From the Field

Life frames: Overcoming obstacles

Child leaping in the air with two children looking on in refugee settlement.

Written and photographed by World Vision photographer Laura Reinhardt

Nikon D750 camera

31mm lens, 1/200th at f/11, 250 ISO

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As a World Vision photographer, I often photograph people facing some of the most difficult times of their lives.

When I traveled to Lebanon to meet refugees from the Syrian civil war, I knew the people I’d meet would share tough stories — of loss, of hardship, and of sorrow. We strive to represent the reality that people around the world face. This includes their struggles, but we also always want to show people’s dignity and resilience in the face of hardship.

You can see it in their faces, in the set of their mouths, in the spark in their eyes, or through their actions.

World Vision’s work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley helped show me what that grit and determination look like. While there photographing our water work and early childhood education centers, I had the opportunity to apply a bit of my own determination to find the shot I wanted — people rising above the pain of their circumstances.

After a bus ride from the education center to the informal tent settlement, where some of the students live, I began photographing two boys jumping across a small puddle. They kept at it, so I did too.

My photography mentor, World Vision photographer Jon Warren, has always advised me not to give up on a shot when I feel I’m moving in the right direction. So I kept photographing the boys. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an older boy came flying through the air.

It was the shot I needed to communicate resilience in dire circumstances. It wasn’t planned, but I was there and hadn’t given up on the situation thanks to Jon’s good advice. That boy’s leap, which cleared the length of the puddle, seemed to say, “This situation won’t contain me. I will rise above it!”

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