We see Biscayne Bay nearly daily, but are we really looking? Miami-bred artist Barry Fellman's photos of the mangrove ecosystem that nestles Miami are challenging beyond the glamour shots that populate tourist brochures: with a look at the hidden world inches below the surface, all of a sudden Biscayne is mysterious, alien, and more than a little thrilling.
"The elements that make up this zone between sea and land are rich and diverse," Fellman said. "They are constantly changing and are a continuing source of inspiration. They challenge me to reinvent the way I see, much as they reinvent the way they assemble themselves after each change in tide."
The South Dade native, who studied art and art history at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, has been capturing mangrove marine life for more than 20 years. His latest exhibition Mangrove Coast is currently on view at Miami Science Museum, where art meets science and the connection is made between the mangrove ecosystem and the prosperity of Miami's recreational and commercial life. Not only does the crucial habitat protect shorelines, it recycles nutrients, serves as breeding and feeding grounds for hundreds of species, and supports a wide range of marine life, amphibians, birds, and mammals.
"I hope to share the sense of awe and excitement I feel about the wonders in our own back yard," said Fellman, who first fell in love with the delicate mangrove systems as a child. "I hope they provoke you to see the familiar in new ways, and I hope they help you feel a closer connection to our natural landscape."
Mangrove Coast is on view at Miami Science Museum through March 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. $9.30 and up for children; $12.70 and up for adults.
Images Barry Fellman courtesy Miami Science Museum.