“When I first went to Nicaragua I never imagined that I’d spend the next 10 years photographing there,” says Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas. “By chance I arrived just before the insurrection in June 78 when everything was about to erupt. I got up every day without a plan and just photographed what I saw.” Originally published in 1981, Meiselas’s Nicaragua is a contemporary classic—a seminal contribution to the literature of concerned photojournalism. Nicaragua forms an extraordinary narrative of a nation in turmoil. Starting with a powerful and chilling evocation of the Somoza regime during its decline in the late 1970s, the images trace the evolution of the popular resistance that led to the insurrection, culminating with the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979.
“History was being made on the streets and no-one knew where it would lead,” says the photographer in one of the videos accompanying the new edition of her seminal book, Nicaragua. Now, on the thirty-fifth anniversary of its publication, Aperture has reissued the book with an augmented reality function, bringing a selection of images to life via clips from Meiselas’s films: Pictures from a Revolution (1991), in which she returns to the scenes she originally photographed, tracking down subjects and interviewing them, and Reframing History (2004), a documentation of her return in 2004 with nineteen mural-sized images of her photographs from 1979, to collaborate with local communities to create sites for collective memory.
Watch the short clip below, taken from the book’s augmented reality function, to find out more about Susan Meiselas’s work in Nicaragua.