“This is just a dream, but fortunately dreams do come true.”
Cyrus P., 15, Tehran, Iran
It’s a rainy November morning in Gaza and a truce has just been announced after 8 days of fighting. A young man stands in the rubbles of what is left of his home, destroyed in an airstrike just an hour before the war ended. His name is Ahmed, he is 18 years old, son of a fisherman. He wants to live in peace and go to college, but we are in the Gaza strip and dreams have their limits here, you often have the feeling of being caught up in a game where you always turn out the loser.
Make a Wish is a photo essay looking at the hopes and dreams of youth, aiming to create a testimony of our time. Most of the project has been shot in the Middle East and in situations linked to the Arab Spring revolution or in conflict zones where youth too often is derived of its right to be young.
The Arab Spring catapulted a taste of freedom in people across a region so long affected by dictators, Western foreign policies gone awry and poor social development. Spring turned to summer, fall and winter, months turned to years and the original revolution into something much different from the ideals of freedom shouted at squares across the region.
When I set out to work on this project, I did so with the assumption that youth is an age of infinite possibility when aspiration is not yet conditioned by experience. As the work evolved I began to understand until which extent aspirations are conditioned by the society in which we live and the circumstances under which we grow up.
Loulou d’Aki is a Swedish documentary photographer. She is interested in how human beings are affected by the society in which they live, the influence of borders and the idea of freedom. Alongside commissioned work, Lou focuses on various long term projects. Lou was a singer before she became a photographer. She speaks Swedish, English, Italian, French and gets by in German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Danish and Norwegian. Middle East based from 2010-2015, Loulou d’Aki is currently based in Athens, Greece and works around the world.