Photography is a medium that is intimately, inextricably, and inherently tied to time. In the most essential way, photography is a product of the passage of time, however brief: during the analogue era, the camera’s shutter would open, light would hit the sensitized negative, and for that duration, a trace of the world was imprinted on the photographer’s film.
The bond between photography and time, however, is more profound and complex in the work of photographer, social historian, and cultural critic Susan Meiselas. In some of her projects, she is involved and present not just during the span of the exposure, but she also tracks the much longer and more enigmatic lifespan of the images themselves, as they circulate and are reproduced in their existence beyond their making. This exhibition features three of her projects that illustrate the intertwined relationships between creation and reception, origin and evolution, loss and recovery, the initial moment of experience and the ongoing process of circulation, and ultimately, of photography and time.
Presented here are Meiselas’s photographic explorations of Nicaragua, beginning with photographs she made in the late 1970s, El Salvador, including work starting in 1979, and her project on Kurdistan, begun in the early 1990s. Each of these projects is active, with the photographer remaining engaged with the ongoing lives and histories of the people, places, and pictures themselves.