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Passport-Style Portraits of Displaced Syrians Living in the Za’atari Refugee Camp

Kalpesh Lathigra

It’s been two years since the onset of the Syrian conflict, causing millions of people to be displaced from their homeland to avoid the violence. Of the 1.2 million refugees reported to have left, 150,000 live in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. With the help of UNICEF to gain access, London-based photographer Kalpesh Lathigra documents camp life with a unique approach—making portraits with a passport camera. “That simple passport style picture is the representation of our identity to the powers that be. In regards to refugees, people leave with their absolute basics and arrive in a camp, and have to get a new ID document. How much we rely upon that basic image of us in many ways, binds us across the world,” he says. The portraits draw you in—perhaps it’s the quadruple effect—as Lathigra creates a collective chronicle of identity in a place where many struggle to find the one they once had.

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra

Kalpesh Lathigra