Aug 19 – 27 2017


A syrian refuges at the makeshift camp hosts some 14,000 people suffering from food and medicines ..Refugees are in Idomeni, which is the buffer zone between Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) while the border remains closed .03, Mar 2016


A sprawling makeshift camp hosts some 14,000 people suffering from food and medicines ..Refugees are in Idomeni, which is the buffer zone between Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) while the border remains closed .Greece 08, Mar 2016

Unprecedented numbers of migrants and asylum seekers traveled by land and sea to European shores in 2015-2017. According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 84 percent originate from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Iraq—all countries experiencing conflict, widespread violence and insecurity, or highly repressive governments. Even accounting for misrepresentations of nationality and the presence of migrants seeking to improve their lives, this should be understood broadly as a refugee’s crisis.

Leaving everything behind, fleeing the war, the violence, the destruction on the road of hope where they have to cross borders and borders without knowing where dose borders are ending, to find some sense of security – they have crossed mountains, rivers the cold of winter, As soonest they arrive in the European soil they have a s senses of relief but where the humiliation, misunderstanding start.

As the EU’s broken asylum system dose not works. A new humanitarian disaster situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention.

To highlight the situation I’ve started a journey into the matter of life and death, hopes and frustration to document lives of thousands families fleeing from war and unrest in their homeland, mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq toward Europe Union.

I was fifteen when I had left Kabul with my elder brother to escape war. It was the first time I left my parents.  I had never travelled. I was thrown into a space without any contours.

The experience of exile contains this formula: losing your bearings. This is what millions of refugees are living right now. I have met them along the way in the Balkans. Behind the camera, there was a photographer, flanked by a 15-year-old boy. One day, 35 years ago, this boy had become aware, unknowingly, of the meaning of these words:

Alone Together

Together Alone

Losing your bearings: when we use this expression, we think primarily of the social and emotional connections that weave our familiar space. When he loses them, the refugee experiences an inner conflict. But he is also creating the experience while losing his marks: he walks without knowing where north and south are, often without even knowing the country name, in a place that simultaneously expands and condenses to the extreme.

In the middle of the sea, it’s the loneliness that frightens, not the water. In the makeshift camps there’s never enough room to accommodate everyone. When six people are crammed into a two-person tent, they lose all notion of what their intimate sphere is, but they altogether. Along the road to exile you can feel at once tiny and enormous, insignificant and onerous.

Private space, familiar space, intimate space: when exiled, our sense of security is pushed into an abyss. For small children it is often easier to withstand because their parents give them a sense of what the living space is, even if they are on move. Adults, however, are constantly moving in an ever shifting direction while having to redesign their sense of security with bits and pieces.  This is why they remain together: a common language and rituals allows them to move on within a recognizable sphere, which in turn may give the impression of seeming indifferent to what surrounds them.   However, it is not indifference, but rather a survival reflex.

On their way the refugees cross an already occupied space: ours. Our space of security and intimacy, illegible and hostile towards them. Are we ready to share it, to make it familiar to them?

They don’t know. Nor do we.

Megan E. Doherty

Back of the Yards

Aug 19 – Sep 3 2017

Mirage Gallery




For the last four years, I’ve been documenting someone who advocates for the poor and works with gangs on the South and West Sides of Chicago.

Jim Fogarty, known affectionately as “Brother Jim,” wears a hand-sewn habit made out of scraps of denim, now tattered after over 30 years of use. That’s how long he’s been traversing the streets by foot, carrying only rosary beads to pass out – that, and offering prayers, and maybe a little hope.

His path across the city is broad, and the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the city’s South Side is my primary vantage point.

By now, the residents largely all know who he is, and often come running when they see him coming down the street, or call out from their windows, asking him to pray for them.  Once upon a time, he stood between warring gangs shooting at each other, bullets whizzing by, risking his life.

In this work, I undercut simplistic notions of documentary “objectivity” by implicating both myself and the audience in the images. The photos are visually and conceptually layered, capable of communicating multiple stories, depending on the experience of the viewer. The idea is transformation, not voyeurism, and since the success of visual activism depends, at least in part, on the receptivity of the viewer, the aesthetic of the images is designed to cultivate that receptivity. The lyricism and poetry of the photos is designed to serve as an invitation for the audience to enter into the space opened by the photos.

In an effort to neither whitewash nor sensationalize, I’ve taken care to attend to all those moments that, while difficult or simply mundane and easy to ignore, are also sublimely beautiful.



Megan E. Doherty (b. 1981) is a documentary photographer living in Chicago, IL, USA. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2010.