Susan Meiselas’s new book Eyes Open features 23 photography projects for curious kids

The Magnum photographer’s latest book reinterprets her cult classic Learn to See for young people.

19 February 2021

Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas has teamed up with Aperture to create a new sourcebook of photography ideas for kids. Titled Eyes Open, the publication aims to engage kids with the world through the camera. Featuring 23 projects hoping to inspire and ignite discovery, Eyes Open documents photographs from young people around the world, as well as work by professionals demonstrating how easy it is to expand on a simple idea.

Aimed at aspiring photographers, or anyone willing to express themselves creatively, the 160-page volume is publicly available as of yesterday (18 February 2021). Ideal for any young person from the ages of nine and upwards, the book is grounded in observation and storytelling: two traits that the award-winning Meiselas is well known for. The photographer says of the project in a press release: “Each time, I’d ask, ‘So why did you take that picture?’ We’d try to figure out what was in the photograph that had drawn them to make it. Each time, this process of discovery led to a story.”

The projects detailed in the book were carefully chosen so kids can revisit them time and time again, each occasion delivering different results. Additionally, artists such as Robert Adams, Dawoud Bey, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Graciela Iturbide and Cindy Sherman also offer a glimpse into their respective creative processes, sharing wise words on the matter. The projects in question touch on notions of imagined landscapes, collage, portraits in disguise and same but different; just a handful of examples.

Eyes Open is loosely inspired by Meiselas’ previous cult classic, Learn to See, a sourcebook of ideas from and for teachers and students published by the Polaroid Foundation in 1974. Reimagining this volume nearly 50 years later, Eyes Open saw Meiselas work with students and their work, not to mention an array of teachers who also submitted ideas for the newly published tome.

Meiselas, who is currently a photographer at Magnum Foundation, joined the group in 1976. Over the years, she has received numerous awards after graduating from Harvard University with an MA in visual education, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal to the Hasselblad Foundation Photography Prize and many more. Amongst her other accolades, she is also a MacArthur Fellow.

GallerySusan Meiselas: Eyes Open: 23 Photography Projects for Curious Kids (Copyright © Susan Meiselas, 2021)

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Susan Meiselas: Eyes Open: 23 Photography Projects for Curious Kids (Copyright © Susan Meiselas, 2021)

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Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.

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