Susan Meiselas

Biography

Born in Baltimore in 1948, Susan Meiselas has lived and worked in New York since the 1970s. She is a documentary photographer and is well known for her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America

From 1972 to 1975 she spent her summers photographing and interviewing women who performed striptease for small town carnivals in New England, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. As she followed the shows from town to town, she portrayed the dancers on stage and off, photographing their public performances as well as their private lives. She taped interviews with the dancers, their boyfriends, the show managers, and paying customers. Meiselas’ frank reveal of the lives of these women brought a hidden world to public attention. Produced at the height of the women’s movement in the ‘70s, the series Carnival Strippers reflects the struggle for identity and self-esteem that characterises a complex era of change.


Meiselas has been the President of the Magnum Foundation since 2007, with a mission to expand diversity and creativity in documentary photography.

Her works have been presented in exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Kunsthaus Wien in Vienna. Meiselas was awarded the Hasselblad Award, a MacArthur Genius Grant, the Royal Photo­graphic Society’s Centenary Medal, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize and the first Women in Motion Award for her work.

Mediations, a survey exhibition of her work from the 1970s to the present was recently exhibited at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Jeu de Paume, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Instituto Moreira Salles in São Paulo, Kunst Haus Wien, C/O Berlin, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, and FOMU in Antwerp. 

Biography

Born 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Lives and works in New York, USA.

Education / Teaching

1970

B.A. Sarah Lawrence College

1971

M.A. Visual Education, Harvard University, School of Education

1976

Member of Magnum Photos

1986

Honorary Doctor in Fine Arts, Parsons School of Art, New York

1991

Gahan Fellow, Harvard University, Carpenter Center

1992

Graduate Seminar Instructor, Cal Arts, Los Angeles

1996

Honorary Doctor in Fine Arts, The Art Institute of Boston

1998

Visiting Lecturer, Harvard University, Carpenter Center

1999

Globalization Fellow in Human Rights, University of Chicago

2002 – 2007

Fellow, Graduate School of Journalism, Berkley

2005 – 2012

Professor, Masters of Photographic Studies, Leiden, Netherlands

2012 – 2015

Adjunct Professor, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

2016

Honorary Doctor in Humane Letters, Columbia University

2018

Belknap Visiting Fellow, Princeton University

Grants and Awards

2022

Dr. Erich Salomon-Preis, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie

2019

Rencontres d’Arles First Prize Women in Motion Award

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize

Kraszna-Krausz Fellowship Award

2014

Alice Austen Award for the Advancement of Photography

2011

Harvard Arts Medal, Arts First, Harvard University

2009

Luma Historical Book Award, In History

Kraszna Krausz And/or Book Award, In History

2008

Lucie Documentary Award

2006

Centenary Award, Royal Photographic Society

2005

Cornell Cappa Infinity Award, International Center of Photography

1999

Nederlands Foto Instituut Grant, Photoworks-in-Progress: Constructing Identity

1994

Hasselblad Foundation Award

Maria Moors Cabot Prize, Columbia Journalism School

1987

Lyndhurst Foundation

1985

Engelhard Award, Institute of Contemporary Art

1982

Leica Award for Excellence

American Society of Media Photographers Photojournalist of the Year

1979

Robert Capa Gold Medal, Overseas Press Club

Residencies and Fellowships

2019

Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Boston

2017

Artist-in-Residence, American Academy, Rome, Italy

Presidential Fellow, Department of Art and History, University of Miami

2016

SIR (Something In Residence), Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

2015

Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

1995

Rockefeller Foundation, Multi-Media Fellowship

1992

MacArthur Fellowship, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

1984

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

1974 – 1975

Artist-in-Residence, South Carolina Arts Commission and Mississippi Arts Commission; teaching photography and animation film in rural communities

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Belgium

2022 – 2023

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany

2022

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, C/O Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2021 – 2022

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Kunsthaus Wien, Vienna, Austria

2019 – 2020

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Instituto Moreira Salles, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2019

Susan Meiselas. Behind Closed Doors, Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah Lawrence College, New York, USA

Susan Meiselas. Nicaragua 1978 – 2018, Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, New York, USA

