“Ojos de Mar” is a new photography exhibition from Cozumel-based subaquatic artist Denisse Pohls. No stranger to the pages of The Playa Times, she and her photos have been featured here on more than one occasion, including an appearance on the cover page of our last edition. With this exhibit you have the opportunity to see a large collection of her framed prints hanging on the walls of La Palomino bar on Cozumel island.
The exhibition opening was held on May 17 offering members of local media, guests and friends our first look. Upon arrival, I found Denisse busy doing an on-camera video interview, but after a few minutes I was treated to a tour of gallery.
“This place is an authentic, old Cozumel home” she explained, taking me into the next room where more of her work lines the walls in every corner. It certainly feels like I’m in a gallery. “They didn’t have anything going in terms of art shows or exhibitions so I asked if I could set this up.”
I asked her to show me a few images and tell me the story behind what I was seeing. We began with one of her prints that shows a rare glimpse of a green turtle, flippers raised in an action pose, caught in freeze frame mid-flight.
“They don’t like interacting with humans. In this case the turtle is propelling itself upwards towards the surface to grab some air, and to be left alone.”
In contrast with this, another print showed a hawksbill turtle eating. “He didn’t mind my presence, “ Denisse noted. “Sometimes I feel like they communicate with me as if to say “breathe, just flow”.
This print is one of two, as what happened next became its own piece. Another turtle suddenly showed up and Denisse captured a rare moment: two turtles interacting with one another. “They tend to be solitary so this was a unique event for me.”
The other prints are a mix of underwater sights such as fish and coral, all taken here in Cozumel in the area near the reef.
I asked Denisse about her choice of small digital cameras. “The housings for larger cameras are more expensive and heavier. If you travel light and quiet you can better capture marine life in its natural form, with better close ups, and above all, better environmental conservation.”
Each finished print was made in Mexico City, printed on quality paper, with horizontal wood supports for hanging on your wall. Each has a cost of 2900 pesos and the exhibition is expected to last for about one month, unless of course the pieces end up sold beforehand.
I wrapped up my interview by asking Denisse if she has any tips for aspiring turtle photographers. “Approach them with respect and as little noise as possible,’ she advised. “Swim slowly and do not interfere with whatever they are doing.”
More information about the exhibition can be found here: Facebook/ElPalomarCozumel/