Shell Museum Introduces Nocturnal Photography Exhibition

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Beginning on Dec. 10, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will offer a new exhibition titled Blackwater Moments: Nocturnal Photography of Open-Ocean Mollusks. The exhibition will be on view through May 30, 2022 on the second floor of the Museum during regular Museum hours.

“In the open ocean at night, many animals move up from deeper water to feed,” said José H. Leal, Ph.D., Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Science Director and Curator, who organized the exhibition. “Divers and underwater photographers Linda Ianniello and Susan Mears take remarkable images of marine life swimming at night by practicing the adventuresome, emerging art form of blackwater photography.”

The unusual, elegant, nocturnal images featured in this exhibition were taken by Linda and Susan in the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately five miles off the East Coast of Florida and at depths of between fifty and one hundred feet. These excursions, known as blackwater dives, carry divers along the Gulf Stream for a distance of up to seven miles during a 90-minute dive, providing opportunities to photograph animals as they emerge from the depths and move through the Gulf Stream.

Blackwater Moments features some 30 photographs by Linda and Susan, with a focus on pictures they have made of open-ocean mollusks. Species represented include the Blanket Octopus, Argonauts, Sea Butterflies, and others. The exhibition also includes a section about blackwater diving and the daring methods that produce these beautiful images.

Linda and Susan have co-authored the book Blackwater Creatures – A Guide to Southeast Florida Blackwater Diving, which chronicles highlights of over 500 blackwater expeditions. On March 15, 2022, Linda will give an Artist Talk at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum to discuss the exhibition and their work. Visit for more information and to register.

About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of shells, the mollusks that create them, and their ecosystems. Permanent exhibitions on view include the Great Hall of Shells which displays highlights of the Museum’s collection of some 500,000 shells, as well as the Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 50 species of marine life. For more information on the Museum, visit or call (239) 395-2233.

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