The Center Of The World

The Center of the World is a photographic project that, by focusing on collaborative approaches, aspires to challenge the status quo in refugee representation. It aims to illuminate the stories of refugees as individuals with dreams, interests and aspirations, rather than faceless masses or victims.  

The media often depict refugees in a manner that perpetuates stereotypes. They are portrayed either as helpless or as threatening figures and such representations can marginalise them within society. As a photographer, I recognize the impact that images can have on shaping people’s perceptions. The way refugees are photographed can either reinforce these stereotypes or question them, and it is crucial to be mindful of this.

Imagine a photograph where every refugee has the opportunity to shape their portrait, while each chosen environment serves to redefine their conventional representation.
At the core of this project is the concept of ‘home’ where each refugee captures their interpretation of this universal sentiment, offering a window into their experiences. From here the decision to also offer self-descriptions that transcend their past challenges and hardships, providing insights into their identities and allowing for a more empowering narrative, one that celebrates each person.
They are not mere subjects, but active narrators, contributing to a rich tapestry that reflects the reality of their lives, a reality that is often hidden or distorted in mainstream media portrayals.

As I continue to develop this project, my aspiration for it is to provoke reflections on how these photographs offer a distinct perspective from the usual media depictions and to highlight that each of these individuals is more than their refugee status.
By sharing their stories, engaging in discussions, or supporting relevant organizations, everyone can contribute to reshaping the refugee narrative.


Saad fled Syria, forced to leave behind his father’s farm and his family.
His great passion is cooking. Currently, he is working as a Chef de Partie in a restaurant located in Amsterdam. Saad is determined to build a bright future for himself, and his top priorities include his family and work. He aspires to keep working as a chef and fulfil his dream of owning a French restaurant someday.


Olga escaped from Ukraine with her daughter. They live in the Netherlands now, where Olga has found work and feels safe. In her spare time, she has been creating beautiful paintings that each tell a unique story. These artworks not only help her process her emotions but also preserve the memories of her homeland.


Jasminka is originally from Bosnia, but she had to leave her home country due to the war. Currently, she lives and works in the Netherlands, where she has built a happy life for herself. Jasminka enjoys taking long walks, reading, cooking for her loved ones and spending some quality alone time. She is proud of having dual nationalities, having a little bit of Bosnia and the Netherlands feels like a blessing. 


Valeriia, along with her daughter Masha, moved to the Netherlands from Ukraine. She currently works for a Dutch company while her daughter goes to school. Valeriia has a deep appreciation for Dutch culture, people, and politics that support Ukraine and Ukrainians. She is also happy to earn money to help her country. Valeriia hopes that the war will end soon and she looks forward to forming local friendships.


Nour’s biggest passion is making and designing clothes. Currently, he works as a clothing maker alongside the designer Fares, who is teaching him the details of the craft.
After everything he has been through, Nour has learned the importance of what truly matters in life. Now, the most important things to him are his fiancé and family. Nour dreams of having his own house and a big family one day.


Viktoriia is a professional dancer and dance teacher from Ukraine. She moved to the Netherlands along with her mother and daughter. Dancing has been an essential part of her life since she was five years old. Currently, she resides in Haarlem and teaches dance to her fellow Ukrainians voluntarily. Nevertheless, her ultimate goal is to secure a job in her area of expertise.

Thank you to the Red Cross Netherlands. By connecting me with Jasminka, Saad, Nour and Olga they provided me with the support I needed to initiate The Center Of The World.

This project is still ongoing.
If you want to join it, that would mean a lot. Feel free to contact me.

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