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Tasneem Alsultan

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Tasneem Alsultan


Tasneem Alsultan was born in the US and educated in England, returning to Saudi for her undergraduate studies. As one of the premiere wedding photographers in the GCC, she documented the traditions and cultures that were celebrated. She now uses her storytelling experience to document topics focusing on human rights specific to gender and social issues in Saudi. Al Sultan covered the first women’s voting and elections in Saudi Arabia for National Geographic as well as stories in Saudi for Vogue Italia, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Lens Blog and others. 


Al Sultan’s story starts with two questions: “Does a woman need a husband to have a significant life?” and “Is marriage a synonym for love?”. She brings together the experiences of different Saudi women, each sharing their own complex theories surrounding marriage. She followed widows, happily married women and divorced women, exploring the concept of love and the interlaced construction and expectation of marriage through often elaborate wedding ceremony imagery and rituals. 


The exhibited photograph depicts May, a dentist from Jeddah, who shared  her story: "I married my college classmate in dental school. Sharing two children and a happy marriage, we finally bought our dream house. The day after signing the lease, he died in a motorcycle accident. Then, my father died. I was legally required to have a male guardian. I now wait for my son to turn 16 to take that role. Until then, my step brother whom I have never met decides on my behalf.”