“And so it is that most people have no idea how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is revealed in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf.” Rainer Maria Rilke, poet.

A quiet, meditative, intuitive photographer, I am drawn to the overlooked and often unnoticed, the fragile details contained in the ordinary.

My process, when photographing, is to walk around, slowly, led by my camera lens and instincts and stop only when I feel the “so much depends upon” moment. Which is when I click the shutter. That quote is from another poet, William Carlos Williams, who may be my greatest artistic inspiration.

The eye sees what the heart feels.

Structured Lyricism is the theme that unites all of Susan May Tell’s work, including this new work Life-Affirming.



Susan May Tell is known for her celebrated career in photography—as fine artist, photojournalist and photo editor. Identified as a “poet with a camera” she is a highly sought after speaker, portfolio reviewer (most recently at B&H’s BILD Expo in 2023), juror of fine art photography competitions as well as her support of emerging artists.

Tell has been an Artist in Residence at MacDowell, Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The Smithsonian Museum has included her work in its Samuel Wagstaff Collection, and Columbia University collected her Oral History and Catalog of Works. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale; Griffin Museum of Photography; Capital University; and University of California/San Francisco.

Her work was featured in 15 exhibitions in 2023 and is currently on view at FotoNostrum in Barcelona. It is exhibited in scores of brick-and-mortar galleries coast-to-coast, featured in ARTnews, New York Times, L’Oeil de la Photographie and many other influential publications. It is currently on view at FotoNostrum in Barcelona. Her books will be on sale at the one-day ASMP Book Fair on April 28th, 2024 to coincide with AIPAD and Printed Matter, held nearby in Manhattan.

Elizabeth Avedon included her work in “fossils of time + light” — a book she curated and designed for the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. Malcolm Daniel, then Director in Charge, Photography, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, awarded her First Place for an exhibition he curated for the Barrett Art Center.

During Tell’s exciting 25-year career as a photojournalist her clients included pre-eminent American publications such as the LIFE, TIME, Newsweek and the New York Times; her photos also graced their covers. Tell worked a decade overseas, first as the Middle-East photographer for Marcel Saba’s agencies based in Cairo, then as his European photographer based in Paris. After returning to her hometown, Manhattan, she spent a decade as staff photographer and photo editor for the New York Post. Her stories ran the gamut from the Women Fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, Iran-Iraq war, NBA Finals and Egypt’s DEA to heads of state, actors, and celebrities.

Inexorably and irresistibly, Tell was drawn back to photographing personal work.

She is currently creating an archive of her FIFTY years of photographs.


More about Susan and her work can be found at https://www.susanmaytell.com/