For her acclaimed series, “A Girl and Her Room,” Rania Matar photographed teenage girls, in their bedrooms, from two seemingly disparate worlds: the United States and the Middle East. These two worlds are ones familiar to Matar, who was born in Lebanon and moved to the United States where she now lives and works. In these portraits, the bedrooms become an extension of the girls’ personalities. With each photograph, Matar offers an intimate glimpse into each girl’s life, perspective, and identity. Whether the rooms are cluttered or spartan the girls all possess something in common. In the words of the artist: “I became fascinated with the similar issues girls at that age face, regardless of culture, religion and background, as they learn to deal with all the pressures that arise as they become conscious and aware of the surrounding world wherever this may be.”
Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the United States in 1984. Initially trained as an architect at the American University of Beirut and at Cornell University, she studied photography at the New England School of Photography and Maine Photographic Workshops. A mother of four, Matar’s interest in photographing girls originated with photographing her own children and their friends—a project that gradually expanded to include other girls, teenagers, and women. Matar began teaching photography in 2009 and offered summer photography workshops to teenage girls in Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps with the assistance of non-governmental organizations. Matar has won many awards and has widely exhibited her photographs nationally and internationally. She has work in numerous permanent collections at museums around the country and has published three books. The series “A Girl and Her Room” became the subject of Matar’s second book, published with the same title by Umbrage Editions. Matar lives and works in Massachusetts, where she also teaches at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.