28/01/2016 1:09 AM AEDT | Updated 28/01/2016 1:09 AM AEDT

These Photos Show Another Face Of The Refugee Crisis

The refugee children whose smiles show immense strength amidst adversity.

Frederic Seguin
Skala Sikamineas, Lesbos Island, Greece

Images of refugees making the dangerous journey to Europe have filled news pages in recent months.

Often, these images are heart-breaking -- showing men, women and children who have braved death in the Aegean Sea, survived in squalid camps or marched for days through European countries often reluctant to let them in.

One Canadian photographer who went to cover refugees’ passage through Europe decided to show another face of the crisis -- resilience amidst adversity.

Frederic Seguin, 26, captured portraits of children in moments of joy as he traveled along the migrant route, from the refugee camps of Lebanon, through the shores of Greece, to the transit camps in Macedonia and finally to Germany -- many refugees’ desired destination.

“The dramatic and tragic pictures we always see tend to ‘dehumanize’ the refugees,” Seguin told The WorldPost by email. “Someone strong and smiling in the same tragic situation is a thousand times more powerful and touching.”

“Kids most of the time will be asking for pictures and will react with a smile to the camera,” Seguin said.

More than a million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe last year, most fleeing war-torn Syria. One in five of those who fled via the Mediterranean Sea last year were children.

Despite the dangers of making the sea crossing at winter, and tightening borders in Europe, migrants and refugees continue to arrive in record numbers. Over 45,000 people reached Greece by boat last month, more than 30 times the number in January last year.

See Seguin’s photo series ‘Smiles in Exile’ below and visit his website to learn more about the project. All captions are by the photographer and have been lightly edited.

  • Frederic Seguin
    Gevgelija transit camp, Macedonia (FYROM)

    "Tragedy and drama have so far been the images of the refugee crisis. When I went out there to document the situation I knew there would be more to it and I was not disappointed."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Syrian boy in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

    "This smile broke my heart and always will. I know that whatever happens in my life, if he can smile, I also should."
  • Frederic Seguin
    UNICEF tent in Geveglija, Macedonia (FYROM)

    "With a smile like this, it'€™s easy to see that this Syrian child knew perfectly how precious a pencil can be."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Skala Sikamineas, Lesbos, Greece

    "Palia had so much fun trying to make soap bubbles and I must admit I put the camera down to make some bubbles myself."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Moria, Lesbos Island, Greece

    "All he had left was this cookie and his smile. He offered both to me."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Lesbos Island, Greece

    "I try to imagine how hard it would be to bring the most precious person in your life on such a dangerous journey. What an immense relief it must be to watch the sunset over the beach after such a perilous moment is over."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Tabanovce, Macedonia (FYROM)

    "We don'€™t find a child smiling and playing to be something unusual in our lives. It should not be unusual for them either."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Gevgelija, Macedonia (FYROM)

    "A brave little man walking with his family from the Greek border of Idomeni to Macedonia takes time to wave and smile at the lucky photographer."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

    "'Sawarini, sawarini, sawarini' (take a picture of me) are€ the Arabic words I have heard most often in the refugee camps in Lebanon."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Lesbos Island, Greece

    "When refugees arrive on the island, wet and disoriented, they have nowhere to go and no dry clothes at the ready. These thermal blankets provided by volunteers have saved countless lives on the island and are still in high demand."
  • Frederic Seguin
    Moria, Lesbos Island, Greece

    "This boy had not given up on hope and his eyes were still shining and his smile radiating. There is always a way to smile, always."

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