2018

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, USA

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France

Susan Meiselas. Carnival Strippers, Danziger Gallery, New York, USA

2017 – 2018

Susan Meiselas. Mediations, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain

2017

Susan Meiselas. Nicaragua, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, USA

Susan Meiselas. Prince Street Girls, Higher Pictures, New York, USA

2016

Susan Meiselas. Carrying the Past, Forward, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Frankfurt a.M., Germany

Susan Meiselas. Crossings over the U.S./Mexico Border, Galerie Hug, Paris, France

2014

Susan Meiselas. Determined Lives: Carnival Strippers & Nicaragua, Magnum Print Room, London, UK

Susan Meiselas. Prince Street Girls, Pelayo 47, Madrid, Spain

2013

Susan Meiselas. Prince Street Girls, Galerie Hug, Paris, France

2010

Susan Meiselas. In History: Carnival Strippers, Nicaragua & Kurdistan, Hood Museum, Dartmouth, USA

Susan Meiselas. Pandora’s Box, The Wapping Project, London, UK

2008

Susan Meiselas. In History: Carnival Strippers, Nicaragua & Kurdistan, International Center for Photography, New York, USA

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2007

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box, Cohen Amador Gallery, New York, USA

2006

Susan Meiselas. Reframing History, Fotografins Hus, Stockholm, Sweden

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box Open Eye, Liverpool, UK

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, USA

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box, Rose Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2004

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box Open Eye, Scout Gallery, London, UK

2003

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box FOAM, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box Canal de Isabel II, Madrid, Spain

2000

Susan Meiselas. Carnival Strippers, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA

1998

Susan Meiselas. Intimate Strangers: Carnival Strippers & Pandora’s Box, Leica Gallery, New York, USA

1994

Susan Meiselas, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden

1990

Susan Meiselas. Crossings: Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Borders, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

1984

Susan Meiselas. Mediations: Nicaragua, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

1982

Susan Meiselas. Mediations: Nicaragua, Camerawork, London, UK

Susan Meiselas. Mediations: Nicaragua, Side Gallery, Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK

1981

Susan Meiselas. Nicaragua, FNAC Gallery, Paris, France

1977

Susan Meiselas. Carnival Strippers, AM Sachs Gallery, New York, USA

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 – 2024

New Works. Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Eschborn, Germany

2023

Women on the Front Line: Photography from Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus, Hague Museum of Photography, The Hague, Neaderland

2022 – 2023

Close Enough: New Perspectives from 12 Women Photographers of Magnum, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

2020

Female Photographers at the Front, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

2019

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2019, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK

MSDEMEANORS, Denise Bibro Fine Art, New York, USA

Female Photographers at the Front, Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Germany

2018

Camera Austria International. Laboratory for Photography and Theory, Museum of Modern Art Salzburg Mönchsberg, Austria

Dream of Solentiname 80WSE, New York, USA

Magna Brava Ongoing, Magnum Gallery, Paris, France

Thessaloniki Photo Biennale 2018, Thessaoloniki Museum of Photography, Greece

Dream of Solentiname Museuo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico

2017

Framing Community: Magnum Photos, 1947-Present, Hunter College Art Galleries, New York, USA

Bending the Frame, Preus Museum, Horten, Norway

Conflict and Consequence, Sheldon Museum of Art, Nebraska, USA

Magnum Analog Recovery, Le Bal, Paris, France

2016

History Unfolds The Swedish History Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA

2015

Collaborative Archives: Connective Histories LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, USA

Being Kurdish, Hinterland Gallery, Vienna, Austria

Conflict, Time, Photography, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence, Le Bal, Paris, France

The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA

Mobilizing Memory – Vienna, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria

Sideshow, Yale School of Art, New Haven, USA

Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and Criticism of Modernism 1968- 1989, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

2014

Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern, London, UK

American Photography: Recent Acquisitions from The Museum of Modern Art, Paris Photo, Paris, France

Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany

Mobilizing Memory: Women Witnessing, DEPO, Istanbul, Turkey

Women in War, Daegu International Photography Biennale, South Korea

Postcards from America, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Wisconsin, USA

