Books, Film & The Arts

The ocean plays the part of muse for many artists. Books, films, and the arts often pull inspiration from the sea—you can explore them here!

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Brian Skerry, an award winning photographer for National Geographic, explores the underwater world searching for the perfect photo. But getting that photo is never easy. Read more from Brian about the perfect underwater photo...
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The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of...
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What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the...
If you look closely, you can read a message in the corals. We are not being...

LATEST CATCH

These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus, and protect them from...
“This shark was cruising low along the reef known as Alcyone. Her left eye...
A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the...

DIVE DEEPER

Illustrator Drew Christie created this light-hearted short film about how humans could really learn something from whales...
Today’s discoveries about our planet’s biological diversity build upon the research of previous generations of scientists. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a digital library committed to...
The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef , created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring , weaves together strands of art, science, mathematics, and conservation. This beautiful...
This painting of swarthy buccaneers in the midst of a fierce battle was painted by the prolific American marine painter Frederick J. Waugh, and won an award in 1910. The New York Times wrote: “The...
Crocheted corals from the Smithsonian Community Reef group on Flickr. The community reef project is a satellite reef of the Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition, was on...
Large pieces of plastic are sorted by color into large troughs. After coming in from the beach, the plastic is hosed down, soaked in biodegradable soap, and dried in the sun before it's sorted by...
What would you do if you came face to face with a shark ? Brian Skerry lives for these moments and is ready with his camera. Here he is seen photographing a large tiger shark on the seafloor near the...
Artist Shih Chieh Huang creates work using plastic bags, household objects, computer cooling fans, LED lights, and other assorted materials. His 2011 solo exhibition, " The Bright Beneath: The...
A close-up of Lidia the Seal—like the view you'd get if you approach the sculpture in real life—shows the gory details of the everyday objects that wash up on the beach. Have you thrown out any...
Three dancers demonstrate the food web in the production Ocean , which blends dance with scientist interviews, facts, and ocean photography. The choreographer, Fran Spector Atkins, hopes dance will...
Local yarn and craft shops were highly involved in creating the Smithsonian Community Reef —the local community’s accompaniment to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit. The HCCR, created by...
A wrought iron butterflyfish , Chaetodon daedalma , being cleaned by a small wrasse in the waters of Japan's Ogasawara Islands.
A Grey Seal ( Halichoerus grypus ) poses in the waters off Acadia National Park in Maine. Grey seals live on both coasts of the Northern Atlantic, with breeding colonies in Great Britain, Ireland,...
The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art, is on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National...
A harp seal ( Phoca groenlandica ) pup rests on the ice at sunset in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada while its mother hunts. Adult harp seals have dappled gray fur, but the babies are born white and...
This month, our friends at National Geographic are featuring Smithsonian's own bio-scavenger, Chris Meyer and his work in one of our favorite places: Moorea , French Polynesia. In a beautiful meld of...
It was a hot and sunny day, with barely a whiff of breeze. I boarded a boat in Oban, on the coast of Scotland, and headed west past the Isle of Mull and into the North Atlantic. It was July 2014, and...
From a distance, Henry the Fish looks like a typical quirky and colorful sculpture you'd find in a small beach town. But when you look up close, Henry begins to change. His bright yellow and red...
An X-ray image of grooved razorfish ( Centriscus scutatus ). Razorfish are encased in thin, transparent bony plates attached to their spines, which you can see in the X-ray. Also known as shrimpfish...
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