Susan Meiselas

3rd October 2019

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation”

Susan Meiselas

The American photographer Susan Meiselas.
©Jean Gaumy / Magnum Photos

The above photograph was taken from the website wwd.com and the article ‘Susan Meiselas Selected for Women in Motion Photography Award’ written by Mimosa Spencer on June 6, 2019.

In 1976 Meiselas joined Magnum Photos and she is best known for her work documenting the insurrection in Nicaragua and human rights issues in Latin America.

To begin this research I looked at her images on google search, which can be found here. My first instinctive reaction was, ‘Yes, I like these.’ Although they document challenging issues from ethnic and religious conflicts, human rights issues and the sex industry etc… when you look at the images they do not come across as hopeless and harsh but welcoming as though you are one of the subjects friends unlike some of the harsher portraits of Diane Arbus where you feel like you are intruding on peoples personal space.

This is a very good interview with Meiselas found on the huckmag.com website called, ‘Tracing Susan Meiselas’ journey through photography,’ with Text by Miss Rosen.  The interview is about her book as seen below:

… She questions the relationship between the image and the subject in such a way as to include the people portrayed in the image in the process of the making. There is nothing systematic in her approach: each work expresses in a very strong manner that context is vital to the understanding of photography. Therefore her work is specific to the persons portrayed, to the notion of community to which they belong and to the locality of the geographic and political territories that the artist addresses. The way of the showing the work is equally a part of the thought process. How does the spectator behold the artwork? It is often comprised of many parts, made in different media: each “layer” is used to document a level of meaning. For Meiselas one should be able to grasp why the image was taken. Both the subject of the image and the context in which the images are shown are taken into account in the elaboration of each project.

Amazon descriptions

Everyone traveling by car, truck, bus or foot is searched, Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua 1978

Again, this type of photography is great for me to view and read about but it is subject matter hard to find just around the corner from me. I would love to think of a theme and create a series of portraits documenting something close to my heart like people and scientists who work for CEFAS which is a world leader in marine science and technology, providing innovative solutions for the aquatic environment, biodiversity and food security and where my daughter has just gained an apprenticeship role. The subject matter is remarkable and the working environment also, such as on the boat Endeavour or in the labs which is where my daughter works. The subject matter is also something I am very passionate about such as the pollutants in our oceans which gets into our food sources or the plastics that are harming the sea life and the world around us etc…

However again, I would be too embarrassed of being turned down if I asked to work alongside them for a long period of time, but I know this is my anxiety. But I can dream, can’t I?

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