Interview by Clint Willour
11 x 11 inches
|Since early childhood Nealy Blau has spent time wandering the halls of natural history museums which for her became places to escape and daydream. Drawn to the mysterious and sometimes eerie experience of these constructed unnatural settings, she found her way to photographing the “real nature” within the diorama cases: plants, grasses, trees. Her images are melancholic and moody, psychologically charged, and float between reality and the surreal. “I want the images to capture a presence. When I am editing the images, that is always the first thing I am looking for. It is either there or not for me. I think these kinds of museums present complex experiences and are complex representations of nature. I am interested in photographing a personal experience of being there and not necessarily documenting the diorama,” Blau says. Images from her series Elsewhere were photographed inside natural history museums in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, and Tacoma.
Nealy Blau's photographs have been exhibited throughout the Northwest. She has received a University of California Regents Grant, the Cannon Emerging Photographer Award, 2002, and the Photographic Center Northwest Printing Sponsorship, 2004. Her works are in the collections of 4Culture, King County, Safeco Insurance, Microsoft Corporation, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.