Home Front cover PHOTO ESSAYS About Letters Contact Products Back issues Shop Contributors LIFE FORCE
The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
December 2014 issue
Inside Za’atari Syria
A unique iPhone photography project from Save the Children with Syrian teenage refugees and Magnum's Michael Christopher Brown
Back to menu
If you looked at the phone of any teenager around the world, you’d probably find the same photos of friends and family, with maybe a few snaps of school or favourite clothes. By the end of your scroll you’d probably have a sense of that person’s life, their story, from their perspective. So imagine if you looked at the phone of a teenage Syrian refugee. Would their life look that different? Save the Children has released a unique collection of images taken by a group of ten girls and boys living in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. These young Syrian refugees worked with world-class Magnum photographer Michael Christopher Brown, who frequently takes stunning pictures using an iPhone. He guided them in their efforts to do the same. The pictures form a fresh, colourful and personal portrait of life in Za’atari. But in addition to offering us a window into life inside the camp, they show us that all teenagers have things in common, even though they might live drastically different lives. “This week was a very, very, very, amazing experience,” said 15-year-old Samar who took part in the project. “Michael gave us so many useful tips and taught us so many great things. “For me, ever since I was little my dream was to be a photographer and a very famous photojournalist who gets to go around the world and visit different places.  Sometimes, when I hold the camera up to take a picture of someone, I see things through the lens that can’t be seen in the naked eye – especially people’s emotions.” Inside Za’atari is part of an ongoing photography project taking place in the camp, which has had a profound impact on the children involved. By equipping them with new practical skills, providing them with a creative outlet and empowering them to tell their own stories, photography has become a source of confidence and self-esteem. It also provides a way to communicate, and that precious gift which years of living in uncertain and difficult conditions can erode: hope for the future. To see more of the images produced by the teenagers in this project, follow Inside Za’atari on Tumblr, which will continue to be updated over the course of the next year. To support Save the Children’s work in Jordan go to http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/save-syria-children   The phones used in this project were donated to Save the Children by Apple.
Khaled* takes close up photos using an iPhone. Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
Khaled* jumps over a sewage ditch that runs along the outskirts of the camp. Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
Syrian teenagers (left to right) - Samar*, Jana*, Nour* & Hiba* take part in a photography assingment. Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
Portrait of Salem*.  Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
Khaled* holds on to netting fabric in basketball court. Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
Teenage boys play inside basketball court (left to right) - Omar*, Ali*, Hisham*, Salem* & Khaled*. Photograph by: Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum/Save the Children
This photograph was taken by Khaled*, a 16 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Salem*, a 14 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Samar*, a 15 year old Syrian girl living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
Evening view from inside one of the small business shops in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. This photo was taken by Samar*, a 15 year old Syrian girl living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. There are two multi-activity centres in Zaâatari refugee camp, one for boys and one for girls. They were setup by Save the Children to provide a space for young people to engage in a wide array of activities, including fitness training, photography, art and non- formal education. Since opening over a year and a half ago, the Centres have become a second home to around 2,000 teenagers a month.  Not only are the centres providing the teenagers with an array of practical and life skills, it is also rebuilding their self- confidence.
Reflection of photographer Michael Christopher Brown in a shop window in Za'atari refugee camp. This photo was taken by Ali*, a 15 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Nour*, a 17 year old Syrian girl living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Hisham* a 18 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Hisham*, a 18 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Khaled*, a 16 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
This photograph was taken by Hisham*, a 18 year old Syrian boy living in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.