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Refugees take a selfie after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

by Maria Sofou

Photographer Patrick Witty visited Lesbos island in Greece, an island that has become a stop for thousands of refugees before continuing their journey to Europe, and captured photographs of them and their smartphones. For all those people that everyday flee war-torn territory, arriving safe on the coasts of Europe is the first step towards hope for a better life – and for some their smartphone is their only belonging.

For almost all, technology is not only helpful for providing the way to communicate with their loved ones back home but for another reason also: taking photographs of themselves in every stop they make, gives them the chance to document their journey to Europe. Apart from sending them to their friends and relatives as a way to make sure that they’re ok, these photographs are their own, personal journal of what they had to overcome to save their lives from war.

“On the coast of Lesbos, Greece, the moment refugees land safely ashore, smartphones appear and the taking of selfies begins. “We want memories from the bad trip we had,” says Mehar Ahmed Aloussi, 30, from Damascus. “When I go and settle down in another country, I want to remember my way.”

See Patrick Witty’s photographs:

Refugees take photos and send messages on their cellphones after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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Refugees take photos on their cellphones after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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Refugees take photos on their cellphones after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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Refugees take a selfie after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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Refugees take a selfie after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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Refugees take photos on their cellphones after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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A cellphone protected by plastic. Lesbos, Greece.

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Refugees take a selfie after arriving on the island of Lesbos in Greece.

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