Rania Matar

Lebanese/American Photographer
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography.

Matar's work has been widely published and exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in a solo exhibition: In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar

She has received several grants and awards including a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition.

Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide.

She has published three books: L'Enfant-Femme, 2016; A Girl and Her Room, 2012; Ordinary Lives, 2009.

She is currently associate professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

All about "SHE":

As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, my background and cross-cultural experiences inform my art. I have dedicated my work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood - both in the United States where I live and the Middle East where I am from - in an effort to focus on notions of identity and individuality, within the context of the underlying universality of these experiences.

In my continuous exploration of what it is like to be a girl and a woman today, in a world that poses endless questions on girls and women of all backgrounds, I am focusing in this project on young women in their late teens/early twenties. They are the ages of my daughters - they are leaving the cocoon of home, entering adulthood and facing a new reality they are often not prepared for, a humbling reality most often harder than they expected and less glamorous than what is portrayed on social media. Whereas in A Girl and Her Room, I photographed young women in relationship to the curated and controlled environment of their bedrooms, I am photographing them here in the larger environment they find themselves in after they leave home, the more global backdrop that now constitutes their lives in transitions.

I want to portray the raw beauty of their age, their individuality, their physicality, their mystery, and the organic relationship they create with their environment, being in the lush landscapes of rural Ohio, or the textured backdrops of Beirut. I want to photograph them, the way I, a woman and a mother, see them: beautiful, alive. I want to create a personal narrative with them. The process is about collaboration and empowerment, and the photo session always evolves organically as the women become active participants in the image-making process.

My work addresses the states of 'Becoming' - the beauty and the vulnerability of growing up - in the context of the visceral relationships to our physical environment and universal humanity. By collaborating with women in the United States and in the Middle East - and while still looking to reveal the individuality of each young woman - I focus on our essence, our physicality and the commonalities that make us human, ultimately highlighting how female subjectivity develops in parallel forms across cultural lines.
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
L
Author: Rania Matar
Publisher: Damiani
Year: 2016 - Pages: 152
In today's world of endless photographing, tagging and posting images online, what is a pre-teen girl's relationship to the camera? Upending assumptions of contemporary digital image-making practices, photographer Rania Matar (born 1964) reframes these young women through her poignant portraits of them, revealing in L'Enfant-Femme how girls between the ages of 8 and 13 interact with the camera and in so doing depicts them in deeply personal and poetic ways. Addressing themes of representation, voyeurism and transgression, these images remind us of the fragility of youth while also gesturing toward its unbridled curiosity and joy. Photographing girls in the Middle East and the United States, Matar makes us examine our universality, a beauty that transcends place, background and religion. Candidly capturing her subjects at a critical juncture in the early stages of adolescence, Matar conveys the confluence of angst, sexuality and personhood that defines the progression from childhood into adulthood.
 
A Girl and Her Room
Author: Rania Matar
Publisher: Umbrage Editions
Year: 2012 - Pages: 128
winning photographer Rania Matar captures the interior lives of teenage girls and young women in intimate portraits taken within the personal spaces of her subjects' bedrooms. From Spartan cleanliness to chaotic disarray, stark and paint-chipped to clothing-cluttered and graffitied, each room offers an insider's peek into the mind of the girl who lives there, her values, her desires, and her fears. Photographing girls from both the United States and Lebanon, Matar has succeeded in an unbiased documentary that questions what it means to grow from girl to woman and how our identities spill over into our material worlds.
 
Ordinary Lives
Author: Rania Matar
Publisher: Quantuck Lane Press
Year: 2009 - Pages: 128
Lebanon is a country built on dichotomies. It is a blend of cultures, poised at the intersection between the Western and Arab worlds. Born in Beirut and living in the West, photographer Rania Matar is especially attuned to those dichotomies. Here she honors the lives of the women and children of Lebanon in evocative black-and-white photographs. They convey the many facets of life, acknowledging the undeniable presence of war and tragedy, yet celebrating the strength, dignity, and humanity of lives lived amid the rubble, in refugee camps, or behind the veil. These images are universal reminders of the tender bond between a mother and child, the cheerful camaraderie of friends, and the resilience of the human spirit. Accompanying these photographs are excerpts from the poetry of celebrated Palestinian-American author Lisa Majaj.
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Chuck Fishman
Nationality: American
Born: 1953
In his 40-year career, freelance photographer Chuck Fishman has focused on social and political issues with a strong humanistic concern.

