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Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends through Photography An Exhibit by Ralph Clevenger and Friends

Sunday, December 19, 2021, 6:00 PM - 1:00 AM


The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to announce the long-awaited re-opening of the exhibit, Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends through Photography, 16 images printed on canvas by Ralph Clevenger and friends. Originally scheduled to open on April 22, 2020, the exhibit was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic closures. Now, thanks to the generous support of Mimi Michaelis, the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation the exhibit will be open to the public from November 11, 2021, through April 30, 2022. There will also be mermaid photo opportunities at the museum by appointment on Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 11:30am-12:30pm and 1-2pm, $10 for museum members and $30 for non-members. Most of the 16 images displayed in the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum's gallery exhibit--Visualizing the Myths and Legends of Mermaids through Photography--were part of an underwater photography course Ralph Clevenger taught at Brooks Institute. Each summer students in the class would spend several days living on a dive boat off the Channel Islands where they would work on their assignments. He would invite professional mermaids to join the class on the boat and work with the students creating portraits, visual stories, and conceptual images for their final class portfolios. In Ralph's own words, as the students worked, the models faced a number of difficulties: "There is no question about how hard the mermaids worked for these images. Wearing cloth-covered monofin tails or silicone molded tails they could swim farther and faster than any of us. While students wore wetsuits in the cool 70° water, the mermaids were nearly naked, spending upwards of thirty minutes in the water at a time during a photo shoot." Further, Clevenger said, "The models had to hold their breath and repeatedly dive down, release their breath, so their face looked natural, pose gracefully, then return to the surface. They did this over and over, all day long.

Cost: Free with museum admission

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113 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

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