Thursday, January 22, 2009

Murray Nelson Center Photo Project

Today we did the final hanging of an "Art in Public Places" project here in my home town of Key Largo. Murray Nelson was a friend of mine, our local County Commissioner, and an ally on the Spiegel Grove project. After Murray died too young, a Monroe County facility he championed (and which was named for him) came to fruition, and as part of the contract there was an open bid for artists of different media to help decorate the facility.

My bid was for underwater photography, no surprise, but as Key Largo is known as the "Diving Capital of the World" I wanted to feature images shot exclusively in these waters off Key Largo. My concept was to use a navigational map of the region as a background (which NOAA was kind enough to donate in digital form) and then use large photographs encased in Plexiglas and offset from the chart by special stand-off hardware. The photographs chosen were situated on the map to be closely accurate to where the photos were actually taken. For example, the shot of the Christ of the Abyss Statue is located adjacent to Key Largo Dry Rocks, the Duane shipwreck about where it is truly located, and the schooling grunts so typical of Snapper Ledge near where the reef would be found on the map. Not exact, of course, for the scale of the prints is much too large relative to any pinpoint location on a chart, but there is a spirit of accuracy anyway.

Associated Photo in Miami did the printing and installation, and I did the photography and file preparation for the very large prints. As the largest were 40x60 inches each, I was glad to have the ultra-high resolution RAW files from my Canon EOS 1DS MKIII and MKII camera bodies. They held the enlargement very well, even at close viewing distances.

The images above show the chronology of the project, from bare walls, through the installation of the navigational map in sections, and finally to the installation of the prints.

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