Original Background Image of the MUA Homepage.
Over the past few years as Director and web designer for the Museum of Underwater Archaeology I have had the great privilege to work with nearly one hundred underwater archaeologists from around the world. In that capacity I have edited and prepared nearly 1000 images for online publication. I have often been struck by the power of images beyond their capacity to capture technical and archaeological information. More than once I've thought, "that is an amazing image!"
Why should that be the case? As archaeologists we are gathering data certainly but all images represent choices, some intentional, some not, but those choices often betray the researcher's own feelings and attitudes about the projects they work on. I've met few archaeologists who are not passionate to some degree or another about our profession. It often shows. It sneaks into how we frame the shot, the maps we select, and the sketches we make. It's wonderful when that happens.
Perhaps it is no surprise then that a growing trend in joint archaeology / art projects has become incredibly popular. The MUA has several posts that touch on this subject and they have always been well received by the public. This led me to wonder how professional artists might view the hundreds of images currently displayed on the MUA website. We recently invited two professional artists, Elinor Mossip and Wendy Savage, to peruse our pages to see if any of the images spoke to them as artists and if so to select a few and share them with our audience. Their choices and thoughtful comments on six images make up this first ever MUA Art from Archaeology exhibit. I hope you will be as intrigued by their selections as I have been.
I decided to claim Directors privilege and indulge myself by picking the image for this introduction (I left the rest of the selections for this exhibit to professionals!). Back when we first started the MUA I sought a photo for the homepage and, not finding anything in my own collection that fit the bill, I searched online and discovered this image from a photo-stock company called Underwater Colors. I emailed them for permission to use it which they generously gave. To me this photo captures that incredible sense of potential for discovery and learning when we enter the water on a project for the first time. It makes me smile every time I look at it. What's out there? I often ask the same question about the future of the MUA and underwater archaeology in general.
Let's go find out.
T. Kurt Knoerl