I have been interested in the refugee problem for a while. I’m Italian, so my country has a long and ongoing tradition with [migration]. Millions [of Italians] have been and are looking for a better life somewhere in the world and sometime they find it; most of the time they do not. That’s why I feel sympathetic with anybody seeking a different future.”

The three days I spent at Nickelsdorf on the Hungarian Austrian border made me think. What would I do in a situation like this? How would I behave? Would I carry suitcases, bags and clothes or I would just travel light like many of them do, picking up a blanket or a pair of shoes at a Red Cross facility? Would I stock up food at the free canteen or would just hope to find another one [later on]?

[As I photographed them,] I couldn’t help lending my cell for a call “to my dad in Iraq” or to relatives in Belgium or in Vienna. I think that the hope for a better life that I saw in their eyes will more than repay the steep phone bill.

Olivier Laurent, TIME, October 8, 2015.