Susan Meiselas (1989-03-02)

Susan Meiselas
Practice: Documentary Photographer and Critic
Date of Lecture: 1989-03-02

Meiselas_Susan_w01Nicaragua, June 1978 – July 1979, (1981) © Susan Meiselas

Susan Meiselas is an Amazon with a social conscience and a sense of history. What her eye (and therefore her camera) catches are the injustices of the world, dictatorships, wars, and their victims” – Inge Morath

Susan Meiselas is an award winning documentary photographer best known for her work in Central America. She was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1948, attended Sarah Lawrence College in 1970, and received her Masters of Education from Harvard in 1971.

She has been a freelance journalist since 1976, working on projects in India, Chile, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, and has also taught at the New School for Social Research. Her photographs have been published in Time, The New York Times, Paris Match and Life, she has exhibited her work around the world, has edited and authored several books and co-directed two documentary films
She was invited to join Magnum Photos in 1976, based on the strength of a series she had completed on carnival strippers. Shortly after joining Magnum she left New York for Nicaragua, arriving just before the hostilities broke out between the Sandanistas and President Samoza. She stayed there to cover the insurrection with courage and empathy, for which she was recognized in 1978 when she received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for “outstanding courage and reporting”. Central America remained the focus of her life and of her work for many years.

Her most recent publication is entitled Kurdistan, In the Shadow of History, a book outlining the history of the Kurds by combining various forms of documentation (oral histories, diaries, letters, newspapers, memoirs, British and American government documents, and telegraphs). It is recognized as an essential document of a people whose history has otherwise been systematically erased.

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