PDN Photo of the Day

Traveling the Road to Nowhere

Kakuma Refugee Camp, located in northwestern Kenya, was established by the United Nations in 1992. Today, there are more than 180,000 African refugees living there as a result of war or persecution on the continent. Photographer Marti Corn visits the camp two times a year to  document the Lost Boys of Sudan – young men who were displaced or orphaned during the Sudanese Civil War between 1983-2005 – who now live in Kakuma. Early one morning in 2016, Corn took a walk and stumbled upon a vantage point of the camp that completely captivated her. She’s been making photographs there ever since, resulting in the series “Road to Nowhere.”

The project is a departure from the intimate portraiture Corn forms in other bodies of work. While shooting “Road to Nowhere,” she was an anonymous observer, standing 30 feet away.

“Life in a refugee camp is anything but normal,” says Corn, yet the locals establish routines that provide a sense of structure. “They send their children to school,” she says, “they prepare traditional meals, they gather with friends and family to play chess, and to forget their problems but remember their lives in their home countries.”

Corn believes it’s misleading to suggest that refugee camps are a temporary housing solution. “The reality is that only .089% of all refugees will be resettled,” she adds.

“The cruel irony is that few take this road out,” says Corn, “my greatest challenge is to not lose my hope in humanity.”

-Sarah Stacke

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