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A Girl and Her Room

Overview

"[What's] most striking about Matar's photography is . . . its balance between the realistic and poetic. She is the documentarian as lyricist, someone who, recording the incongruous, discovers the transcendent." —Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe

Award-winning photographer Rania Matar captures the interior lives of teenage girls and young women in intimate portraits taken within the personal spaces of her subjects' bedrooms. From Spartan cleanliness to chaotic disarray, stark and ...

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Overview

"[What's] most striking about Matar's photography is . . . its balance between the realistic and poetic. She is the documentarian as lyricist, someone who, recording the incongruous, discovers the transcendent." —Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe

Award-winning photographer Rania Matar captures the interior lives of teenage girls and young women in intimate portraits taken within the personal spaces of her subjects' bedrooms. From Spartan cleanliness to chaotic disarray, stark and paint-chipped to clothing-cluttered and graffitied, each room offers an insider's peek into the mind of the girl who lives there, her values, her desires, and her fears. Photographing girls from both the United States and Lebanon, Matar has succeeded in an unbiased documentary that questions what it means to grow from girl to woman and how our identities spill over into our material worlds.

Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon, moving to the United States in 1983. Her projects—which examine Palestinian refugee camps, the recent spread of the veil and its meanings, the aftermath of war, and the Christians of the Middle East—return voice to people forgotten or misunderstood. She has won numerous awards, and her images are in the permanent collections of museums worldwide. Matar's first book Ordinary Lives was published in 2009. She teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Susan Minot is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer whos books include Monkeys, Folly, Lust & Other Stories, and Evening

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Matar's pictures are direct, honest, and without pretense. They are not political. They transcend time and place and provide comfort and warmth. In spite of the context of war and displacement, they have a beauty of their own and give us hope for a better world." —Constantine Manos, Photographer, Magnum Photos

"A sense of duality informs Matar's work. Much of that duality is what one might expect: East and West, rich and poor, war and peace. But what's most striking about Matar's photography is another duality: its balance between the realistic and poetic. She is the documentarian as lyricist, someone who, recording the incongruous, discovers the transcendent." –Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

"Rania Matar's insightful photographs reveal moments of order and domesticity amidst upheaval to capture the stability found within instability. The particular resilience of children is apparent in her work, which often shows how wonder can permeate the world of a child, regardless of circumstances." –Jill Medvedow, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

"Matar approaches her subjects with kindness and a genuine interest in the lives of the girls she photographs. Whether shooting in affluent homes or refugee camps, a cluttered or spare room, Matar photographs the girls with a consistency of vision, working with them to create a photograph that looks to capture the real girl underneath the trappings and confusion of the age." -Photo-Eye blog

"Both visually stunning and culturally captivating, A Girl and Her Room offers a rare vista into one piece of what it means to grow up as a girl and to metamorphose into a woman, with all her obsessions, convictions, and fascinations, prompting us to find the parallels and universals amidst the differences and contrasts. -Maria Popova, Brain Pickings blog

"The thing is: Although Lebanon, in many of these photos, could pass for the States, you probably won't find yourself thinking the inverse: That a Boston bedroom looks like Beirut. But Matar doesn't lament what seems like an undeniable "Westernization" of Lebanese teens. If anything, she celebrates the fact that girls will be girls no matter where they live." -NPR's The Picture Show blog

"Matar's unbiased documentary questions what it means to grow from girl to woman, and how our identities spill over into our material worlds. With essays by Susan Minot and Anne Tucker, A Girl and Her Room is a captivating study of teenage self-expression." -Photo District News

"In many ways, Matar's photographs are closer to documentary than fine art: Although the images are nicely composed, it's the subject matter, not the aesthetic, that's most compelling." -India Stoughton, The Daily Star of Lebanon

"These young adults are on the precipice of entering the "real world" as they get ready to leave the perceived safety of childhood behind; Matar captures each one's true self honestly and powerfully." -David J. Carol, Rangefinder

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781884167768
  • Publisher: Umbrage Editions
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,452,466
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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 also studied photography at the New England School of Photography and the Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum photographer Constantine Manos. She teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and in refugee camps in Lebanon.

Mater has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, and at the New England Photographer Biennial, Women in Photography International, and the Prix de la Photographie Paris. She has accumulated honorable mentions at the 2010 UNICEF Picture of the Year Award, the 2010 Lens Culture Exposure International, the SIlver Eye Center for Photography Fellowship, and the Photo Review. She was selected at one of the Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers by Women in Photography, and was finalist for the distinguished Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Her images are in the permanent collections of museums worldwide.

A Girl and Her Room is Matar's second book, and was chosen as a Top 50 Winner in Photolucida's Critical Mass, won the 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, and received a 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowship. Her first book, Ordinary Lives, was published in 2009.

Susan Minot's first novel, Monkeys, was published in a dozen countries and received the Prix Femina Étranger in France. She is the author of Rapture, Lust & Other Stories, Folly, Evening, and Poems 4 A.M., and wrote the screenplay for Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty.

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