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Art & Life with Neely Benn of Just Nee Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neely Benn, Just Nee Photography.

Neely, Just Nee Photography, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My passion for Urban Exploration (URBEX) organically grew from getting completely lost! After becoming separated from a friend at an art show in St. Louis I found myself in an URBEX photographer’s booth, work which I had never seen before. The moment I saw a photograph of a collapsed sink tagged with, “Please Wash Your Hands,” that was it for me. The style and content of urban decay spoke to me so deeply. The next day, I drove straight to the building with that bathroom from the art fair and I embarked on my first urban exploration. St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis. I was hooked and my life changed after that. URBEX is now a permanent lens in how I see and interpret the world. I am also a psychotherapist and I have found that metaphors related to URBEX allow me to connect deeper with my patients and enhances their connection and understanding of themselves.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Fascinated with human strength and resilience, my photography focuses on urban exploration (URBEX). I see a strong connection between abandoned places and the complexity of the human condition. On days where we are well, we make sense to ourselves and seemingly to others, leaving us standing tall and filled with purpose and life. Over time, we inherently face unexpected events forcing us to absorb the frightening aches of change. Sometimes this can leave us feeling rejected, abandoned or empty. In this state of ruins, it is easy to forget one’s purpose, meaning and uniqueness. My photography is meant to resurrect hope and remind us that healing can grow from the most vulnerable and unexpected places. This allows the creation of complicated beginnings that deserve thoughtfulness and attention, which ultimately form connections that are unique, vibrant and defiant of our decay.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think we live in a very interesting age when it comes to social media. Personally I believe the most precious aspects of being human includes understanding our emotions and intentions, nurturing self-worth and becoming vulnerable… all avenues that lead to our resilience and authenticity. While there are many benefits to social media, a lot of the time these platforms interrupt our most intimate and resilient qualities that make us magnificent. We are overloaded with data and information that is not necessarily grounding or healthy for us. Because of the various algorithms, saturation, hidden motivations and misuse (both from the creators and users), it can be challenging to share content across social media in a meaningful and healthy format that will successfully reach those who may resonate.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work and poetry can be found at www. and all prints can be viewed via I feel very fortunate to have had several exhibitions/openings and art shows in Chicago. All showings are announced are my Web site, Etsy page and instagram feed.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
© Just Nee Photography

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