September 23rd at the Griffin Museum: “Requiem” Gallery Talk by Susan May Tell

NYC-based photographer Susan May Tell‘s traveling exhibition “A REQUIEM: TRIBUTE TO THE SPIRITUAL SPACE AT AUSCHWITZ is on view in the main space at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, Massachusetts) through November 1.   The home page of Susan’s website currently features an installation view of this exhibition at the Griffin.

On Wednesday night September 23rd Susan will give a gallery talk at 7 p.m.; she will sign copies of her self-published catalogue for the exhibition, featuring poetry by Stanley Kunitz, following her presentation.


From the Griffin’s exhibitions webpage:

“While traveling to Prague and Budapest in Eastern Europe, photographer Susan May Tell learned of an overnight train to Krakow, Poland, and from there, a short local train ride to Auschwitz.

She took the opportunity to visit the concentration camp where, she says, “I walked the grounds in silence, in meditation, photographing the aesthetics, the mood, the sense of foreboding – and tried to capture the energy that lives in that space.”

A Requiem: Tribute to the Spiritual Space at Auschwitz, a series of her photographs, is featured in the Main Gallery at the Griffin Museum of Photography September 10 through November 1. A reception is September 16, 7-8:30 p.m.

“In Auschwitz, I felt the presence of its ghosts guiding me, guiding my camera, and was then, and continue to be now, moved to share the tragedy of this place through the images I saw through my lens,” says Tell.

Auschwitz was the largest of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps and where between 1.3 million and 1.5 million people — 90 percent of whom were Jewish – were murdered in gas chambers.

Tell’s photographs are printed 6-by-4 feet on gelatin silver paper, full frame, and purposefully left unframed. “Hopefully, visitors will find these images reveal the presence of unspeakable horror, convey the ever present pathos of desolation, and give a real sense of the large scale of this death camp,” Tell says.

She adds, “Equally important to my artistic vision is my commitment to Auschwitz as a meditation on decay and memory. Like other sacred grounds that are decaying, Auschwitz today is disappearing and raises questions about whether places of this kind should be restored, and the importance of memory and commemoration.”

Tell worked as a freelance and staff photojournalist for many years. Based in Cairo for 4 years, she covered the Middle-East photographing inside Iran, Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Libya, Israel and the Sudan. Later, based in Paris, she photographed the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, and personalities including Jeanne Moreau, Roman Polanski, Youssou N’Dour and Marcello Mastroianni. The first solo exhibition of her fine art photography was in 1982. A Requiem was shown at the Museum of Art/ Fort Lauderdale in 2005. Tell was awarded first place in Photowork 09 by Malcolm Daniel, curator of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Griffin Museum of Photography is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am – 5 pm; Friday 11 am – 4 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, noon – 4 pm. The Museum is closed on Monday. Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for seniors. Members and children under 12 are admitted free. Admission is free to all every Thursday. For more information, call 781-729-1158.”

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