Backstage, Magnum Gallery, Paris, France

Envisioning Human, Rights Berkeley Art Museum, California, USA

Forensic Aesthetics, Pauza Gallery, Krakow, Poland

Re-Framing History, Galerie Lelong, New York, USA

2013

160 Actions To Make A Jacket, Look 3 Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

2012

Revolution vs. Revolution, Beirut Art Center, Lebanon

2010

Anti-Periodismo, La Virreina, Barcelona, Spain

Engaged Observors: Documentary Photography since the 1960s, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the Camera, Tate Britain, London, UK

2009

Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Kreyol Factory, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France

2008

Darkside, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland

The War of Images and the Images of War, Brighton Photo Festival, UK

Disposable People, The Hayward, London, UK

2007

Immigrante Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Madrid, Spain

Big Picture: Provisions for the Arts of Social Change, New York, USA

2006

Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, Gwangju Biennial, South Korea

Carnival Strippers and Reframing History Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France

Post.doc?, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Greece

Beautiful Suffering, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, USA

New York, New York, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco

2005

After the Fact, First Festival of Photography, Berlin Mirror, Mirror, Centre Cultural de Belem, Lisbon, Portugal

2003

Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, New York, USA

2002

Open City: Street Photographs since 1950, Museum of Modern Art Oxford, UK

2001

Photoworks in Progress, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2000

Picturing the Modern Amazon, New Museum, New York, USA

Magnum Degrees, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France

1998

Art in Freedom, Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, Netherlands

1996

Facing History, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, Menil Collection, Houston, USA

1989

In Our Time, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

Los Vecinos, Museum for Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA

The Art of Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

1986

On the Line, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA

1984

The Nicaragua Media Project New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA

El Salvador: Work of 30 Photographers, Museum for Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA

1982

New Color Work, Fogg Museum, Cambridge, USA

Selected Public Collections

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden

Tate Modern, London, UK

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA

Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey, USA

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, USA

Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

George Eastman House, Rochester, USA

The Jewish Museum, New York, USA

Library of Congress, Washington D.C., USA

Magnum Photos Collection at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, USA

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, USA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA

University of California, Riverside, USA

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA

International Center of Photography, New York, USA

Haverford College, Haverford, USA

Hood Museum, Dartmouth, USA

Corcoran Museum, Washington D.C., USA

The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, USA

Consultancy and Curatorial Projects

2012 – 2013

Creative Consultant during two workshops at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi to the book Lest We Forget Emirati Family Photography 1958– 1999

2010 – 2018

Co-Curator of Coal & Ice, traveling exhibition and catalog for Asia Society, Center on US-China Relations

1997 – 2015

Consultant to Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project co-curator of Moving Walls exhibits focused on social justice and human rights

1975

Center for Understanding Media; New School for Social Research, NY. Training public school teachers in visual literacy approach for the classroom

1972 – 1975

Consultant, teaching photography in New York City public schools for Community Resource Institute

Selected Films

2011

A Family in History, co-directed and co-produced with Alfred Guzzetti

2009

The Windmill Movie, Executive Producer

2004

Reframing History, co-directed and co-produced with A. Guzzetti and Pedro Linger Gasiglia

1991

Pictures from a Revolution, co-directed and co-produced with A.Guzzetti and R.P. Rogers

1985

Living at Risk, co-directed and co-produced with A.Guzzetti and R. P. Rogers

Voyages, writing and photography

Publications

2018

Porch Portraits, Photopaper 33|34, Kassel, Germany

View of A Room, Here Press, London, UK

2017

A Room of Their Own, Multistory, West Bromwich, UK

Prince Street Girls TBW Subscription Series, TBW Books, Oakland, USA

2016

My Life for Love / Nicaraguita, Steidl/ifa, Göttingen, Germany

2013

Prince Street Girls, Yellow Magic Books, Paris, France

2003

Encounters with the Dani, Steidl/ICP, Göttingen, Germany

2001

Pandora’s Box, Trebruk/Magnum Editions, New York, USA

1997

Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, Random House, New York, USA

1981

Nicaragua, June 1978-July 1979, Pantheon, Munich, Germany

1976

Carnival Strippers, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, USA

2003

Carnival Strippers, Revision, Steidl, Göttingen, Germany / Whitney, New York, USA

2008

Nicaragua, June 1978-July 1979, Aperture, New York, Germany

Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, Reprint, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA

Exhibitions

Documents

News

Publications

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