Susan Meiselas



in collaboration with Magnum Photos



“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.” —Susan Meiselas


Susan Meiselas (1948, Baltimore, USA), a member of Magnum Photos since 1976, became known for her work in the conflict zones of Central America (1978–1983), and in particular for her powerful photographs of the Nicaraguan revolution. Endlessly exploring and developing narratives, she involves her subjects in her works, often working over long time spans and covering a wide range of subjects and countries, from war to human rights issues and cultural identity to the sex industry.
This exhibition, entitled Mediations after an eponymous work published by Damiani, is the most comprehensive retrospective ever held in Italy, bringing together a selection of works from the 1970s to the present day.
Mediations (1978–1982) is based on Meiselas’s initial experience during the popular insurrection in Nicaragua. The selection process of her images for the publication Nicaragua: June 1978–July 1979 and the use of the same photographs by the mass media left her with many questions about how images are used in different contexts. Towards the end of the 1990s, Meiselas started to use archive material that she collected, published and exhibited as part of multimedia installations, thereby giving a voice to individuals and communities subject to violence and oppression.
Meiselas often adopts different approaches to extend her work in various forms: photographic essays, installations, books or films. For example, the documents used in the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (1997) became an online archive of collective memory, akaKURDISTAN (1998), which is currently shown as an on-going project in the form of a “Storymap” created by contributors from the global Kurdish diaspora.
This exhibition reveals Meiselas’s unique approach as a photographer who has constantly questioned the status of her images in relation to the context in which they are perceived, showing how she moves through different scales of time and conflict, ranging from the personal to the geopolitical dimension.


The Mediations book is available at the Festival bookshop

Susan Meiselas, born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948, received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in visual education from Harvard University.

Her first major photographic essay focused on the lives of women doing striptease at New England country fairs, who she photographed during three consecutive summers while teaching photography in New York public schools. Carnival Strippers was originally published in 1976 and a selection was installed at the Whitney Museum of Art in June 2000.

Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer since then. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her extensive documentation of human rights issues in Latin America.

In 1997, she completed a six-year project curating a hundred-year photographic history of Kurdistan, integrating her own work into the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (1997) along with the pioneering website akaKURDISTAN (1998), an online archive of collective memory and cultural exchange.

Her 2001 monograph Pandora’s Box (2001) which explores a New York S & M club, has been exhibited both at home and abroad. The 2003 book and exhibition Encounters with the Dani documents a sixty- year history of outsiders’ discovery and interactions with the Dani, an indigenous people of the highlands of Papua in Indonesia.

Meiselas has had one-woman exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, and her work is included in collections around the world. She has received the Robertì Capa Gold Medal for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art (1985); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994); the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005); the Harvard Arts Medal (2011) and most recently was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015). In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Meiselas has served as President of the Magnum Foundation since its founding in 2007.


H 16

Chiostri di San Pietro | chiostro grande

Teatro Cavallerizza



In dialogue with WALTER GUADAGNINI

H 19

Chiostri di San Pietro | laboratorio aperto




USA, 1991 (92’) v.o. sub ita


Exhibition Venue

Palazzo Magnani
corso Garibaldi, 29
Reggio Emilia


Opening hours

opening days
26th of April › 19-23
27th of April › 10-23
28th of April › 10-20

from 1st of May to 9th of June
Wednesday, Thursday › 10 - 13 / 15-19
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays › 10 - 20

Palazzo Magnani