Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at the American University of Beirut and Cornell University, she worked as an architect for many years before studying photography at the New England School of Photography, and at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum photographer Constantine Manos. She currently works full-time as a freelance photographer, while raising her family, and is starting a new project teaching photography to teenage girls in refugee camps in Lebanon, with the assistance of non-governmental organizations, and to teenage refugees in Boston with the assistance of Children’s Hospital. While most of her work focuses on the Middle East, in Boston, where she lives, she photographs her four children at all stages of their lives, and is currently working on a new body of work titled “A Girl and her Room” photographing teenage girls from different countries and backgrounds.
Her work has been published in photography and art magazines, and exhibited widely in solo and group shows in the U.S. and internationally, at museums, colleges, galleries, and photo festivals. She was recently awarded an artist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, first prize at the New England Photographers Biennial, first prize in Women in Photography International, and honorable mentions at the Photo Review, CENTER Santa Fe, the Silver Eye Center for Photography, the Julia Dean Photo Workshops for the Berenice Abbott Prize, and the Prix de la Photographie Paris Px3 for “The Human Condition”. In 2008 she was selected as one of the Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers by Women in Photography, and was a journalist for the prestigious James and Audrey Foster award at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston with an accompanying exhibition.
Her images are part of the permanent collection of many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park; the Danforth Museum of Art; the Kresge Art Museum; the Southeast Museum of Photography; and of private collections including the Anthony and Beth Terrana Collection, the Ed Oswoski Collection, the John Cleary Estate and the Emir of Kuwait Collection.
Her first book titled “Ordinary Lives” has just been released, published by the Quantuck Lane Press and WW Norton.