Friday, August 26, 2016


Photographer Gabriel Hill‘s studio is located next to a building where refugees live. Gabriel decided he wanted to do something to help. For his ImPORTRAITS project Gabriel invited refugees into his studio where he photographed them with their most precious possession and wrote down their stories.

Vinasithamby, 64 fled from Sri Lanka, 1984
I had to abandon our home in Sri Lanka in 1984. I walked most of the way, but in order to get to Switzerland I took a boat, a plane and a train as well.
I wasn't able to take much with me besides the clothes I had on. Since I had to leave my family behind, these photos were the only things that were important to me, and luckily I could carry them on me. On the photos you can see my parents, my brother and my sister – who's now deceased.

Rohulla, 24 fled from Afghanistan, 2010
Five years ago I fled Afghanistan. When I left, I couldn't take anything with me except the clothes I was wearing.
I was very little when my father was killed, so I hardy have any memories of him. He always wore a golden necklace and after he died, my mother gave it to me.
I came to Switzerland by myself and this necklace is everything I have from my family and my homeland. It means the world to me – it makes me feel like I'm not alone, like my father is always with me.

Sejla, 33 fled from Bosnia, 1992
When I was a child, my father would often travel to Africa for work. One time when I was three, I had asked him to bring me back a real life monkey, but he brought me a stuffed bunny he had bought for me during a transit at Zurich Airport.
I took that bunny everywhere. When the war began, everything went so fast I could neither understand what was going on nor think about what I wanted to take with me when we fled. That's how I forgot my bunny when we left. My dad stayed behind, and I wrote him so many letters saying things like: "Did you find my bunny? I miss you!"
I can't describe how I felt when I saw my father again three years later, in 1995. My whole body was trembling when I saw his face at the Airport in Zurich – and saw that he was holding my bunny.


  1. Thank you very much for sharing my project! Spreading the word helps a lot!

  2. It's a wonderful project and I was pleased to post it.