The photo exhibition “Saudi Tales of Love” by Tasneem Alsultan

Saudi Tales of Love is a photographic journey through hidden dreams and stories of women who live in Saudi Arabia, one of the most closed societies in the world. Courageous choices, marriages and divorces, difficult personal experiences. The photographer Tasneem Alsultan explores these themes through stories of women decided to go beyond the taboos and the dictates of the society.

by Tasneem Alsultan
mostra fotografica / photography exhibition

Fondazione Studio Marangoni – Via San Zanobi, 32r
8 April – 13 May (Hours: Mon-Sat | 10.00 / 1.oopm | 3.00 / 7.00pm) – free entrance

Opening: Saturday, April 8th  / 6.00 pm


“Do we need marriage to signify that we have love?  Do you need a husband to have a significant life?
My project, began as a personal venture. With my marriage at the age of 17, and being a mother of two children at the age of 21, I knew I would surface in some way as a character exploring concepts of love and marriage in Saudi. But my teenage diary seemed to be a redline that I resisted bringing into the story. For the last 12 years, I blamed my marriage on my parents. I repeatedly questioned how they allowed me to marry at the age of 17, and why they never supported my need for a divorce later on. I saw myself as being alone. But I was inspired by the empowered cross section of Saudi women who opened up their lives to me, and I finally faced my diary. So out came my dairies of the age of ten, and sixteen. Funny enough, I wrote in that personal journal till a few weeks before my marriage. I wrote how worried my parents were. And how my father was very skeptical of this young man. I was sixteen when my ex-husband proposed, and my pages were filled with stories of my teenage angst against my mother. I saw how I used the escape of her motherly love, as an escape to the arms of a man I didn’t know… Hence, I wanted to be Shahrazad in a 1001 Arabian nights. A story teller of other misfortunes and romantic endings. I followed the stories of a widow, a happy marriage, twice divorced, and that of a young child—to name a few. I also delved into the many gems I shot from my wedding photography business in Saudi (with permission from my clients). I see the irony in being a divorced wedding photographer. But nevertheless, it was through these stories and from reading my own diary, that the project as a whole, gave me a sense of closure.”

Tasneem Alsultan was born in the US and educated in England, returning to Saudi for her undergraduate studies. Her masters focused on the ethnographic study of Saudi women abroad, receiving an MA from Portland State University. After years of teaching in universities between Saudi and the United States, she ventured into photography. As one of the premiere wedding photographers in the GCC, Tasneem documented the traditions and cultures that were celebrated. After shooting weddings for five years, she now uses her story telling experience to document topics focusing on human rights specific to gender and social issues in Saudi. In April 2016, Tasneem was selected by British Journal Photography as one of 16 emerging photographers in their “Ones To Watch Issue” She soon joined Rawiya, the first all-female photography collective from the Middle East. Working on book for her recent project “Saudi Tales of Love”, based on women sharing complex marriage theories and experiences.