Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the U.S. in 1984. Trained as an architect at AUB and at the American University of Beirut and at Cornell University, she worked as an architect before studying photography at the New England School of Photography, and at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum photographer Constantine Manos. She currently works full-time as a photographer, and started teaching photography to teenage girls in refugee camps in Lebanon, with the assistance of non-governmental organizations, and to teenage refugees in Boston with the assistance of Children's Hospital.
Matar's work focuses mainly on women and girls. Her previous work has focused on the Middle East on women and children, and her projects—which examined the Palestinian refugee camps, the veil and its meanings, the aftermath of war, and the Forgotten Christians: the Christians of the Middle East—intend to give a voice to people who have been forgotten or misunderstood. In Boston, where she lives, she photographs her four children at all stages of their lives, and is currently working on a new body of work "A Girl and her Room," photographing teenage girls from different backgrounds.