Coinciding with International Photography Day, which falls on August 19, Yasmina had the opportunity to meet Saudi photographer and storyteller Tasneem Al Sultan.
On this day, we celebrate the creativity of Saudi women in the field of photography, of which Tasneem Al-Sultan is one of his figures, with her achievements that reflected the image and culture of Saudi society and women in particular, and by talking about that, remember the launch of the Kingdom’s first photographic award for photographing the Al-Wajh region.
What do you call yourself and how do you tell your story in this life?
I do not like to describe myself as a “professional photographer”, because I like the world to see that through my work, professionalism always comes with time, and my story is different from other photographers in that I combined the events of my personal life with my work in the field of photography with overlapping feelings and stories There are stories all over the world, without telling stories only in the Kingdom, such as stories of love, marriage, motherhood and others, in addition to stories from the struggle of the Saudi woman, whose story is similar to the story of any woman from the world because she had all the advantages in light of this development.
I tend to portray the reality of women in the Kingdom more than the aesthetic aspect
With your lens, you penetrated into the social and cultural aspects of the Kingdom and the world. What aspects do you like in photography in particular?
Through my lens, I always like to highlight culture, especially the stories of women in society, because I am a woman whose feelings move more towards these stories that we may see and live daily in our lives without thinking about them. , without being limited to the aesthetic and fictional side of the story.
Traditional weddings and photographing their moments is one of the most charming pictures that he took. As a Saudi photographer, tell us about the magic of the Saudi wedding?
Wedding ceremonies in the Kingdom are similar to many Gulf countries such as Bahrain, the Emirates and Kuwait. Despite that, the similarity is that the regions of the Kingdom vary greatly in the rituals of this celebration, so I very much enjoy seeing the difference between the customs of the people of the East, the people of the West, the people of the south, and the people of Najd, as the different traditions of marriage It is not limited to names only, but even includes customs. We find that the people of Najd do not celebrate the day of henna, as the people of the West celebrate the night of “Al-Ghamra” or the celebration of the people of the East on the “Jalawat” day. All these traditional rituals, including equipment, incense and hospitality, motivate me more to document this culture and heritage that It belongs to us and distinguishes us in the Kingdom from the rest.
How do you feel about being chosen among an elite group of Saudi personalities in a video about the NEOM project?
I had a very nice feeling to be among three Saudi women with whom I established a relationship during a five-day trip, and we had a great harmony through which we were able to make friends with each other, and we shared a story, which came out beautifully in which we, as a generation of women, embodied how to turn imagination into reality.
Choose a picture from your photography in which you said a thousand words?
I always say that we do not need to tell a thousand words through the picture. For me, a successful picture is the one that makes those who contemplate it think differently or feel a new feeling that changes the stereotypical image of the people inside the picture, so I like to portray the similarities of feelings and life in my community with other societies in a framework It makes everyone change their image about my country, which is similar to other citizens around the world.
On the occasion of World Photography Day, what achievement are you most proud of?
There are many achievements that are on my mind at this moment, but the most prominent of them is that I am the first Arab photographer to have the opportunity to photograph with “National Geographic” starting in 2016, and continuing with them until now. I also had the opportunity to speak at their forum in 2017, as the first Arab woman, Through my words, I was able to tell the story of Saudi women, which I am proud to have represented in both National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine. The year 2019 in my country made me feel very special.
Jeddah has so many stories to tell
Is there a city or place in the Kingdom that you like photography more than other places?
I am from the eastern region, specifically from the Al-Ahsa region, but I have never lived there, and as a photographer, I toured many cities in the Kingdom, and was impressed by the hospitality and kindness of the people of all the regions I visited from: Hail, Tabuk, Al-Ula, Dammam, Al-Khobar, Asir, and others, but I especially I was attached to the city of Jeddah because I was raised in it and know a lot about it, and because it is one of the cities with many stories to tell, but in general as a photographer, I find my tendency in photography is more towards the locals of the areas than the landmarks and places.
From behind your lens, what do you say about Saudi women?
The Saudi woman whose story I tell behind my lens is the successful, struggling, educated, strong woman who overcame all challenges, nothing prevented her from learning and achieving her goal.
My book Then There Were Women is the most important to me right now
Tell us about your ambitions and agenda for the future?
I am still completing my project for the illustrated book “Then There Were Women”, which embodies the relationship of Saudi women in all stages of life: marriage, divorce, spinsterhood, and others. For me at the moment.
in conclusion Also, take a look at the most prominent female photographers on the Saudi scene, international awards and art that touches the soul.
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