An undiscovered trove of underwater photographs from the Golden Age of Florida roadside attractions
"This account of the state's iconic pre-Disney attraction will appeal to those who visited Silver Springs and to those who have a strong interest in Florida pop culture."--Jim Miller, photographer and archaeologist
"Lightheartedly fun, this book is a quick, pleasant read that invites nostalgia for a perceived innocence of an earlier time in Florida."--Leslie Hammond, chief curator, Appleton Museum of Art
During the heyday of Florida theme parks, Bruce Mozert created some of the most memorable kitsch photography of the era. His underwater shots of beautiful models in crystal-clear waters were sent out on wire services and helped establish Silver Springs as Florida's premier tourist attraction. In the 1950s, his work helped lure the postwar generation to a land of fantastic, tropical, and mass-produced amusement.
Silver Springs's popularity never depended upon parrots, monkeys, alligators, airboats, water-ski shows, or models dressed as mermaids. Instead, its appeal was primarily beneath the surface of the water, with cruises on glass bottom boats the major attraction.
Mozert was Silver Springs's official photographer for nearly forty-five years, and his images were designed to sell the park. No one came up with ideas as zany or as memorable as he. A model cooks at a stove, wooden spoon at her mouth to taste, while condensed milk rises from a hidden can (to look like smoke); another bathes in a tub, scrubbing her toes; yet another relaxes on a chaise lounge while a nearby air conditioner hums away.
Gary Monroe has collected some of the best underwater shots by this remarkable photographer. These photographs--many unseen for decades--capture those heady times in all of their whimsical glory.
Gary Monroe, a native of Miami Beach, has photographed throughout Brazil, Israel, Cuba, India, Trinidad, Poland, and Egypt, among other international destinations. He is best known for his long-term photographic involvements with the elderly’s old world culture of South Beach, Haiti during the end of the Duvalier regime and foray into democracy, and tourism as a rite of passage. He has received various honors and distinctions for his work, including two National Endowments for the Arts, four Florida Humanities Council Fellowships, a State of Florida arts fellowship, and two Fulbright Foundation fellowships. Monroe is the author of The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters and three other books on Florida’s Highwaymen artists. He has written nine books, most of which acknowledge unrecognized self-taught Florida artists. His most recent book, E. G. Barnhill: Florida Photographer, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, highlights the artist’s hand-colored photographs.
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"Nobody does kitsch like Florida does Kitsch"
" The nostalgic black and white photos are pure old Florida. In the pages of this book, the lure of Silver Springs remains as strong as ever."
--Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
"The images are wistful and lovely, perfectly crafted to sell Silver Springs to wide-eyed tourists looking for the fabled glass-bottom boats and the eternal summers promised in the brochures."
--Folio Weekly (Jax FL)
"Monroe pays gratifying homage to this remarkable place and Mozert, a unique documentarian. A lovely look at a bright past that will make you appreciate the wild bits that are left of it when you see them in the present."