His work has been extensively published, exhibited, and collected worldwide, and has earned him the prestigious World Press Photo Foundation Medal four times.

His photographs have appeared on the covers of Time, Life, Fortune, Newsweek, The London Sunday Times, The Economist and numerous others, and have been selected (…)
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
Chuck Fishman
 
Giles Clarke
Nationality: United Kingdom
Born: 1965
Giles Clarke is a photojournalist with Getty Images Reportage based in New York City.

Giles started his career as a 16mm camera assistant in a daily news production company in Berlin in the mid 1980's. He then trained and worked as a professional black and white photographic printer in London and New York City during the 1990's. He spent over 12 years in the darkroom printing for fashion and advertising clients -including the late Richard Avedon in 1995-96. After (…)
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke
 
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Nationality: French

Marchand (b.1981) and Meffre (b.1987) live and work in Paris. Initially pursuing photography individually, they met online in 2002 and started working together with the beginning of their Detroit project in 2005. Steidl published The Ruins of Detroit in 2010. A second printing is planned for later this year. They are currently completing their Gunkanjima book, also to be published by Steidl, and they continue to work on a project documenting American theaters that have (…)

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre
 
Anton Gorlin
Nationality: Australian
Anton Gorlin is a landscape and a real estate photographer, who tries to capture the essence of the moment and beauty of shapes and forms.
Originally from Ukraine, he now lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Anton enjoys the beauty of Australian nature and does several trips a year to keep his portfolio growing. Prints of his photos landed in Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Australia, USA and other countries. Anton's works have been published in various magazines and (…)
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
Anton Gorlin
 
Karen Knorr
Nationality: American
Born: 1954

Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film (…)
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
Karen Knorr
 
Rasel Chowdhury
Nationality: Bangladeshi
Born: 1988
Rasel Chowdhury is a documentary photographer. Rasel started photography without a conscious plan, eventually became addicted and decided to document spaces in and around his birth place, Bangladesh. He obtained his graduation in photography from Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, and in due course, he found the changing landscapes and environmental issues as two extremely important subjects to document in his generation. Rasel started documenting a dyeing river (…)
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
Rasel Chowdhury
 
Magdalena Berny
Nationality: Polish
Born: 1976
Magdalena Berny is a graduate from the Pozna? University of Physical Education, self-taught photographer, passionate, mother of two. Over the years, she managed to create her own quite distinctive style. Works by Magdalena were published in Polish and foreign press dedicated to photographs, illustrations used as guides to photographing children and for projects of book covers.
About her:" Children as the subject of my photos appeared with their coming into the (…)
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
Magdalena Berny
 
Deb Achak
Nationality: American
Raised in New Hampshire, Deb Achak holds a master's degree in social work and is a self-trained photographer and filmmaker. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and sons in a grand old home that was once a bed and breakfast. Deb's fine art photography explores natural elements of water and grasses - earth elements with clean, simple compositions meant to calm and soothe. Her children are also a growing subject of her fine art work. Her photographs have been (…)
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
Deb Achak
 
Michelle Frankfurter
Nationality: American
Born: 1961
Born in Jerusalem, Israel Michelle Frankfurter is a documentary photographer, currently living in Takoma Park, Maryland.

A graduate from Syracuse University with a bachelorís degree in English, Michelle has been recognized, published and exhibited worldwide.

Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua, where she worked as a stringer for the British news agency, Reuters and with the human rights (…)
 
Robert Mapplethorpe
Nationality: American
Born: 1946 - Died: 1989
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave."

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-(…)
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices