Omar Imam | Live, Love, Refugee

Country of origin: Syria
Project location: Lebanon
Program: Arab Documentary Photography Program
Year: 2014

This project, “Live, Love, Refugee,” examines the mental state of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, asking how relations and dreams are affected by conflict and displacement. It is a visual evocation of the pain and desire of Syrians who struggle to survive in their new land.

The people I met are in the worst possible conditions, but they have the desire to continue being human.

I chose to make complex photographs, employing symbolism and surrealism, in an attempt to approach the psychological situation of my subjects. I wanted to disrupt the audience’s expectations of images of refugees and to present them with questions rather than answers.

For me this is the best way to express this horrible experience. It gives viewers the ability to imagine horrific and over-photographed (but under-seen) cases like the Syrian situation, where every related story is a copy of a copy of a copy. I like to surprise the audience without being aggressive, avoiding the low hanging fruit of political reaction and focus instead on a deeper human perspective.