South Florida Museum to Open ‘Ocean Soul’ Featuring the Underwater Photography of Brian Skerry

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Visitors to the South Florida Museum will voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry to experience the ocean like never before. Ocean Soul, a National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opening on February 7, showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there. The exhibition will run through June 7, 2015. The Museum will hold an exhibition reception on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Matthew Woodside says of the exhibition, “I first saw the Ocean Soul exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. I was amazed at National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry’s vibrant underwater photography. I came away with a new appreciation for the beauty and mystery of the ocean’s creatures, ecosystems and biodiversity.” He continues, “When I learned that the National Geographic Society offered a traveling version of the exhibition, I wanted to bring this wonderful show  to the South Florida Museum community.”   

A lifelong diver and advocate of the ocean, Skerry is a revered underwater photographer who has shot nearly 20 National Geographic magazine features, profiling ocean environments and marine conservation. He has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater documenting the troubles and triumphs of our planet’s oceans. Whether beneath the Arctic ice or in predator-infested waters, Skerry’s dives in extreme conditions have captured rare and intimate moments of marine creatures in their natural settings. His photographs tell compelling stories of survival, from harp seals fleeing execution by commercial hunters in the North Atlantic to damaged coral ecosystems beginning to rebuild themselves in the central Pacific. 

“To make great pictures, a photographer must observe and truly see,” said Skerry. “Over time I learned that the real value is in being patient, slowing down and watching the world around me.” 

According to NOAA, Earth’s oceans cover 71 percent of the planet’s surface, contains 97 percent of our planet’s water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. SFM Curator Matthew Woodside observes, “Oceans have a major influence on many of the Earth’s systems such as weather, climate and global temperatures. Oceans produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere and absorb most of the carbon from it. We consume more than 170 billion pounds of wild fish and shellfish each year.“ He concludes, “I hope this exhibition will inspire people, as it did me, to think a little deeper (pun intended) about our oceans and the life it supports and to simply be amazed at Brian Skerry’s spectacular photography and amazing stories.”

The South Florida Museum will host an Exhibition Reception on Thursday, February 12 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.  Visitors will be welcome to browse the exhibition and speak with Museum staff about the exhibition and related upcoming programs. Light refreshments will be provided in addition to a cash bar.  The Reception is free to Museum Members and $5 admission for the general public. For information and reservations for the Ocean Soul Reception, please contact Susan McCarthy at SMcCarthy@SouthFloridaMuseum.org or 941.746.4131941.746.4131 ext. 13.

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