So here goes... I wanted to start posting short snapshots about photographers that really interest me in one way or another, to introduce them to those that don't know them, provide a few links to content about them for those that do, and in doing so learn more about them myself.
I thought I would start with Susan Meiselas as I am a big fan of her work and how she approaches it.
Born in 1948 in Maryland USA Susan is a highly acclaimed photographer. Just to name a few of the many awards she has achieved Susan has won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for “outstanding courage and reporting”, the Leica Award for excellence, Photojournalist of the Year by the American Society of Media Photographers and in 2005 she won the Cornell Capa Infinity Award. Susan became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1980 and, now in her 60's, is the President of the Magnum Foundation and continues to pursue personal projects.
She reminds me of my best mates mother in law who babysits as a grandmother in between training two times a day for triathlons — also an unstoppable force.
What I like most about her work
Susan is the real deal. I have never spoken to her but imagine she would be my first pick in a street fight. She seems to have covered it all – from war zones and civil uprisings to the US carnival stripper scene in the 70's (check out her Carnival Strippers book – seriously, it is amazing). She is one of the few female members of Magnum Photos and I really admire her gritty work. Susan has the ability to gain access to confronting subjects and the stomach to really do them justice. This is apparent in the diverse projects she has taken on including a New York sadomasochist club (Pandoras Box), the Dani people of West Papua (Dani) and the Civil War in El Salvador (of the same name). I really admire her endless drive to satiate such an incredibly curious mind.
She offers some wise insight to photographers pursuing personal projects (this is from this interview) "The danger is that we can service as photographers very easily, somebody needs something. The question is ... how do you see through the visible, the surfaces of things and work with the surface to see beyond it, to reveal behind it."
I love the quote on her Magnum profile and can really identify with it "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.” Great stuff.
Five of my favourite pictures
- Great interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpeedPMgxqE