A Delicate Balance
Nealy Blau, Erika Langley, and Annie Marie Musselman: Print Sponsorship Recipients
On view: May 11 – June 5, 2007
Viewing dioramas inside Natural History Museums can be a deliriously disorienting, slightly eerie and discordant visual experience. Yet photographing them, Nealy Blau often feels or senses a presence in them that parallels her experiences in Nature in fascinating and subversive ways. Like the long tradition of landscape photographers before her, the seed of her desire to photograph dioramas comes from a similar source. Simply awe. Blau is continually astounded and moved by the enchanting illusionary effects and sense of wonder these constructions can impart. She is not alone. Spending hours and days inside museums it is striking to overhear the same conversations between children and adults over and over again. Namely, the children want to know if the display is real. Is this one real? That one? It doesn’t matter how many times they are told the contrary, and why shouldn’t they remain unconvinced. Where else can we experience such a curious transformation from the biological and factual into the fluid realm of the imagination?
Nealy Blau is represented locally by the G. Gibson Gallery. Her work has been included in several shows in the Northwest Region . She received the Photographic Center Northwest Printing Sponsorship, 2004, Cannon Emerging Photographer Award, 2002, University of California Regents Grant, 1991, Corwin Award, First Prize Outstanding Short Film, 1991. She is in the collections of 4Culture, King County, Photographic Center Northwest, Safeco Insurance.
Photography by its very nature captures what is ephemeral: a moment frozen in time. In the case of this project, Erika Langley’s subject is actively vanishing, and pictures are the only things that endure.
The town of North Cove, Washington began falling into the ocean in the early 1900’s. Four square miles of coastline have disappeared, including a town with its lighthouse, schoolhouse, post office, and Coast Guard station. Nobody knows exactly why. What is certain is that 150 feet of beach disappear every year. “Washaway Beach” is recognized as one of the fastest eroding places in our hemisphere, and as that rarity, affordable beach property, Langley could not resist investing herself.
Erika loves the ferocity of the beach, its terrible beauty and monuments to the foiled hand of man. She watches her fellow watchers. They attend the high tides with the respect of a wake and the fascination of a train wreck. Langley photographs constantly and the places that she sees vanish. She is a storyteller, stalking the beach into permanence.
Annie Marie Musselman
Sarvey Wildlife Project
Annie Marie Musselman is a photographer living and working in Seattle, Washington.
Five years ago, Musselman started photographing at the Sarvey Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Arlington, Washington. Injured, wild animals throughout the Northwest are brought to Sarvey for any number of reasons, (i.e. two brown bears were found in a truck, crossing the border from Canada to Washington, where they were being tortured and used to smuggle drugs because dogs are afraid to go near them). In the spring, the center experiences a high volume of injured or orphaned animals—most of them would not make it if it weren’t for the caring individuals who find them and bring them to Sarvey. Not all the animals brought to the center make it back home. Musselman learned a lot about the meaning of life and its delicate balance at Sarvey. She captures the relationship involving the animals and those that care for them and love them. She explores the spiritual nature these animals embody. Musselman received a 4Culture grant to continue her story for a year that ended with a show at the Seattle Downtown Public Library in 2006. Her Sarvey images were also chosen to appear in the American Photography book 22 Juried by Kathy Ryan. She received the PCNW Printing Sponsorship in 2005.