Dick Blau Headshot

Richard Blau

  • Professor Emeritus, Film


PhD, American Studies, Yale
BA, English, Harvard


Dick Blau’s interests range from psychological portraiture to experimental narrative, from ethnography to performance. He works in photography, film, video, and occasionally as an actor (most recently in The Dahmer Files by UWM alum Chris James Thompson.) His students’ films have won many awards, among them the Grand Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and First Prize for Experimental Film at the Harvard Black Film Festival. One of them, American Movie by Chris Smith (MFA 1999), is listed by the New York Times as one of the 1,000 best films ever made.

Blau’s major and continuing personal work is a series of photographs of his famil(ies). Thicker Than Water covers forty years and counting. It is featured in a book on the theory of domestic photography: Living With His Camera was published by Duke University Press (2003). In his role as a visual ethnographer, Dick is the author of Skyros Carnival (2011); Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia, and he is the co-author of Polka Happiness (1992).