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Keith Ellenbogen Captures New York’s Vast Marine Life in New Photo Exhibition

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Keith Ellenbogen Captures New York’s Vast Marine Life in New Photo Exhibition

When New York comes to mind, the strongest association is likely the hustle and bustle of city life, but what is often overlooked is that Manhattan is an island surrounded by vast wilderness teeming with aquatic life. In an effort to promote awareness and conservation of New York’s marine habitat, acclaimed underwater photographer and videographer Keith Ellenbogen showcases the diverse creatures along New York’s shorelines.

On display at The National Arts Club in partnership with The Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, Underwater Wildlife New York transports viewers to not-so-distant locations rarely seen. Journey through the salty depths and shallows from Montauk Point, N.Y. to Cape May, N.J., and experience a water world filled with blue sharks, shipwrecks and seahorses. Through a perfect marriage of marine ecology and photography, Ellenbogen’s exhibition produces an inspiring call to conservationism.

While on an underwater shoot, Ellenbogen favors a Canon 5D Mark II SLR camera with strobes, and utilizes minor digital edits post-shoot to honor the natural habitats of his subjects as much as possible. He credits much of his success underwater to patience.

“[Shooting] in water is a bit complicated because you have limited time, limited air, currents are strong and you have to find the animal. Visibility isn’t very good, either, so I need to be 1 to 20 feet from the animal,” Ellenbogen said. “I like to have an idea of the image I want ahead of time. If I have seen an animal move in a specific way, I am methodical in waiting for that shot.”

Having collaborated with Duggal’s Hope Savvides and Brian Renaldo on several exhibitions over the past four years, Ellenbogen selected Duggal’s digital C-prints to best capture the vibrant colors and details in Underwater Wildlife New York.

“Duggal understands the photograph and how it will print,” he said. “[They] take a lot of time to make sure the color, sequencing, and details of the photos are 100% correct. I wouldn’t print anywhere else.”

Underwater Wildlife New York includes 23 large-format pieces sized 50” x 33” and 30” x 20” to best scale tiny creatures and illuminate intricate details. The photos were then mounted on borderless floating Plexiglass frames, giving a modern look and buoyant feel.

“Most people associate marine life with fish that they eat, not living animals or a healthy ecosystem,” Ellenbogen said. “I believe that seeing these animals in their wild habitat and understanding that they are living in and are part of our amazing city can change that dynamic.”

Catch Underwater Wildlife New York at The National Arts Club’s Trask Gallery through June 3, 2017, and also keep an eye out for Ellenbogen’s images at a public exhibition in Brooklyn Bridge Park on display April 22 – June 14.