Navel gazing can get a little old, so, in the coming weeks (months?), as we find ourselves counting the hours till lunchtime on the sofa, we look for...
Edited by Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern and published by Aperture, The Photographer's Playbook contains advice, exercises and insight from John Baldessari, Tim Barber, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Mark Steinmetz, Roger Ballen, David Campany, Asger Carlson, Ari Marcopoulos, Todd Hido, and many more. —Text compiled by Alex Nicholson
This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – the 10th annual Women’s show at Magnet Galleries, Melbourne, plus a review of Dr. Lauren Walsh’s exceptional book, Conversation…
For those of us who work in journalism the myth of the cavalier photojournalist who rushes toward conflict with zeal is well established. Robert Capa’s famous comment about photographers needing to get close to the action in order to capture the best picture is part of industry folklore. Don McCullin has spoken about the adrenalin rush of going to war, likening it to drug addiction. Tim Page’s antics during the Vietnam War have been immortalised in pop culture, Dennis Hopper’s character in the movie Apocalypse Now modelled on the British photographer. Yet while there are those who are lauded as celebrities, the vast majority of conflict photojournalists work in the background, committing themselves to covering some of the world’s darkest moments, to bearing witness to history, largely invisible to the outside world. Glory and money do not motivate them. In fact, these days it is more difficult to make ends meet than ever before. So what drives an individual to the frontline or to document the depths of human misery?
Whether it’s documenting the lives of showgirls or an unfolding revolution, Susan Meiselas' open-ended approach gives the images a life of their own.
Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas has spent five decades questioning the practice of photography. But whether it’s documenting the lives of showgirls or an unfolding revolution, her open-ended approach gives the images a life of their own.
"Every picture tells a story and has another story behind it: Who's photographed? Who made it? Who found it? How did it survive?"
It was fitting that not long before the opening of her major retrospective at the San Francisco MoMA this summer, Susan Meiselas was back in Nicaragua, making photos. Her coverage of the Nicaraguan revolution 40 years ago helped launch her career; now, at the opening of her exhibition in mid-July, she lamented the current state of the Central American country, once again embroiled in a violent revolution to overthrow a repressive government. The script has flipped with Daniel Ortega, brought to power by the Sandinasta revolution that Meiselas covered, accused of a brutal crackdown on protesters.
Ms. Meiselas, a Magnum photographer since 1976, is the subject of a new book, “Susan Meiselas: Mediations,” which examines her long career and diverse body of work.
Susan Meiselas, who joined Magnum Photos in 1976, is also the president and co-founder of the Magnum Foundation. Born in 1948 and starting as a teacher in the South Bronx, she went on to produce a definitive chronicle of Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution. More recently, she has led the foundation’s efforts to nurture a new, diverse generation of photographers. Her books include “Carnival Strippers,” “Nicaragua,” and “Prince Street Girls.” In the last year, she has also been the subject of two books, “Susan Meiselas: Mediations” (Damiani) and “Susan Meiselas: On the Frontline” (Thames & Hudson). She spoke with James Estrin about her career. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
As a new, traveling retrospective honors Susan Meiselas's work, she speaks to PDN about the evolution of her approach to her subjects, mixing personal and assignment work, and providing opportunities to the next generation.
The work of American photographer Susan Meiselas is the subject of a traveling retrospective exhibition currently on view at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, France and opening in July at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “Mediations,” which is accompanied by a catalogue published by Damiani, brings together a selection of series from the 1970s to the present, calling attention to Meiselas’s photographic approach and her lifelong commitment to engage in a “cycle of return” with her subjects, going back to the communities she has photographed and sharing the work with them. The exhibition also demonstrates how Meiselas has found ways to extend narratives beyond a photographic frame by using audio, film and archival materials to build layered stories that include multiple perspectives. The retrospective follows on the heels of her book On the Frontline, a memoir about her career published last fall by Aperture. In it, she discusses the experiences, motivations and ideas that shaped different, yet connected, bodies of work.
