300 Carlsbad Village Drive #211, Carlsbad
Scott McGee’s photography exhibition, a collection of dive and dryland photography called “Adventures in a Cafe,” opens at Vinaka Cafe in Carlsbad with a morning reception on March 9th from 8AM to 2PM. McGee’s collected images depict life beneath the waves of Southern California and Baja.
“A lot of people have no idea what’s out there,” says McGee of the lush environment that he’s been exploring since his youth as a SCUBA diver in San Diego. The reefs, kelp forest, and nearshore canyons within sight of the local coastline house a diverse array of marine life and underwater structure that most San Diegans don’t get to see. Getting to share the amazing things that he sees beneath the waves is McGee’s main motivation in staging the show.
Apart from wildlife photography, McGee likes to photograph divers in the water and on the beaches, inserting a human element into an image of raw nature.
McGee also hopes to raise people’s awareness of ocean ecology. It can be difficult for people to sympathize with something that’s hidden from view, and McGee believes that seeing the underwater world captured in its beauty will raise awareness of issues that threaten the vibrancy of our coastal seas. The Reader’s recent story on La Jolla Cove’s sea lion population demonstrates, by the exuberant responses from readers, that people identify more strongly with an issue they can see and experience, like the sea lions at the Cove. The health of our kelp forests and underwater reefs, on the other hand, is more secret, partly because those environments aren’t easy to see.
In part, the closeness to real-world political concerns gives “Adventures in a Cafe” a sense of topical relevance. Certain beaches in San Diego are threatened with closure due to the clumsy intersection of laws. Ideas about sustainable fisheries have influenced local businesses and the minds of consumers alike. There’s no doubt that Blackfish caused a stir.
Life underwater may be hidden from view, but it’s all around us, all the time. Scott McGee invites people to come and take a look, without having to get wet.