Susan Meiselas


Susan Meiselas, Dee and Lisa on Mott Street. Little Italy, New York City, USA, 1976
Susan Meiselas, Sandinistas at the walls of the Estelí National Guard headquarters. Estelí, Nicaragua, 1979
Susan Meiselas, The Star. Tunbridge, Vermont, USA, 1975

"For me, the essence of documentary photography has always been to do with evidence." - Susan Meiselas

This autumn, KUNST HAUS WIEN is dedicating an extensive personal exhibition to the great American photographer Susan Meiselas. Since the mid-1970s, Meiselas has been addressing the social and political upheavals in our society in her artistic work. She always reflects on the status of her images in relation to their context. In doing so, Meiselas questions the photographic process, the relationship between photographer and subject. 

Since the 1970s, Meiselas has been intensely concerned with the role of women. In her first major photographic essay Carnival Strippers (1972-1975), she shows women who worked as strippers at carnivals in New England and combines these images with audio recordings of the women, their clients and managers. 

In the well-known series Prince Street Girls, she documented young girls in Little Italy/New York over a period of 15 years - from their childhood through puberty to becoming women. The photographs show the gradual changes in their lives and bodies and their place in society.

Meiselas became known to a wider audience with her coverage of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and her extensive documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. Meiselas often works on her photographic projects over a long period of time, covering a wide range of subjects and countries: from wars, revolutions and humanitarian crises to cultural identity and domestic violence.

One of her pioneering projects documenting cultural and social memory is the Kurdistan Archive on the history of the Kurdish diaspora. The exhibition includes Susan Meiselas' early series 44 Irving Street (1971), Carnival Strippers (1972-1975), the installation Mediations (1978-1982) about the Nicaraguan popular uprising, and equally her recent works A Room of Their Own (2015-2016) and Pandora's Box (2017).

Susan Meiselas was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948 and now lives in New York City. Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer ever since. Her photographs have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, such as in 2018 at Jeu de Paume and also in 2018 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and are represented in museum collections worldwide.

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