Tasneem Alsultan has been awarded First Prize in the Sony World Photography Awards for 2017 in the Contemporary Issues Category with her work, 'Saudi Tales of Love'.
"Whilst Saudi Arabia is an international symbol of Islam, many Saudis would agree that there's a strong disconnect between the Qur'an and local traditions. I wanted to answer question that many shared: Do we need marriage to signify that we have love? Do you need a husband to have a significant life?
I started the project thinking I only had my personal story to share. I was married at the age of 17, and living separately as a single parent for the last six years of an unhappy 10 year marriage. Many family members commented on how foolish I was to ask for a divorce. Only later, I realized that there were many Saudi women who had similar experiences, beyond my expectations of a typical Saudi housewife. With each story, I found more women sharing complex marriage theories and experiences. I followed the stories of widows, happily married, and divorced women. I explored the concept of love, photographing my young daughter and grandmother. Utilizing imagery (with permission from those weddings I photographed) I interlaced the construction and expectation of marriage through often elaborate wedding ceremony imagery and rituals. A common realization with every woman I photographed, was that they all managed to overcome the many hurdles that was put by society or/ and state."See more from this series on Tasneem's Website