Olivia Arthur's book explores the paradoxical world of Saudi Arabia's coastal city of Jeddah
My first impression of Saudi Arabia was the big empty roads and houses with impossibly high walls. Everything seemed to be happening out of sight, somewhere else, behind closed doors.
I had been sent to Jeddah to teach a workshop for local women photographers. My students introduced me to bits of their world, and gradually I made friends and came back again. Getting a glimpse behind those often closed doors, I tried to piece together an understanding of the bubble-world that they live in.
"I almost felt that the more time I spent there, the less I understood"
- Olivia Arthur
It’s a paradoxical world where the balance between what is considered acceptable and what is totally outrageous is very fragile indeed. So many different sets of rules, rules that can be so strict, and yet sometimes the rules just don’t matter at all. I almost felt that the more time I spent there, the less I understood.