In order to preserve the privileged vision of militaries and governments public satellite imagery is often intentionally degraded to a point where individual human beings are imperceptible on the face of the earth. As a result these photographs often appear to depict a world which is strangely devoid of human life, as if in the aftermath of an unknown disaster. In 2015 a real humanitarian crisis began to unfold in Europe, with refugees travelling to the continent in unprecedented numbers by land and sea.
While these refugees are themselves usually imperceptible on satellite maps, their passage from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa to safety in Central and Northern Europe leaves direct and indirect traces visible on the landscape, markers which attest to the vast scale of this exodus, and the efforts made to manage or prevent it. Some of these traces, like the queues at border crossings, might last only a few days, others like the temporary camps occupied by refugees working on Turkish farms might survive for months. Others still, like the new border fences being installed on frontiers in countries like Hungary and Macedonia, might yet become permanent features of the European landscape.
View the full series on The Borderland micro-site.