Bread Not Bombs: Photos of Syrians’ Smallscale Retail Culture in the Za’atari Refugee Camp

This is a moving and powerful mixture of photography and journalism. The Zaatari refugee camp is now Jordan’s fourth largest city. The shock (and awe) doctrine is alive and well in Mesopotamia.

Prison Photography


Rashed, 14, leaves the camp to buy furniture from Jordanian merchants and comes back to sell it, much as his family once did back home.

Toufic Beyhum‘s photographs of the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan provide a look into the makeshift pastimes and work as well as the daily mundane activities of Syrian refugees. His series Champs Elysées focuses on the retail and food stands along the central road in Za’atari nicknamed Champs Elysées by French aid workers.

This body of work is more interesting than many others emerging from the Syrian conflict. There are no bombs here, but there is trauma. That trauma though isn’t immediately apparent. We’ve got to dig deep into Beyhum’s photographs.

Beyhum’s focus on small-scale trade is instantly connective; there’s no society in the world that doesn’t move about the continuous modest commercial negotiations. Beyhum shows us the less fraught but no-less-important side of the Syrian conflict and…

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12 Responses to Bread Not Bombs: Photos of Syrians’ Smallscale Retail Culture in the Za’atari Refugee Camp

  1. Jeff Nguyen says:

    From the article, “So while I’d argue that photography’s role is to give subjects a voice, gift or benefit (e.g. NOOR’s portrait studio) its role is also to usher audiences into the psychological territory of the subjects. The shops and shop-owners in Beyhum’s series are perfect vehicles in explaining to us far-away and comfortable consumers that the Za-atari refugee camp is a place of making do.”


  2. Chess says:

    Excellent piece. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.


  3. Rajiv says:

    This is an excellent piece of work..


  4. Great share. It’s so easy to lose touch with the human impact of the global conflicts initiated and/or perpetuated by Team Obama.


  5. tubularsock says:

    Powerful and direct. It is always amazing how people can endure the odds. Great post.


    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      How many more peoples will have to suffer the same fate as the Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis, Ukranians,,,all in the name of “regime change”? Hope you get to check out the Prison Photography blog more. It’s really outstanding work.


  6. lumar1298 says:

    Thanks for sharing… Great piece…


  7. meaningful news/photos not shown USA media


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