Millions of people visit aquariums each year. These showplaces are invaluable educational tools and, more importantly, provide a window into a mysterious world that few of us will ever experience firsthand. But that world is increasingly threatened by human misuse— by pollution, over-fishing, global warming. Accompanying the waste and devastation is a global trend toward building bigger, more fantastic aquariums. Marvels of architecture and engineering, these artificial oceans seem to be our way of preserving the sea even as we destroy it.
The stunning black and white duotones presented in Other Oceans are the result of visits to fourteen aquaria in the United States and Japan and diving trips off the coasts of California (including Santa Barbara Island), Hawai'i, and Midway Atoll. In his work, award-winning photographer Wayne Levin seeks to understand and depict not only our complex relationship with captive marine life, but our love affair with technology, our desire for contact with other species, our impulse to educate, our capacity to dominate. Together with text by Thomas Farber and essays by Bruce A. Carlson, director of the Waikiki Aquarium, and nature writer and poet Frank Stewart, the captivating images gathered here will forever change the way we view these ‘other oceans.'
Wayne Levin's photographs have appeared in magazines and books, including Kalaupapa: A Portrait and Kaho'olawe: Nâ Leo o Kanaloa. His most recent book, Through a Liquid Mirror, done in collaboration with Thomas Farber, was voted 1998 Book of the Year by the Hawai'i Book Publishers Association. Thomas Farber is the author of numerous works of fiction and creative nonfiction, including The Lover's Question, The Face of the Deep, and On Water.
"An absolutely knockout book of photos, supported by excellent, thought-provoking writing."
"Other Oceans sets off as a cautionary tale of what might be lost, a visual eulogy of the living. Once the aquatic tour begins, however, this somber air gives way to serenity, then awe, as Levin's photographs glide in a series of underwater images, a sea of tranquility as beautiful and remote as that celestial other...[Levin's] images are simply lush, thick with a wild majesty. Torrents from the unseen world offshore wash over the viewer in a spectral gallery of sharks, dolphins and turtles...In Other Oceans Levin does the unthinkable, harnessing the ocean and bringing it ashore, intact, for the world to see."
"Flicking through some books the other night, I came across my copy of Wayne
Levin's Other Oceans. It's a remarkable book, showcasing a series of black
and white photos taken by Levin in aquariums around the world, and
juxtaposing an almost sacred sense of the mysteriousness and wonder of the
ocean and its inhabitants with the hushed, oddly utilitarian surfaces of the
aquariums themselves. It is a juxtaposition that is haunting because it
speaks so directly to our yearning for communion with the otherness we see
embodied in the ocean and its inhabitants. But it is also, as Thomas Farber
points out in his introduction, unsettling for the way it reminds us that if
we do not change the path we are on, and quickly, it will not be long before
the only way we will know the ocean's inhabitants will be as creatures in
submarine zoos of the sort featured in Levin's photographs.