Nicaragua: From Still to Moving • Susan Meiselas • Magnum Photos

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Conflict

Nicaragua: From Still to Moving

Susan Meiselas’s seminal work becomes an augmented reality experience

Susan Meiselas

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Susan Meiselas The main street in a rural town. Santo Domingo, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Harvesting sugar cane near Leon. Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas President Anastasio Somoza Debayle opening a new session of the National Congress. Managua, Nicaragua. June, 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Recruits pass by an official state portrait of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
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Susan Meiselas Everyone traveling by car, truck, bus or foot is searched. Cuidad Sandino, Nicaragua. 1978. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas 'Cuesta del Plomo' is a hillside outside Managua and a well known site of many assassinations carried out by the National Guard. Managua, Nicaragua. 1981. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas The car of a Somoza informer burning in Managua. Managua, Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas A funeral procession for assassinated student leaders. Demonstrators carry a photograph of Arlen Siu, an FSLN guerrilla fighter killed in the mountains three years earlier. Jinotepe, Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Youths practice throwing contact bombs in a forest surrounding Monimbo. Nicaragua. June, 1978.
Susan Meiselas Muchachos await the counterattack by the National Guard. Matagalpa, Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
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Susan Meiselas The National Guard entering Esteli. Esteli, Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Muchacho withdrawing from the commercial district of Masaya after three days of bombing. Masaya, Nicaragua. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
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Susan Meiselas Fleeing the bombing to seek refuge outside of Esteli. The Nicaraguan National Guard captured the city of Esteli, which was held by Sandinista rebels. Esteli, Nicaragua. September 20, 1978. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas A Monimbo woman carrying her dead husband home to be buried in their backyard. Monimbo, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
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Susan Meiselas Popular forces begin their final offensive. Masaya, Nicaragua. June 8, 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas A street fighter. Managua, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Sandinistas on their daily rounds in the Esteli neighborhood. Esteli, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas Sandinistas at the walls of the Esteli National Guard headquarters. Esteli, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas The body of a National Guardsman, killed during the taking of Jinotepe, being burned with the official state portrait of President Somoza. Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas On the road to Managua. Masaya, Nicaragua. 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
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Susan Meiselas Entering the central plaza in Managua to celebrate victory. Managua, Nicaragua. July 20, 1979. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos

“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.