Behind the scenes of ‘We All Have Dreams’

The background to where we were shooting.

After our latest video for the International Rescue Committee, ‘We all have Dreams’, was released on December 10th for Human Rights Day, I wanted to share some behind the scenes photos from our shoot in Greece.

The photos and video for the project were shot on a black background inside the Kara Tepe camp in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos. The idea of using a backdrop was to eliminate the context of a refugee camp, in order to show the viewer that the people being interviewed could be any one of us, anywhere in the world. Having to create a studio with a background and lights in a refugee camp proved to be a challenging task. We had to find a place that was relatively quiet for the video, and also where the changing sunlight wouldn’t affect our shots too much. We did the project over two days in two different locations in the camp with a small team – myself for photos, Matt Ford for video, Cathe Neukum the head of video at the IRC oversaw production, and Lucy Carrigan the IRC regional head of comms for the refugee crisis in Europe helped make the entire shoot happen. 

Everyone working at Kara Tepe was extremely helpful and gracious, which made our job much easier. Initially, the biggest challenge was finding people who wanted to be interviewed, but once they understood what we were doing, a lot of people decided to talk to us. After that, wrangling curious children so they wouldn’t walk onto the set while we were shooting proved to be a full time job!

One of the kids we interviewed, Nour El-Deen, from Aleppo, ended up hanging out a lot while we were working, and was intent on helping us. We loved having him around. He had lost his mom in Syria and was now trying to get to his dad who he had been separated from. We all took an instant liking to him, and showed him a little of how things worked on the set. I think he really appreciated the distraction, and we impressed by how quick he was to understand what we were doing.


It was a good shoot, and although we had some challenges, all the pieces quickly fell into place. Check out some of the places the video and photos have been:

  • Mashable
  • Time
  • Medium


Final Video


By Tara Todras-Whitehill

Tara worked as a staff photographer for the Associated Press for four years in the Middle East, covering the uprisings, revolutions and numerous elections in the Arab world. Her photography has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic and Washington Post, among many others. She also works on personal projects focused on women's issues. Her passion is trying to portray strong women changing their lives and the world around them.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.