Syrian teenagers work with top iPhone photographer to produce their own portrait of life in a refugee camp

Thursday 13 November 2014


Save the Children has launched a unique online gallery of images captured by Syrian refugee teenagers on mobile phones. The BBC launch is online now, under the following slideshow:

The iPhone photography project – facilitated by Michael Christopher Brown, a member of world-class Magnum Photos and renowned for his work using iPhones - paints a new and unique portrait of life in Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan.

The teenagers, working alongside Save the Children, have created a dedicated Tumblr feed for the project, which will continue to be updated over the next year to give a snapshot of life in the camp.

Brown spent a week at Za’atari in August, running workshops to teach the children - both girls and boys aged 14 to 18 – how to capture and process images on an iPhone. The teenagers selected had already been working with Save the Children, using photography to regain confidence, self-esteem and hope by allowing them to share their stories. The phones used in this project were donated to Save the Children by Apple.

“When you’re a foreign reporter, you tend to photograph camps like Za'atari in a certain way – from the perspective as an outsider,” said Brown. “So when I was given the opportunity to work with the kids who live here, I asked the group to show me their daily reality – a world that outsiders rarely get to see.”

Samar*, one of the girls involved in the project, said, “This week was a very, very, very, amazing experience. 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.”

Saba Mobaslat, Country Director for Save the Children in Jordan, said, “These images remind us that behind all of the numbers, each Syrian child is an individual with a life and a voice – just like any teenager in any country around the world. Empowering these teenagers to tell their stories through their own eyes provides hope to a generation of children whose lives have been turned upside down by a conflict beyond their control.”

For more information visit or follow Save the Children on Instagram