Finished shooting yesterday’s Saudi wedding at 3am and took the noon flight back home. Rushing from one car to another, and on the plane I finally sat for an hour to think calmly. Observing the Saudi man sitting across me, working on his laptop throughout the flight, I started wondering. We take our jobs for granted. As wedding photographers, we’re surrounded by comforting good emotions. And although we may complain about the long hours, and running around because its physically exhausting, we’re lucky. Our reality is cushioned by the dream of fairytale weddings. I see images of the heroic journalists who cover images of war and I think of how thankful we should be. Our stress is nothing compared to theirs. @tasneemalsultan for @burndiary

Arab wedding

Weddings in the Arab world usually begin late in the evening. Tonight’s Saudi bride has started getting ready at 2pm but has asked her guests to arrive at 10pm so that she can enter the grand ballroom at 11pm. In Saudi, and all the neighboring countries, this is considered normal. I’m expecting the wedding to finish at 3am, if not later. Women here enjoy partying till dawn, whilst the men usually end their event just before midnight. She’s sitting with her husband, uncles, brothers and father whilst the women are all getting ready in the rest of the house. All of the men are chiding her and telling her that they’re not giving her away, because she’s always theirs. As she blushes and laughs, her father will hold her hand soon to enter the elegant ballroom. Handing her to her husband who is grinning to finally marry his love. @tasneemalsultan for @burndiary

Saudi woman

As the young Saudi woman browses through the many books in a local setup market she checks her phone. Everyone here is plugged to a smart phone. I think I saw my 7-yr-old cousin with a phone, too. She has an Instagram account too. @tasneemalsultan for @burndiary


When I’m in Saudi on a Friday, my father will always have us join him to the Friday prayer at the mosque. He’ll ask us to listen to the lecture, and then debate at home and see if we can apply anything we’ve learned. Since we were schooled in England, we went to a catholic school. Always attending the Christian ceremonies. As the rest of the Muslim parents opted their children to stay out of the RE classes, my father would say: “listen to what others say, you’ll learn a great deal about life and how we’re all the same. Different gods, different history even, but same path” Not many women attend the Friday prayer, so usually the room upstairs for the women is empty. @tasneemalsultan for @burndiary


Hi! This is Tasneem! @tasneemalsultan I’m a Saudi/American photographer shooting mostly weddings in the Middle East and anywhere I get to travel to. Very happy to have the opportunity to share my life on Burn Dairy for a week. Super nervous too! This is my father drinking his tea, in Saudi, as he usually does every evening. He’ll be watching at least an hour of the news alone, then read the newspapers for another hour before heading to sleep.