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"Fragile Waters" opens June 1 at The Mariners' Museum

5/16/2013, 10:52 a.m.

On June 1 The Mariners’ Museum opens Fragile Waters, a major exhibition featuring black-and-white water photography of the marine environment by the 20th century’s preeminent photographer, Ansel Adams.

"Fragile Waters" includes images by Adams that have never before been displayed in public. In addition to Adams, Fragile Waters features the photography of living legends Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly.

"Fragile Waters" employs a different tact in showcasing images of the world’s waterways, forgoing color in favor of dramatic black-and-white photography. The exhibition was developed against the backdrop of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the 2011 events at Fukushima, Japan, with the aim of highlighting the beauty, power and vulnerability of our greatest natural resource.

"Fragile Waters" features 117 images, with subject matters ranging from an aquifer under Death Valley, to the waterfalls of Yosemite, to a stories-tall wall of ice in Antarctica.

Adams’ renowned photography of the American West became the face of the wilderness. Many credit him with the acceptance of photography as fine art. He was not only a photographer, but also a respected conservationist and teacher. Brooks is the son of the founder of the famed Brooks Institute of Photography, in Santa Barbara, Calif., which Brooks led for many years. Called “the master of light in the sea,” Brooks has been a trailblazer in the development and technique of underwater photography. Monnelly has been called “the Ansel Adams of the wetlands” for her work in the Massachusetts Great Marsh, shooting with a 4x5 camera. She has also photographed in the lava fields of Hawaii, the California dessert, in Iceland and in Maine.

"Fragile Waters" was curated by Adams’ daughter-in-law, Jeanne Adams. Jeanne Adams, as well as Brooks and Monnelly, will speak and offer tours at both the May 30 opening for Mariners’ Museum members, and at the June 1 public opening. Monnelly will also lead a nature walk and gallery tour on June 29, and Brooks will offer a lecture on July 24, and a gallery tour on July 25.

A component of the exhibition is its Community Photography Show, which invites the public to submit black-and-white water images that will be displayed in proximity to "Fragile Waters". Other "Fragile Waters" programs over the summer include a June 22 Pinhole Camera Workshop, a July 13 Sun Print Workshop and an Aug. 10 Photography Scavenger Hunt in the Park.

Visit MarinersMuseum.org/fragilewaters for more information on Fragile Waters and its programs, "Fragile Waters", a traveling exhibition, will remain at the Museum through Sept. 2, 2013.

The Mariners’ Museum, an educational, non-profit institution accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is home to the USS Monitor Center, and is surrounded by the 550-acre Mariners’ Museum Park, the largest privately maintained park open to the public in North America. The Mariners’ Museum Library, housed at Christopher Newport University, is the largest maritime library in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information, visit www.MarinersMuseum.org.