Interview by Clint Willour.
Published by Decode Books
Since early childhood, Seattle photographer Nealy Blau (born 1968) has wandered the halls of natural history museums, finding escape and reverie in the mysterious and sometimes eerie dioramas of constructed nature scenes. In Elsewhere, Blau photographs these dioramas as though they were actual vistas, conspiring with the interactions between their three-dimensional components and the painted backdrops to compel her images to the brink of reality. “I found that if I employed techniques that blurred the perceptions of what is real and what is not I could focus on something more abstract and essential and mysterious,” she says, in an interview with Clint Willour at the end of this volume. Photographers have explored the museum diorama before, but usually in order to trade on their kitsch appeal; Blau instead explores their enchanting melancholia, and titles each picture to indicate the location, at natural history museums in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara and Tacoma. Brimming with gift appeal, Elsewhere was featured as one of Oprah Winfrey's favorite books in the December 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
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