What really caught my eye was her ideas about returning people's images to them.
Taking photographs, she once said in an interview with Nicaraguan television, “is sometimes the least you can do.”The "repatriation of work" that Meiselas proposes certainly is different from the one-way exercise in voyeurism that photography usually becomes, no matter how good the motive. It raises difficult questions about the relationship between photographer and subject, and the ownership of images.
Much of what drives Ms. Meiselas’s work is a desire to step back through the looking glass to find the people she once photographed, to forge connections and return their pictures to them.
“We take pictures away and we don’t bring them back,” she said. “That became a central quest for me — relinking, revisiting, the repatriation of work: it’s become a kind of motif in my thinking.”
The notion of moving in circles is now central to her work, but in a way, she has long been doing it. She laments the demise of the Polaroid camera because it allowed her to give a photograph, on the spot, to people who did not have cameras of their own.
In a project involving the Kurds, she sought to restore a collective memory to a dispossessed people, spending several years searching for photographs that were scanned into an online archive of Kurdish history, “akaKurdistan” (akakurdistan.com).