Born in the United States and raised between the United Kingdom and Saudi where she is currently based, Tasneem Alsultan is an investigative photographer, storyteller and global traveler. With an inquisitive eye and camera at hand, she offers intimate and unique perspectives into the everyday lives of her subjects, telling their stories from her heart while striving to humanize and connect their realities to her audiences.

Her work largely focuses on documenting social issues and rights-based topics in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf region through a gender lens, challenging stereotypical perceptions of the Middle East and portraying a region and people that do not conform to expectations. Covering stories primarily for The New York Times and National Geographic, Tasneem documents ground-breaking developments in Saudi and the region, including most recently, the lifting of the driving ban for Saudi women and the lifting of the ban on Saudi women entering sports arenas.

Having focused her research on anthropological studies of Saudi women, Tasneem holds a Master of Art in Social Linguistics from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi.

Through my work I came to the realization that the majority of women I met had little knowledge of their rights and how to navigate the Saudi legal system due to lack of education or access to resources.

Project Proposal | And Then There Were Women

Arising from her own personal journey of marriage and divorce in Saudi, Tasneem’s project  And Then There Were Women explores complexities of love, marriage, divorce and male guardianship in Saudi through personal stories of courageous Saudi women. Using a collaborative storytelling approach and taking advantage of growing popularity of social media in Saudi, as well as technology to reach domestic audiences, her project will build on others past efforts by joining forces with Saudi rights focused individuals and groups to raise awareness and promote dialogue about the legal and social limitations, including male guardianship, endured by Saudi women from birth until their deaths.

By sharing visual stories of real Saudi women via social media and by providing legal information available through a partnership with Know Your Rights, a unique Saudi mobile application providing information on laws concerning women’s rights, Tasneem will distribute her work and provide encouragement for Saudi women to claim their rights through existing loopholes.  Overall, Tasneem’s work will contribute to cultivating safe virtual spaces where Saudi women can connect, share, and discuss critical issues impacting their lives.

Previous Work