Iranian artist and photographer Newsha Tavakolian taught herself photo skills, and began working professionally at the age of 16. She was a participant in the 2006 Joop Swart Masterclass. In 2002, Tavakolian joined Polaris Images and started covering regional conflicts and natural disasters, as well as making social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and The New York Times Magazine.
In 2009, Tavakolian covered the presidential elections in Iran, an assignment that forced a temporary halt to her photojournalistic work, and confined her to working at home on conceptual photography projects. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and on show in such museums as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Art as well as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum in London, which have also bought several of her prints. Recently, Tavakolian was commissioned by the Qatar Foundation to travel around the world for three months, illustrating a book about education and technology, to be published in 2014.