A Hard Serbian Winter

PhotographerKristof Vadino
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountryBrussels, Belgium
Photo DateJanuary 2017
Entry Description

In January up to 2000 refugees survived in bitter cold in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. With temperatures dropping minus 20°C they stayed behind the main train station in open warehouses and shacks. Minors, some as young as ten, slept in small rooms and abandonned train wagons. The polluted air from the fires made many sick. Some had frostbites and lung diseases. Belgrade became a permanent residence for refugees as Hungary and Croatia's borders aresealed with fences and border patrols. Hungary only investigates 10 asylum claims a day, prioritizing Syrians and families. Male refugees from wartorn countries wait an indefinite time. Many who try to cross the borders at night are beaten up and bitten by police dogs, and pushed back into Serbia. Most came from regions where the Taliban or IS are in power or operating.

About Photographer

I am a freelance photojournalist, working for Belgian and international media. Publications include De Standaard, Le Monde, BBC, Elsevier and De Tijd among others. I also work for NGO's, mostly for Doctors of the World. In 2016 I was Lensculture Emerging Photographer, Life Framer winner, received the Nikon Press Photographers Award in the categorie stories for a series about the refugee crisis in Europe. And I was nominated for the Rencontres d'Arles Festival Voies-Off and the Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Grant. In 2014-2016 I received three grants to work on longterm projects: Fund Pascal Decroos for reporting on the textile workers of Cambodia. Fund Filip Decock for documenting the eco-sustainibility of Tonle Sap Lake. And International Development Reporting Grant for documenting the role of wastepickers in recycling plastic into 3D filament. In my approach to the subject I try to be as intuïtive as possible. I live in Brussels, Belgium.