said the man hovering by the book-selling table. He was clearly at least half-way to having a laugh, or telling a good story. Something about the eyes and twinkling. Very Dumbledore-y in that way.
I was in the process of buying a book. Specifically, The Itinerary, during its release party on June 7. And the man was one of the creators of that book. His name was Milos Bicanski. Apparently his wife would have been there too, but she was busy accepting an award in Washington D.C.
Now I found this a funny thing to say. So I continued the conversation with him for a bit, and it was entertaining. Photojournalists are interesting people. He even told me a story. I’ll get to that later.
I talked to a number of the other creators of this collection of photojournalist accounts of the refugee crisis and the peoples going through the migrant pathways. Of the 11 contributors, I believe I talked to 6. I got my book signed by 3. And I got pictures of a couple.
It was a fun release party. They had the best mango juice, and also large quantities of free wine. And Mike and Theo were my American company. I felt like I was adulting.
The party was held in an art gallery (the Trii Art Hub) and we arrived late, catching only the end of the oral presentations. As part of our speaker schedule, our Northeastern class had actually already heard from Dimitrios Bouras and Nick Paleologos as well as Menelaos Myrillas.
Those of us from Northeastern stuck around and chatted for quite a while. It was pleasant. And the art of the exhibit was fun to appreciate.
When Dimitrios Bouras talked to our class a couple days before this party, he quite memorably called people out on their blogs. He quoted a question of mine in response to Olivia’s post about poverty tourism as well as the thoughts and errors of several other people. It was terrifying to think that people actually read these blogs.
This event is now in the past. But the book and its images are very much still relevant. The people that you see while flipping through its pages are just like you or me. But they’re often in situations which are far from ideal.
The refugee crisis is not over. People are still left bereft and option-less. People still see the hope that lies in Europe. They still leave their war-torn or (for whatever reason) unfriendly countries to seek out a better life. Now there are regulations and rules in place meant to control the flood, but the flow will not be stopping anytime soon.
This flow is made up of humans, not water. Every flood-gate that is put up, every barrier in place has an effect. The pressure is increased for those stuck behind the barrier and lives are lost. People hire smugglers to traffick them to refuge. Some of them are reliable, and others are not. Unaccompanied minors especially disappear into the sex trade, often to help pay their way.
These images are the faces and the footsteps of this crisis—this migrant phenomenon. The Itinerary is a book that is worth the buy, because you wouldn’t see these faces otherwise.
The story that Milos Bicanski told was one from his youth. When he was 12 or so, he stole a book and someone caught him. They saw him steal it and they stopped him, but then they let him go, with book in hand. The exact details escape me as I’m writing this account a week later. But what was important was his moral. It is not a crime to steal a book. One cannot steal knowledge. One can only learn.
It is not a crime to steal a book. Especially this one. I have it from one of the authors.
But I’m sure they would appreciate payment. Photojournalism isn’t exactly a lucrative field for most.