Newsha Tavakolian was born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran. A self-taught photographer, Newsha began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at a women's daily newspaper “Zan.” At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country's blossoming reformist movement and for Newsha personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined the New York-based agency Polaris Images.
In 2002, she began working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic.
In 2009, Newsha covered the Presidential elections in Iran, which ended up in chaos and forced her to temporarily halt her photojournalistic work. Instead, she started working on projects that experts describe as a mix of social documentary photography and art.
Her work has been displayed in dozens of international art exhibitions and has been on show in museums such as the Victoria & Albert, LACMA in and the British Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
In 2014, Newsha was chosen as the fifth laureate of the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. In 2015, Newsha joined Magnum Agency where she will be a nominee for two years. Just recently, she was chosen as the principle laureate of the Prince Claus Award.