Friday, March 22, 2013

1950’s Underwater Photography by Bruce Mozert

Back in the 1950’s, Bruce Mozert was capturing elaborate underwater scenes without the help of any digital means.

Mozert was born in Newark, Ohio, in 1916 and followed his sister Zoë to New York City in the mid-'30s; she became a renowned pinup artist, he a photographer. On his way to an assignment in Miami in 1938, he detoured to Silver Springs because he'd heard that Johnny Weissmuller was filming one of his Tarzan movies there. Mozert says that when he stuck out his hand to shake Weissmuller's, the former Olympian responded by hoisting him in the air. Eventually, the movie star left; Mozert stayed.

He likes to say that he "took to photography like a duck takes to water." But "like a fish" might be closer to the mark. At Silver Springs, Mozert pioneered underwater photography, building waterproof housings that allowed him to go deep with a camera in hand. For some 45 years (except for service with the Army Air Forces during World War II), he created scenes of people—comely young women, for the most part—talking on the phone, playing golf, reading the newspaper...underwater, all the better to show off the wondrous clarity of Silver Springs' waters.

(© Bruce Mozert / University Press of Florida, via Photojojo! and Smithsonian)

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