© Nina Berman | NOOR
Located 12km from the Syrian border, Za’atari, opened with a few hundred refugees in July 2012, and now hosts around 100,000, making it the second largest refugee camp in the world.
One of the many challenges that residents of Za’atari face is the lack of any physical evidence of memory. In most cases refugees arrive at Za’atari, with just the clothes on their back, leaving behind photographs of family and loved ones.
The NOOR photographers, supported by UNHCR and Japan Emergency NGO (JEN), turned a large tent into a photo booth where refugees could come and have their portraits made. Refugees were asked to bring an object they cherished, and if they didn’t have anything, to bring a person that they loved. One boy came wrapped in his blanket. A man brought his shisha. A mother posed with her five children. In all around 300 portraits were printed on the spot and given to people to keep.
The NOOR photographers also documented daily life in the camp. These images and some from the photo booth will be made into large outdoor prints and installed on the 300 meter barbed wire T-Walls that surround the entrance to the camp with the aim to to provide refugees inside Za’atari with a way to reflect on their own situation, as well as draw attention to the Syrian refugee crisis.