Filmed in Skopje, Macedonia, and the refugee camps at Stenkovec and Chegrane, during the Kosovo conflict of May 1999, ‘How to Make a Refugee’ bears witness to the process of photographing refugees for a news report, presenting a behind-the-scenes look, which comments on the construction of identity. Collins’s camera notices details that we do not normally see such as taking light-level readings. The news photographer and crew discuss the clothes one of the subjects is wearing, deciding whether he looks better with or without his baseball cap. We hear an interpreter translating instructions and questions from the crew; however, we learn very little information about the people in the film through this exchange, which is more concerned with arranging the families as a wedding photographer might, asking everyone to look at the lens. The subjects do not engage directly with Collins’s camera as he observes the events, but rather than a feeling of voyeurism there is a great sense of empathy in the piece.
|Credit Line||IMMA Collection: Purchase, 2004|
|Not on view|
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