|Newsha Tavakolian (b.1981 - Tehran, Iran). A self-taught photographer, Newsha began working professionally in the Iranian press at age of 16. She fought hard to work as a photographer full time at the women's daily newspaper Zan, which at that time was almost impossible as there were only five professional female photojournalists. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student riots, which were the most intense riots since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. For one week her images were front-page news in the most important reformist newspaper of that time, Neshat. |
At the age of 21 she began working internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. These stories were published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and New York Times Magazine. At the age of 24, she covered the Iraq war for her agency Polaris images and these photos were then published internationally in such magazines as Times and Newsweek. At the age of 26, Newsha was hired to work for National Geographic magazine and her photograph became the August 2008 European covers.
In 2009, she was hired by The New York Times to cover the General Election, which caused many riots and unrest within the country and thus made it more difficult for photographers to work in Iran. She then had to change the way she worked from photojournalism to mainly documentary and art photography. In 2010, she brought together a group of six Middle Eastern women photographers to create the group RAWIYAH.
In 2012, her first book “The Fifth Pillar” was published by Gilgamesh, which covered the journey of Hajj. For the past few years her work has been exhibited in museums as The British Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum, which have also purchased her work, the Chelsea Art Museum. Her work is currently being shown at LACMA, which owns several of her works and The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where her pieces are on loan. Newsha was recently commissioned by the Qatar Foundation to travel around the world for 3 months taking photographs for a book about education to be published in March 2014 on behalf of WISE.