The sun is sinking into the ocean in a postcard-perfect view, a watermelon is being sliced up on the beach, and a gold blanket glitters in the summer heat. Yet Michael Danner’s photographs subvert our expectations and counter our clichés of a sojourn on the Mediterranean. Almost imperceptibly, they displace our automatic associations of idyllic vacations and show the threat of a humanitarian catastrophe. Twenty-first century refugees experience the settings of our vacation fantasies on the coasts of Greece, Morocco,
or Tunisia as a confrontation with danger, ruin, and death. Danner’s long-term project (2008–17) with the apparently provocative title Migration as Avant-Garde is an alternative approach to classic photojournalism. Instead of simply informing or deliberately shocking his audience, Michael Danner (b. 1967) creates a visual dialogue about one of humankind’s oldest actions: moving from one place to another.