Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Susan Meiselas: Photographer of a Revolution

The International Center of Photography is home to many examples of excellent photography. Various exhibitions line the walls and one of these is by the renowned photographer, Susan Meiselas. Ms. Meiselas took a series of pictures of the conflict in Nicaragua in the late 1970’s. It takes a special kind of person to take pictures on a field of battle because of the vast amount of risk involved. It is not exactly safe to go around snapping pictures of armed factions who are currently at war. Ms. Meiselas was able to not only document the conflict but to capture the emotions of the combatants. She took many photos that showed the humanity of war and the conditions that people find themselves in.

            Many of the photos taken by Ms. Meiselas were ones that captured the individual people who were fighting in the conflict. One such photo was the one of a man playing a clarinet in the midst of a hellish warzone. This photo was rather out of place and captured a relatively obscure moment amidst all of the fighting. It seems as thought these photos are the ones that identify the people of a conflict. It shows that they too are human and that simple pleasures are necessary for everyone.

            There is another very disturbing photo of a body that has been cut in half, with only the lower half and spinal cord still intact. This photo shows the graphic reality of war and the fact that revolutions, however just, are not without brutality and gore. It is very distressing to analyze this photo and see the terrible price that war takes upon people. This photo seems meant to shock and revolt. It shows in disgusting clarity the violence that is part of the revolution

            The fianl photo is one of a celebration in the Plaza de la Revolucin. This photo shows the joy in the eyes of the members of the revolution. There are two men in the center of the picture who look as though they are about to embrace each other. They are surrounded by a throng of people being held back, with flags flying in the background. There is a sense of triumph about this picture, with a celebration ensuing. This photo seems to show the true point of the revolution. Happiness and success is the goal of this revolution and it is very interesting to see a photo that documents that.

            Susan Meiselas has compiled a very powerful collection of photos from Nicaragua. She did a great job of chronicling the revolution and the many people involved in it. She showed human emotion and the results of human violence in a very realistic fashion. I was very impressed by the fact that she would go into a hostile warzone and just take pictures. It takes a good deal of courage to do this and I am amazed that she was not killed herself. I have a great amount of respect for Ms. Meiselas as a courageous photographer and I feel that her compilation of photos has really shown the truth of the revolution in Nicaragua.