This research project explores the visual representation of Saudi women living in Saudi Arabia. Due to the conservative nature of Saudi society this continues to be a controversial issue, both in Saudi Arabia and in the West. This project is about using photography as a medium and a critical tool to examine the representation of Saudi women, and reframe their representation in a collaborative process. Understanding the place of photography in Saudi women’s experience, self-perception, and their response to its creative potential as a tool of self-presentation. Revealing the full potential of creative collaborative photography in research and the complexity and multiplicity of Saudi women’s diverse identities.
The methodological framework developed for this collaborative project extended the use of photo-elicitation and qualitative methods of collecting data through photographs and narratives to a Saudi context. This visual research methodology contributes to the literature on photographic representations of Saudi women, by making Saudi women visible and heard, allowing them to access their own photographic narratives. In doing so it provides new insights into Saudi culture and society. It presents a unique contribution through listening to the voices of Saudi women living in Saudi Arabia, gathering and analysing their perspectives through photographic narratives, looking at the ways they negotiate and relate to the photographs, and enabling them to present themselves through their own personal portraits. This project is not only about the theories discussed, it is also about the photographs taken and analysed and the narratives that arose from them.
Funder: Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia