petebrook This book ‘Women Of York: Shared Dining’ was made by Susan Meiselas (@s_meiselas1963) with women incarcerated at York Correctional Institution for Women. It’s a contemporary response to Judy Chicago’s famous feminist work ‘Dinner Party’ (which is permanently installed at the Brooklyn Museum). My first impressions were “This book is ugly with chintzy design, fonts in all different colours.” It was put together by the industry great Yolanda Cuomo Design, so what gives? Here’s what. Susan handed over total and collective decision-making to the women. The shape, the images, the text, the layout, the fonts, the sequencing and much more. Susan got out of the way entirely. This is their book. Susan, with others, just helped it along. It’s an amazing socially-engaged project. And I need to stop being such a snob.
“This stategy evolved when I sensed that I couldn’t work with a single image, even with a series of images, as I had before. The complexities were not going to be seen through my images alone. I’m deeply interested in the photograph as a record of an encounter and enjoy putting myself in a timeline of image-makers, alongside other travellers, such anthropologists, colonists, missionaries, and even tourists. I do that to emphasize subjectivity, rather than privilege any single perspective – I see myself as only one of many storytellers.”
Meiselas, S. in Bright, S. (2011), “Encounters with the Dani: Stories from the Baliem Valley,” Art Photography Now, pp 168
307 Assignments and Ideas Edited by Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern The cover is BUMPY. And it’s a cool project. Assignments by many of Photography as a Social Practice friends in here, including Mark Menjivar, Nolan Calisch, Harrell Fletcher and Susan Meiselas (as well as John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, … Continue reading
“We don’t have to be making photographs to be making a difference. In fact, of the many photo-centric acts that increase engagement with—and understanding between—fellow humans, image-making is only one. Researching, collating, preserving, reframing, holding and talking about images form the context for photography in our world. Making an image is only the opening gambit; when an image-maker freezes a moment or place in time within a photo, he or she merely guarantees a long thaw of meanings and associations running from it. How we discuss, use and consume photography shapes the thaw. Andrea Stultiens’ ‘History In Progress Uganda’; Susan Meiselas’ ‘Kurdistan’; and Alyse Emdur’s ‘Prison Landscapes’ are just a few of the many photo-based projects with methodologies from which we can learn.”
From the PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL PRACTICE broadsheet, May 2014.