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"I understand what it is to suffer from war," the 44-year-old said as he sipped tea with a family of Syrian refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. "But you know it's a blessing, because now I understand the people. I understand their stories more."

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Triple Amputee Giles Duley Photographs Captivating Images of Migrant Life

Triple amputee photographer Giles Duley doesn't let his injuries stop his passion of understanding people and telling their stories.

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Photographer Giles Duley believes there is a chance to make a difference with even one picture. The London native was working in Sangsar, Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine. He has endured more than 30 operations in the five years since.


Above: An overcrowded boat of refugees heads to the shore. Two men had fallen from the boat; they were rescued by volunteer Spanish Lifeguards in Lesvos on Oct. 28.

Photographer Giles Duley believes there is a chance to make a difference with even one picture. The London native was working in Sangsar, Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine. He has endured more than 30 operations in the five years since.

Duley draws on his survival to help reach and photograph refugees, whose lives and bodies have been ripped apart by war.

Above: An overcrowded boat of refugees heads to the shore. Two men had fallen from the boat; they were rescued by volunteer Spanish Lifeguards in Lesvos, Greece on Oct. 28, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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A father carries his two children from the boat after landing in Lesvos on Oct. 26.

A father carries his two children from the boat after landing in Lesvos on Oct. 26, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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The Greek Red Cross treats an Afghan refugee who is suffering from hypothermia in Lesvos, Greece on Oct. 29.  The boat had partially sunk, leaving the survivors in the water for nearly six hours. -

Understanding and then telling stories of other broken survivors is the focus of Duley's life, and led him to the Darwish's home -- a former sheep shed. He draws on his survival to help reach and photograph refugees, whose lives and bodies have also been ripped apart by war.

The Greek Red Cross treats an Afghan refugee who is suffering from hypothermia in Lesvos on Oct. 29, 2015. The boat had partially sunk, leaving the survivors in the water for nearly six hours.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Survivors struggle ashore after their boat ran into trouble in Lesvos on Oct. 28.

Survivors struggle ashore after their boat ran into trouble in Lesvos on Oct. 28, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Image: triple amputee photographer

On landing a woman collapses, the boat she had been on had been drifting at sea for hours, in Lesvos on Oct. 29, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Visiting the municipal dump near Molyvos gives a true scale of the crisis in Lesvos on Nov. 1.  A mountain of life jackets, each jacket represents a life and a story. Shockingly many of the life jackets, bought in Turkey, are fake.  -

Visiting the municipal dump near Molyvos gives a true scale of the crisis. A mountain of life jackets, each jacket represents a life and a story. Shockingly many of the life jackets, bought in Turkey, are fake.

The photo above was taken in Lesvos on Nov. 1, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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"I understand what it is to suffer from war," the 44-year-old said as he sipped tea with a family of Syrian refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. "But you know it's a blessing, because now I understand the people. I understand their stories more."

An Afghan mother holds her child moments after landing on the beach near Skala Sykaminia, on Oct. 26, 2015.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners are working to prevent family separations and create safe areas for women and children who are particularly vulnerable.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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A young boy tries to keep warm after a cold and wet crossing from Turkey. Cases of hypothermia are on the increase as the weather deteriorates across the eastern Mediterranean in Lesvos on Oct. 28.

A young boy tries to keep warm after a cold and wet crossing from Turkey, on Oct. 28, 2015.

Cases of hypothermia were on the increase as the weather deteriorated across the eastern Mediterranean during the time.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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An Afghan mother holds her child moments after landing on the beach near Skala Sykaminia on Lesvos, on Oct. 26.  UNHCR and its partners work to prevent family separations and create safe areas for women and children who are particularly vulnerable.

An Afghan family arrives on the beach, fear etched on their faces, following their journey across the Aegean Sea, on Oct. 26, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Struggling to find accommodation for the one million refugees and asylum seekers that have entered Germany in the past 12 months, the authorities have been using abandoned and vacant buildings across the country, such as the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 23.

Struggling to find accommodation for the one million refugees and asylum seekers that have entered Germany in the past 12 months, the authorities have been using abandoned and vacant buildings across the country, such as the one pictured above.

The photo was taken in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 23, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Residents of Nagu teach some of the refugees how to make traditional Finnish stick bread on an open fire on Dec. 29. For many local people, the arrival of the refugees has helped the whole community find a greater togetherness.  Take 40-year-old Ottour Musaitif, who fled Homs three years ago with her husband Ziad Darwish and eight children.

Residents of Nagu, Finland teach some of the refugees how to make the traditional Finnish stick bread on an open fire on Dec. 29, 2015.

For many local people, the arrival of the refugees has helped the whole community find a greater togetherness.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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"He understands us," Musaitif said as she cooked lunch and the photographer chatted with her children and husband. "Because we lost our lives, we lost our country, we lost our children, we lost our parents." She insisted the photographer share the family's meal of fried greens and flat bread.

Above: Brothers Mahdi and Amir-Abbas from Afghanistan at lunch with their Iraqi friend Mahood in Nagu on December 30.

Brothers Mahdi and Amir-Abbas from Afghanistan eat lunch together with their Iraqi friend Mahood in Nagu, Finland on Dec. 30, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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A refugee peers from a train in FYR Macedonia. I asked a young Syrian man why he had travelled to Europe when many of his friends and family had stayed. "It's simple." He replied, "I was the first to give up hope. I was the first to realize there is no more Syria," in FYR Macedonia on Nov. 28.

A refugee peers from a train in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Nov. 28, 2015.

Duley asked a young Syrian man why he had travelled to Europe when many of his friends and family had stayed. "It’s simple," he replied. "I was the first to give up hope. I was the first to realize there is no more Syria."

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Nighttime at the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia - Idomeni, Greece. Nov. 20.

Nighttime at the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni, on Nov. 30, 2015.

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"You're taking somebody out of the context and if you have somebody in a refugee camp you've immediately labelled them as a refugee," he said. "By doing portraits of them this way, it's about the person."

Above: Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish children play outside their hostel in Schonefeld, Berlin on Dec. 27.

Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish children play outside their hostel in Schonefeld, Germany on Dec. 27, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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When he raised his white sheet next to one of the camp's barber shops, the first in line to be photographed was Abdul Rahim, who lost his leg in a rocket attack three years ago. He now walks with a walking frame.

"Tell him in English ... that I respect him for his injuries," the 49-year-old told Duley through a translator. "He can ask me anything he wants."
Duley chatted with Rahim as he took the photograph, using his injured arm to help hold his camera.

Above: For many refugees it's hard to leave behind the memories of what they have witnessed and who they have left behind or lost. The Finnish Red Cross and volunteers try their hardest to engage them with activities and reinforce the knowledge that they are welcome in Nagu on Dec. 29.

For many refugees it's hard to leave behind the memories of what they have witnessed and who they have left behind or lost. The Finnish Red Cross and volunteers try their hardest to engage them with activities and reinforce the knowledge that they are welcome.

The picture above was taken in Nagu on Dec. 29, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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Duley chatted with Rahim as he took the photograph, using his injured arm to help hold his camera. Then he explained his theory that the best pictures are not "taken" but "given." "I feel like each one of those photographs has been a gift," Duley said. "He came up to me and he said, 'There's nobody else I would let take my photograph,' and then stood there and waited. And that for me is a photograph that's been given." 

Above:  Locals and 'guests' release a lantern on the shores of Nagu on Dec. 29.  "It?s better to light a candle than to curse darkness."

Locals and 'guests' release a lantern on the shores of Nagu on Dec. 29, 2015.

Giles Duley/UNHCR
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