Susan Meiselas • Mediations • Magnum Photos

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Susan Meiselas Sandinistas at the walls of the Esteli National Guard headquarters. Esteli, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos

SFMOMA will open a large-scale retrospective devoted to Susan Meiselas, entitled Mediations. The exhibition will examine her work created over five decades, with the objective of exploring the nature of documentary photography.

A member of Magnum Photos since 1976, Susan Meiselas first began her career during a decade in which the practitioners of photography were grappling with ethical codes surrounding image-making. She quickly became known through her work in conflict zones of Central America in the 1970s and 1980s in particular due to the strength of her color photographs.

Susan Meiselas Roseann on the way to Rockaway Beach. New York CIty. USA. 1978. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Dee and Lisa on Mott Street. Little Italy. New York City. USA. 1976. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Lena after the show. Essex Junction, Vermont. USA. 1973. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos

This retrospective will revisit her vast oeuvre, beginning with early portraits that include 44 Irving Street (1971) and Carnival Strippers (1972-75) while presenting her integral series such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Kurdistan, made between the late 1970s and 2000. The exhibition will also feature a site-specific installation of her latest work, A Room of Their Own (2016). A project exploring domestic violence against women, through five narrative video works that include first-person testimonies, collages, and drawings, in addition to her own photographs.

The exhibition highlights Susan Meiselas’s unique personal as well as geopolitical approach, showing how she moves through time and conflict and how she constantly questions the photographic process and her role as a witness.

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Susan Meiselas Returning home, Masaya. Nicaragua. September, 1978. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos