Newsha Tavakolian is a photographer. She began working for the Iranian press at the age of 16, covering wars in Iraq and a range of social issues in her native Iran. Over the years, her focus shifted away from journalistic photography to photography as art. Through her lens, Tavakolian explores social experiences in her homeland and human conflicts close and near. Tavakolian has photographed female guerilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions.
A high school drop-out, Tavakolian was commissioned at age 32 to tour the world to document educational systems, from small villages in Ghana to Cambridge’s MIT. ‘Learning Reimagined’ is the title of the book that came out to critical acclaim in 2013. Tavakolian is one of the first female photographers to document the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, in a 2012 book entitled ‘The Fifth Pillar.’ 'Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album' is her latest book publication, where actual childhood snapshots become the starting point for an imagined photographic journey into adulthood.
Tavakolian was the fifth laureate of the 2014 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award and the principle laureate of the 2015 Prince Claus Award.
Amongst others, Tavakolian's work has found its place within the private collections of international institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the British Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
Tavakolian became a Magnum Associate in 2017.