Legally blind artist captures decades of photos at Casino Point Dive Park
Catalina Museum for Art & History is presenting the art installation, Below the Surface: The Catalina Photographs of Bruce Hall, featuring a collection of underwater photographs captured over decades at Catalina’s Casino Point Dive Park, the country’s earliest underwater preserve. The art installation is curated by guest curator, Douglas McCulloh, and is currently on view through January 2024.
Prominent Southern California artist Bruce Hall is a legally blind underwater photographer. The diagnosis of legal blindness can have many different effects on people. For Hall, he can see something a few inches away from him, but beyond that, the world turns into a “shaky out-of-focus fog.”
The photographs in the art installation were captured over many years in the Casino Point Dive Park. The park is a realm accessible with scuba gear or snorkel and mask. While it can be experienced and photographed; it is a place that cannot be fully inhabited. That Hall focuses his fine art photography on the underwater world comes as no surprise, as he has spent a lifetime using a camera to engage with an equally foreign visual world—everyday life.
Most photographers see in order to photograph. Hall photographs in order to see. “I think all photographers take pictures in order to see, but for me it’s a necessity,” commented Hall. ” I can’t see without optical devices like cameras. Therefore, it’s become an obsession. It’s beyond being in love with cameras: I need cameras.”
“Most people have absolutely no idea what is under the ocean. Bruce Hall captures images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our oceans, allowing us to experience the underwater environment through his eyes. There is a closeness to the marine life that borders on the intimate, that has the power to elicit a visceral response”, said Dr. Sheila Bergman, Executive Director of the museum.
“We are thrilled to showcase Bruce Hall’s extraordinary underwater photography. His unique perspective creates a stunning visual experience that is truly captivating. We cannot wait for our visitors to be inspired by his work,” said Johnny Sampson, Deputy Director and Chief Curator for the museum.
Hall’s work has been published in numerous textbooks, magazines including Discover Diving, Nature’s Best Photography, Spirit Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic, as well as shown in art exhibitions internationally including at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian; UCR/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.; Photo San Francisco; Photo L.A.; Falcon Arts Complex, Moscow, Russia; Galeria De Arte, Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, Mexico; Center for Visual Art, Denver, Colorado; The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg; and Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia.
For more information about Below the Surface: Catalina Photographs of Bruce Hall art installation at Catalina Museum for Art & History, visit CatalinaMuseum.org/whats-happening.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. For more information about the Catalina Museum for Art & History, visit CatalinaMuseum.org. To stay connected, follow the museum’s social media @CatalinaMuseum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.