs by 4,315 photographers before selecting winners in eight categories including general news, sports, the environment and portraits.
The World Press Photo of the Year went to Danish photographer Mads Nissen’s image of a 85-year-old Brazilian woman getting her first embrace in five months from a nurse through a transparent “hug curtain”.
Angelos Tzortzinis is a Greek documentary photographer based in Athens.
He graduated from the Leica Academy of Creative Photography in Athens and has been recognized with awards from Time Magazine (Wire Photographer of the Year), Picture of the Year International (POYi), Magnum Foundation, UNICEF, Sony and Visa Pour l’Image.
Tzortzinis has worked as a freelancer in Athens since 2007 and is a regular contributor to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He has covered the Arab Spring in Egypt and Libya, the revolution in Ukraine, the Haiti earthquake, and has been documenting the lives of refugees and migrants in Greece, as well as the country’s economic crisis, for more than a decade.