Susan Meiselas: Through a Woman’s Lens


Susan Meiselas, Tentful of marks, Turnbridge, Vermont, 1974.

Gelatin silver print. 7¾ x 11½ in. Courtesy the artist. © Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos


  • December 4, 2020–April 11, 2021

  • Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts

  • Free for Members

  • Included with admission

  • Adult content

Susan Meiselas (American, b. 1948) has spent nearly five decades documenting human stories. Guided by her own intuition at the outset of her career, she focused on the lives and perspectives of women on the edges of the mainstream—narratives that might have been otherwise overlooked. Many of these pictures record the moment during which they were made, when women were asking important questions about gender equality and their roles at home, in politics, and in the world. From sorority girls, strippers, and beauty queens to boxers and delegates, these women shatter the narrow spectrum of female representation that predominated in visual culture. Together, the pictures present a portrait not only of women at the time but also of an artist coming of age during the Women’s Movement, who understood the challenges women faced, including the structures that limited their opportunities. The exhibition considers this period as a foundation for Meiselas’s documentary practice—grounded in collaboration and immersion—and for her exploration of how photography might act as a platform to bring the stories of women and others on the periphery to a larger audience.

A member of the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos since 1976, Meiselas works in a participatory manner that honors her collaborators and the people she photographs. For Meiselas, immersion is key to approaching the people she works with, understanding their perspectives, and making pictures that reveal complicated truths. Presented on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gives women the right to vote, this exhibition honors and examines the legacy of a woman whose commitment to collaborative practice has made an enduring mark on the field.

Presented in collaboration with the Feminist Art Coalition


Exhibitions in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts sponsored by

  • Herzfeld Foundation

This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of

  • Northern Trust logo

Contributing Sponsor

  • David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation