Reem Al Faisal


The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is a journey of self-discovery and an exploration of man’s relationship with the Creator. Mecca is located in an arid land where nothing grows, and few, if any, earthly distractions exist. The pilgrim is therefore left alone face to face with God. Each stage of the Hajj should bring the pilgrim closer to the objective of self knowledge. However, attaining this depends on each person’s natural ability and desire to do so. For this reason, no two Hajj journeys are ever alike, and every Hajj pilgrim leaves the great journey forever altered from the person they were beforehand. It is difficult to capture the Hajj in text or visually since the Hajj is larger than any possible description.No book or photograph can ever give the Hajj its due. Even those who perform the Hajj can never fully comprehend it. Nonetheless, in this book, Saudi princess and photographer Reem Al Faisal attempts to document the Hajj, which every Muslim must undertake once in his or her lifetime. But Princess Al Faisal, herself a Muslim, does not confine herself to recording religious expressions. With her photographs she also tries to reveal the divine in man and nature. For her, photography itself is a means of honouring God’s presence.

Reem Al Faisal is a granddaughter of the Saudi king Feisal. Her photographs have been exhibited in France, Egypt, China and Korea, and she was the first artist from a Gulf state to exhibit in Palestine. She is one of only a few women to have covered the Hajj extensively in her work.