Susan Meiselas (born 1948) is an American documentary photographer. She has been associated with Magnum Photos since 1976 and a full member since 1980. Her works have been published in newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, London Times, Time, Geo and Paris Match.Meiselas was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended junior high school in Woodmere, New York. She earned her BA at Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in visual education atHarvard University. She received a Honorary Doctorates in Fine Arts from the Parsons School in 1986 and from The Art Institute of Boston in 1996.
After earning her degree from Harvard, she worked as an assistant film editor on the Frederick Wiseman documentary, Basic Training. From 1972 to 1974 she worked for New York public schools, running workshops for teachers and children in the Bronx and designing photography curriculum for 4th-6th graders. She also worked for the State Arts Commissions of South Carolina and Mississippi setting up photography programs in rural schools. She also worked as a consultant for Polaroid and the Center for Understanding Media in New York City.
Her first major photography project documented strippers at New England fairs and carnivals, which she worked on during summers while teaching in New York public schools. The project resulted in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum and a book, Carnival Strippers. In the late 1970s Meiselas also documented the insurrection in Nicaragua and human rightsissues in Latin America. In 1981, she visited a village destroyed by the armed forces in El Salvador and took pictures of the El Mozote massacre, working with journalists Ray Bonner andAlma Guermoprieta.
Meiselas has published several books of her own photographs and has edited and contributed to many others. She edited and contributed to El Salvador: The Work of Thirty Photographers(Writers & Readers, 1983). She edited Chile from Within (W.W. Norton, 1991). Beginning in 1992, she used MacArthur Foundation funding to curate a photographic history of Kurdistan, resulting in Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (Random House, 1997; reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 2008), as well as a website and an exhibition at theMenil Collection. Pandora’s box is a monograph of her work on S&M in New York. She also co-directed two films: Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family (1986) and Pictures from a Revolution (1991)