Artist Michael Seif displays his underwater nudes at Archipelago June 7

Are they mermaids? Nay, they're 'Merry Naiads'

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 1:15pm

Story Location:
386 Main Street
Rockland, ME 04841
United States

    ROCKLAND — In Greek mythology, naiads are a type of water nymph - lasses that preside over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater.

    Michael Seif, an artist from Watertown, Mass., will present his photographic prints, The Merry Naiads, at an opening reception hosted by Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery in Rockland Friday, June 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. During the opening, Seif will discuss his illuminescent nudes and the many surprises in photographing the human form underwater.

    Photographing his subjects – local women who feel at home swimming in the dark waters of a Maine-island quarry – sprang from Seif's academic background in zoology, according to Tina Cohen in her introduction to the 2013 Island Journal folio. After beginning his photographic journey studying fish, he switched to the human form on the advice of one of his teachers.

    According to Cohen, "he discovered that human models moving in water created interesting effects: ripples, bubbles, distortions, fractured light, transformed features and mysterious textures." She also said, "But these quarry photographs are about more than just flesh; there's also an implicit sense of these women's expressive personalities, their embodiment of both innocence and sensuality."

    Seif himself said, "The figure in nature is a subject with never-ending possibilities. In water, glittering swirls are telltale signs of life, showing the human figure in motion, as a living creature of nature."

    Seif has had photography exhibits all over the country in both solo and group shows, and published his first book, The Fluid Figure, in 2011. His images of underwater nude figures are also featured in the 2013 Island Journal, the Island Institute's annual publication celebrating island life. Another reception is scheduled for Friday, June 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. The second reception will be preceded by an artist's talk at 5 p.m. for Island Institute members.

    This exhibit will be in the gallery through July 26. To view Seif's online gallery click here. Current gallery hours for Archipelago Fine Arts are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, contact Lisa Mossel Vietze at 596-0701 or email