TIME photo essay

Somalia in Transition: Photographs by Dominic Nahr

TIME contract photographer Dominic Nahr traveled to Somalia to photograph Mogadishu's return to life after 21 years of civil war.

Mogadishu is enjoying its longest sustained peace in 21 years of civil war. But don’t mistake that for a return to normality. As TIME contract photographer Dominic Nahr’s pictures reveal, when the tide of war rolled back off Somalia’s capital, it left behind one of the world’s strangest-looking cities. Every building shot-up, every road ruined—a tropical Dresden on the Horn of Africa standing testament to an extraordinary capacity for destruction. And yet, as the city recovers, that grey and dusty tableau of annihilation only accentuates the bright shoots of returning life: the red of a head scarf, the orange covers on a refugee shelter, the florescent turquoise of the sea.

No one knows what Mogadishu’s future will look like. No one even knows whether its peace will last. But already there is a lesson: even in the most ruined city in the world’s most failed state, life and color—and hope—endures.

Dominic Nahr, a TIME contract photographer, is represented by Magnum.

Alex Perry is TIME’s Africa bureau chief.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team