In August this year, when refugees began flowing into Budapest’s train stations, photographer Edd Carlile found himself documenting the thousands of men, women, and children arriving from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and elsewhere. The crisis transformed a project he’d started, illustrating the lives of the train station workers, into a series of photos that transfixed the public – photos that spread across the world from his Facebook page, Budapest Seen. CEU is hosting an exhibition of Carlile’s photos through November 2.
“Carlile treats his subjects with honor and dignity – uncommon with refugees,” said Prem Kumar Rajaram, associate professor at CEU’s Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, at the exhibition opening September 21. “These photos are an engagement with humanity as well as an invitation to engage with humanity.”
The series of photos not only portray the refugees, but also illustrate the work of hundreds of volunteers who gave their time and energy to collect and sort donations, prepare and distribute food, water, tents, and blankets, secure train tickets, give medical assistance, help care for babies and children, and provide information about the situation to the refugees, 24 hours a day, for weeks on end.
Carlile said he preferred to let his photos speak for him. After thanking his family for their patience during his long hours photographing the people and the developments at Keleti Station, he said simply, “With these photos I want to say thank you to the volunteers. Without them, this would really have been a human tragedy.”