Since 2012, Helen Couchman, a Fellow of the RGS-IGB, has repeatedly worked in Oman collaborating with Omani women on a series portraying the women she met , their self-presentation, fashion, modesty and individuality. The 146 portraits present a distinctly varied group and showcase the women’s personal styles. Having researched in libraries and archives and found no existing portraits of Omani women, it became clear that this offered a unique context for the work. Of the women who agreed to have their portrait taken, barely ten per cent chose to cover their faces – like Muna above – because of the photography. One of the key tenets of Couchman’s project was that the women themselves could dictate the nature of how they were portrayed. 33 portraits were exhibited in Muscat in 2015 and all 146 are featured in the new book ‘Omani Women’ along with a map of the journeys taken.
Geographical Magazine, February 2016