Rania Matar

Rania Matar 

About the Artist

Rania is an American photographer who was born in Lebanon. She currently lives in Brookline, MA.


Most of my work has been about my role as a mother. I started in photography by taking pictures of my own kids. Eventually, when I started taking pictures in Lebanon, I realized that I was drawn to photographing women and children. I remember someone once asking me, “where are the men in your photos?”

“Oops!” I replied, “where are they?” A focus on femininity became consistent in my work moving forward.


Christilla, Rabieh Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2010, © Rania Matar


Becca P, Brookline Massachusetts

Digital Photograph, 2009, © Rania Matar


Raissa, Medford Massachusetts

Digital Photograph, 2009, © Rania Matar


Mariam, Bourj al Shamali Palestinian Refugee Camp, Tyre Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2009, © Rania Matar


Maryam 9, Beirut Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2011, © Rania Matar


My series Girl and her Room was based on my older daughter; it was about teenaged girls and their bedrooms. For that project, I was really focused on capturing a woman in her own space, in her environment.

When that project was finished, I started photographing younger girls for my series that I calledL'Enfant-Femme. That was based on my younger daughter, who was—at the time—prepubescent. Her body was changing, and her whole attitude was changing at the same time. I became interested in documenting that process.

Eventually, when my older daughter left for college, I started a project on mothers and daughters. As she was leaving, I realized that my role as a mother was changing, and that I was getting older. It was a way of examining the aging process. When you put a mother and a daughter side by side, it’s almost like you’re looking at the same woman a few years apart.


Clara, 8, Beirut, Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2012, © Rania Matar


Yasmine 12, Beirut Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2012, © Rania Matar


Dania 9, Bourj El Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut Lebanon

Digital Photograph, 2011, © Rania Matar


So when Working Assumptions contacted me to photograph Saquawana, I knew it was right up my alley. She was a caregiver for her mother and her sister, and she was very pregnant. She was caring for three.

I followed her around for two or three hours, and I took a lot of photographs. At some point she stopped being self-conscious. It became natural. In a good shoot, there’s a trust that gets established, and it shows in the photos.

Motherhood affects your whole life. You have to find a new balance when you have children. It becomes a juggling act. I was an architect before I had my children. And I worked long hours. But when I had my kids, I started working from home, and before I knew it I had become a photographer. On some level, motherhood changes you. It necessitates a change.