Mermaids on the Coast – Santa Barbara News-Press


Opening of a new exhibition at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

“The Mermaid on the Moss” is part of the photos from “Mermaids: Visualization of Myths and Legends – Photograph by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends”. This photo was taken by Ralph A. Clevenger, who took his summer school at the Brooks Institute of Photography on a dive boat off the Channel Islands, with professional models in mermaid outfits.

Mermaids swim from the depths of the ocean to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

They will be there for photo ops with these mermaids on November 13 to celebrate a new exhibit, “Mermaids: Visualizing Myths & Legends – Photograph by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends”.

The sirens will pose for photos from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., by appointment. The cost is $ 10 for museum members and $ 30 for non-members.

The exhibition will open on November 11 and will remain at the museum until March 31. The original plan called for the exhibit to open on April 22, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

“Mermaids: Visualizing Myths and Legends” consists of 16 images printed on canvas by Mr. Clevenger and his friends. Most of the photos were part of an underwater photography course Mr. Clevenger taught at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.

The instructor arranged for professional sirens to join his class during the summers on a dive boat to the Channel Islands, according to a press release.

The exhibit includes this photo of Eryn Brydon.

“There is no doubt how hard the mermaids worked on these images,” Clevenger said.

“Wearing fabric-covered monofin tails or silicone molded tails, they could swim farther and faster than any of us,” he said. “While the students wore wetsuits in the cool 70-degree water, the mermaids were nearly naked, spending more than 30 minutes in the water at a time during a photoshoot.”

Mr Clevenger said models should hold their breath and dive in, then release their breath and gracefully pose for the photo. They came back to the surface and maintained this streak all day.

“We have always provided safety divers, paddle boards for mermaids to rest on, as well as hot showers and hot drinks on the boat between shots,” Clevenger said.

Mr. Clevenger grew up on the coast of North Africa and started diving with his father in the Mediterranean Sea at the age of 7. He studied zoology and worked for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego as a diver / biologist before attending the Brooks Institute. of Photography.

Mr. Clevenger was a senior faculty member at the Brooks Institute for 33 years.

Today, the Santa Barbara photographer continues to focus on eco-travel location and video photography projects, environmental portraits, wildlife and underwater subjects. He has traveled on assignments for clients such as Fox Sports, the University of California, the Denali National Park Wilderness Center, and the National Marine Sanctuaries.

His photos have been published in Audubon, Afar, Islands, Oceans, Nature’s Best, National Geographic, Terre Sauvage and other national and international publications. He is the author of the book “Photographing Nature”, published by New Riders.

e-mail: [email protected]

for your information

“Mermaids: Visualizing Myths & Legends – Photograph by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends” will be on display from November 11 to March 31 at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Tuesday. The museum is closed on Wednesdays.

Admission costs $ 8 for 18-64 year olds and $ 5 for people aged 65 and over, students with ID, and youth aged 6 to 17. Children aged 1 to 5, active military personnel, and museum members receive free admission. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a person 16 or older.

A photo op with mermaids to mark the opening of the new exhibit will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on November 13 at the museum. This is by appointment, which you can make by calling the museum at 805-456-8747 or by going to

The cost of the photo shoot is $ 10 for museum members and $ 30 for non-members.

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