Fine Art Documentary Photographer Isabelle Pateer is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from her project ‘Room 26.10.12‘. To see Isabelle’s body of work click on any image.
During an assignment for the Belgian federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers (Fedasil) I met a young Serbian family, Shaban, Haria and their four children (who were all born in Belgium). They had come to Belgium in 1998 and were still awaiting decisive answers with regard to their visa when I met them in a Belgium refugee centre in 2008.
Especially Haria’s personality struck me very much. She seemed both so strong and confident and yet so fragile and naive. I felt somehow drawn to them and that’s how it started that I visited them again and again.
In this intimate series I wanted to focus on the personal turbulence of their uncertain family life within the confines of their 12 m² room (Room26.10.12), in which they squandered most of their time with useless pastimes and worrying about their future.
On a second level the series criticizes a failing Belgian asylum policy. For years on end no Belgian government had succeeded in establishing clear and functional immigration policies and regulations. By this period of time asylum centers were overcrowded and files were being treated without any urgency, causing people to live in asylum centers for years on end, with no progress. By 2010 the Belgian government even had to book hotel rooms to accommodate the ever growing number of asylum seekers.
In 2010 this family became regularized by a rule of the Belgian government to cope with the space restrictions in the Asylum centers and now try to build up their independent life.
By Isabelle Pateer