Thicker Than Water

“Since the 70s, artists like Nan Goldin, Dick Blau and Robert Mapplethorpe have used photography to challenge our cultural ambivalence towards images of children. Their project has been to overthrow the 18th-century Romantic idealisation of childhood in art, which fetishised children for what they were not: not sexual, not knowing, not polluted by adult experience, and, in so doing, to challenge the viewers’ interior sense of what childhood ought to look like.”

Libby Brooks,, July 2012

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Blau_cover-smElephant House

“These photographs are mesmerizing. . . . Blau’s photographs do not return us to a state of innocence with these animals. While the tenderness with which they are cared for is clear and their alert intelligence undeniable, these images haunt us because they forcefully convey how different this consciousness is from our own. Their intelligence, together with their beauty and magnificence, for a brief moment relieves us of our egoistical insistence on our imagined primacy as a species.”

Tom Knechtel, Artillery

“You think you know all there is to know about elephants in captivity? Think again. Setting aside the familiar screeds and sentiments, Dick Blau and Nigel Rothfels offer a deep, multidimensional, and nuanced understanding of our relationship to zoo elephants, one that will challenge the animal rights critic and zoo advocate alike. The wonder and sadness evoked by the checkered history of elephant exhibition, the difference and commonality that bind these majestic animals to the people who care for them—it’s all here. You may not change your mind about the keeping of elephants in captivity after reading this book, but you’ll see the fuller picture. And it will be impossible to come away from Elephant House unmoved.”


Polka Happiness coverPolka Happiness

“The book’s appeal extends beyond the academic; polka people will also read this with pleasure. It is printed in the Visual Studies Series, and with its brilliant photographs, it could almost stand as an art photography book.”

Helmi Järviluoma, Popular Music




Skyros Carnival

“Carnival as a ritual event, as a rite de passage, and as a source for musical creativity has been the topic of a wide range of publications inside and outside of ethno musicology – but none has ever reached the surprising experimental character of the multimedia publication, Skyros Carnival. It is highly exciting to see the complementary interplay between the four dimensions of sound, text, photography, and video in this publication. The photography by Dick Blau takes a highlighted role in this interplay, as it is employed not as a mere illustration, but as an aesthetic foundation for the issues dealt with in the text…a groundbreaking example for a new way of writing sensual ethnography in the twenty-first century.”

Eckehard Pistrick, 2013 Yearbook for Traditional Music



Dick_017 bbm coverBright Balkan Morning

“In rapport with the layered texts by the Keils — Dick Blau’s amazing photographs give the book a sense of presence, the intimacy of people viewed up close and distant, always lovingly, with respect and with awe. There’s an inviting pulse here, an energy and inwardness that take human shape; rapt bodies register and make palpable an unheard music. Blau’s camera dances with its subjects and makes them real.”

Alan Trachtenberg, Reading American Photography



Polka Heartland

polka-postcard_lo-res-1polka-postcard_lo-res-back“Polka—the style of dance music that originated in central Europe – has a best friend in Wisconsin, which adopted it as the official state dance. Throw in some mugs of beer, squeeze boxes, and the “Beer Barrel Polka,” and it’s all eye-rolling kitsch. Filmmaker/photographer Dick Blau went beyond the stereotypes to nab the joie de vivre in “Polka Heartland,” an exhibit of 30 incandescent photos that ran in early 2015 at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.”

Ann Christenson, Milwaukee Magazine