In On the Frontline, her new book published by Aperture, influential photographer Susan Meiselas provides an insightful personal commentary on the trajectory of her career—on her ideas and processes, and her decisions as a photographer. Applying a sociological training to the practice of witness journalism, she compares her process to that of an archaeologist, piecing together shards of evidence to build a three-dimensional cultural understanding of her subjects.
Susan Meiselas was there during the last years of the conflict (1978-79). Meiselas’ photographs capture the Sandinista’s and the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for freedom – depicting battle, lost lives, collateral damage, and ultimately victory – as they overcame the military might and power of the Somoza regime
A commemorative reissue of Susan Meiselas’s book “Nicaragua” brings to life the young revolutionaries who toppled the Somoza dictatorship.
A photo of three men wearing traditional Nicaraguan folk masks and holding homemade contact bombs graced the cover of The New York Times Magazine on July 30, 1978. Alan Riding’s article, with photos by Susan Meiselas, chronicled the popular uprising against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
With radical and varied visual responses, the ten photographers in this edition of Moving Walls take a long view of the question of surveillance. The thematic curation orchestrated by Yukiko Yamagata, Susan Meiselas and Stuart Alexander reflects on the scope of documentary photography and the universal means available to decipher the most critical issues of our times - times when, as Mari Bastashevski remarked, there is no real difference in the ways power is managed in the East and West.
The Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas encourages others to embrace the changing landscape of the photo industry and connect with their viewers more intimately.
With a torrent of images from the mundane to the momentous on social media and online, Susan Meiselas has been thinking about how to empower and excite photographers about an uncertain future. Ms. Meiselas, a member of Magnum, was a guest editor for the latest issue of Aperture magazine, where she highlights how photographers can embrace their new tools to make new choices and start new conversations.
Interview with Susan David Alan Harvey: Young photographers are looking towards us to help them find the way. We are struggling with that, but you’ve evolved from a photo journalist at a ver…
You need people who believe that it is still important to see what is going on in the world at whatever level that means. You know, I never thought about it in terms of ‘news’. What we used to do very well was anticipate. I mean, that’s really important to think about. We had to anticipate, because it took weeks or months for publications to prepare to go to print. In fact, even that’s part of the reason I personally never worked for National Geographic. For me, the difficulty of Geographic was that the anticipation cycle was so long. So if I was working on a timely subject, I wanted to see the publication in relation to the production in a closer cycle. And Geographic was so extended; it might be six months or a year after you did the work that you would see it in print. So it didn’t seem optimal or advantageous for the kind of work I was doing at that time. It was a more reflective space lets say.
Now, that’s a very valuable space; to have the opportunity to be more reflective and not have to be as immediate which is what this new medium has created and now demands in some ways. This intensity that we have to produce and deliver and disseminate instantaneously — so that there is no time for reflection. The MF’s Magnum Emergency Fund is trying to create a margin in which photographers can still have a degree of independence to reflect and create work
Last May, five Magnum photographers (Paolo Pellegrin, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Mikhael Subotzky and myself) and the writer Ginger Strand, set out from San Antonio, Texas in an RV named Uncle J…
Ten Magnum photographers will be working in Rochester. Two of these photographers have already gotten started. A couple weeks ago, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Jim Goldberg picked up Uncle Jackson in Oakland and began driving to Rochester. You can see some pictures from their trip here.
On their way, Alessandra and Jim picked me up in Minnesota. Later today we’ll be joining Bruce Gilden, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Larry Towell, Alex Webb, and Donovan Wylie in Rochester. For two weeks we’ll be living together and working together.
Magnum Photographers Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Mikhael Subotsky, and writer Ginger Strand are a bunch of friends going on a homespun adventure; a two week road trip, from May 11-26, across America. Rather than a super group on a stadium tour, the Postcards From America trip will be more in the spirit of a band going back to a small venue tour — a tour where they have to drive their own van and haul their own gear.
As the EF announced the latest round of photographers it would be supporting, LightBox spoke to Magnum Foundation President and photographer Susan Meiselas who heads up the EF, about its mission, and the challenges facing documentary photography today.