The Budapest Seen exhibition in Prague was composed by a selection of photos by Edd Carlile, a Scottish photographer based in Budapest. In late Spring 2015 Carlile started documenting the lives of workers and passengers at Budapest’s Keleti train station, his objective however quickly changed when the station suddenly became home to thousands of people who made it to Budapest via Balkan route, yet Hungarian authorities did not allow them to continue in their journey. Carlile went to station several times a day, and published photos of moments from the station. A number of his photos were posted on his Facebook page ‘Budapest Seen’. He shared stories of refugees but also of Hungarian volunteers providing services to refugees and migrants. Carlile’s first-hand photographic testimony accompanied by short stories enabled thousands of Facebook users to witness what was happening in one EU member state in the year 2015.
By making a selection of photos available for offline audiences the V4 Revue together with its partners, the Young Citizens and Otevřená Společnost aimed at contributing to a more humane dimension of the debate on refugee crisis. The exhibition was launched October 17, 2015 in Prague’s DOX – Centre for contemporary art, at the occasion of Barcamp held by Otevřená Společnost. On Sunday October 18 the exhibition moved to Masarykovo nadrazi, a train station in central Prague, where it stayed untill the end of October 2015.
A word from the author:
My name is Edd Carlile, I’m a Scottish photographer based in Budapest, Hungary.
During the late spring and early summer of 2015,I began a photographic essay of Keleti train station, photographically documenting the people who work there and those that transit through. I would go to the station three or four times a week, spending several hours there at a time.
As I began my project at the station, an exodus of refugees had already begun to flee their war torn homelands of Syria and Afghanistan moving inexorably through the Balkans to arrive in Hungary, then Budapest, filling the train station in their many thousands. Ultimately, my original project was subverted and then totally swept aside by the events of the refugee crisis that came to Hungary.
My photography shifted focus to document another period in the long history of Keleti train station, a place that had already witnessed a forced exodus of Hungarian Jewry during the second world war to the death camps of the west, now witness again to massive waves of humanity, lives changed and destroyed, fleeing, particularly and rather ironically, to Germany.
As the European political response to the growing refugee crisis became confused and contradictory, the refugees streaming in to Hungary found themselves increasingly demonized by media (images of refugee children were not to be broadcast on a national government controlled channel lest the population become sympathetic to their plight) and marginalized by domestic politics vying for popular support.
Photographing refugee families at the station, talking to the mothers and fathers, listening to their personal stories, I began more and more to be involved with the support networks of Hungarians from civil society who had come together to feed and clothe these people, to find medical services for them and to protect the children living and sleeping on the concrete of Keleti train station.
Budapest seen became a photographic diary of refugee images from Budapest, focused on the human crisis at Keleti train station, particularly its effect on the most vulnerable group. The children.
More on Budapest seen at Barcamp (in Czech)
Facebook event of Budapest seen at Masaryk train station in Prague