Published by Radius Books. Text by Orin Zahra, Mark Alice Durant.
As a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, Rania Matar’s (born 1964) cross-cultural experiences inform her art. She has dedicated her work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood—both in the United States where she lives, and in the Middle East where she is from.
Rania Matar: She focuses on young women in their late teens and early twenties, who are leaving the cocoon of home, entering adulthood and facing a new reality. Depicting women in the United States and the Middle East, this project highlights how female subjectivity develops in parallel forms across cultural lines. Each young woman becomes an active participant in the image-making process, presiding over the environment and making it her own. Matar portrays the raw beauty of her subjects—their age, individuality, physicality and mystery—and photographs them the way she, a woman and a mother, sees them: beautiful, alive.
Published by Damiani. Introduction by Her Majesty Queen Noor. Text by Lois Lowry. Afterword by Kristen Gresh.
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.