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Marine Megatropolis on View at the Santa Barbara Airport

Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) Photographs by Bob Evans is now on view at the Santa Barbara Airport. Open to the public, the exhibition is located in the main lobby, just beyond the main entrance of the airport terminal.

Featuring the underwater photography of entrepreneur, visionary, and photographer Bob Evans, the exhibit includes 16 spectacular images from below the offshore oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, selected from expeditions undertaken by Bob Evans and Andrew J. McMullen of La Mer Bleu Productions. Evans and McMullen were the first independent underwater photographers given carte blanche access to the area. Their photography documents marine life as it developed beneath the platforms.

“We are fortunate in Santa Barbara to live on the water and directly experience the rich maritime history of our channel,” said SBMM Curator Emily Falke. “In the spirit of building community, SBMM and SBA worked together to exhibit Marine Megatropolis, providing an immediate unique experience to viewers visiting from all over the world.”

The offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel are a unique vertical habitat, offering marine life shadows and shelter from predators and structure on which to anchor. Open ocean water flows by and food is abundant. Life propagates and creates a thriving community we call Marine Megatropolis. 

“It is an honor to share the progeny of our adventures with visitors and those traveling home through Santa Barbara Airport,” said Photographer Bob Evans. “Please take time to look at the walls. As you fly over the channel, let my photographs inspire you to visualize what lives below. Imagine what it was like to be just out of college and spending our days diving together with friends. Our 35′ research vessel moored next to these massive jungle gyms, blanketed with marine life and schooling fish. We uncovered a beautiful and unique marine ecosystem, since documented as more productive than any reef existing worldwide. Its existence arising from these structures parallels the paradox between our dependence on fossil fuels and the environment that is Santa Barbara.”

Marine Megatropolis will be on view until the end of the year. All are invited to an opening reception at the Santa Barbara Airport on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at 4:30 p.m.

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