Other Oceans:
Introduction by Thomas Farber, Photographs By Wayne Levin, Essays by Bruce A. Carlson and Frank Stewart

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.

Critical Praise

"An absolutely knockout book of photos, supported by excellent, thought-provoking writing."

-- Gavan Daws, Author, A Dream of Islands and The Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands

"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."

-- Robb Bonnell, Honolulu Weekly

"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.

Levin's photography probably isn't familiar to many outside of the United States, and the broader community of those who are fascinated by the ocean, but he's a Hawaii-based photographer who, working largely in black and white, has spent the best part of the last three decades documenting a very personal portrait of the ocean and its inhabitants. Although he has explored seas further afield, most of his photographs have been taken in the waters around his home, capturing surfers and divers and, most remarkably, what he describes as the resident spirits of the seas - the whales, dolphins, turtles and fish that move beneath the surface, largely unseen.

The best of his photographs capture something of the immensity and mysteriousness of the ocean, its elusive and constantly-changing beauty. Some are collected together in Other Oceans and Through a Liquid Mirror, both of which feature introductions by Thomas Farber, author of the remarkable The Face of the Deep and On Water. But he also operates a beautiful website, Wayne Levin Images, which draws together a terrific selection of his work, and is well worth a visit."

-- James Bradley, author of The Resurrectionist