Before he started taking photographs at a refugee camp in Lebanon, 37-year-old Omar Imam was a refugee himself. He fled his hometown of Damascus, Syria in 2012 after being kidnapped and tortured. That experience lends Imam a perspective that photojournalists and artists documenting the humanitarian crisis often lack.

Instead of portraying refugees as one-dimensionally tragic, Imam’s surreal black-and-white scenes, featuring men dressed as magicians and wrenches tied to balloons, dramatize their subjects’ inner lives. “I wanted to disrupt the viewer’s expectations of images of refugees,” Imam told Hyperallergic. “I want to replace numbers, reports, and statistics with hallucinations, fears, and dreams.”

Continue reading on Hyperallergic.

Also consult the website of Omar Imam’s project Live, Love, Refugee