air max Sea Portraits exhibitionPl

Sea Portraits exhibition

Plymouth is a city defined by its relationship with the sea; so its stands to reason that its people air max might have a story or two to tell about it.That is the essence behind Sea Portraits, a series of photographs and interviews with some of the fascinating people who, whether through work or play, have a deep connection with the sea in all its mystery and magnificence.From the artist to the academic; the deep sea diver to the boatyard owner these are some of the driving forces who in their own way are establishing Plymouth as the marine and maritime city for the UK.Over time, the Sea Portraits series will grow to encompass a kaleidoscope of different characters, as different from one another as they are united by their passion for the blue environment.W air max e hope you’ll come on that journey with us.Conrad Humphreys, Andrew Merrington, Lloyd RussellAs autobiographical summaries go, “I’m just an ordinary guy who has done a bit of collecting,” doesn’t exactly do justice to the life aquatic of Ray Ives. Here is a man, after all, who had to be brought back from the dead after he passed out on the bottom of the sea due to incorrectly mixed gas in his tanks; a man who was required to live for up to 35 days at a time in a cramped underwater chamber as one of the country’s first ‘saturation divers’ a career that took him all over the world; a man who worked alongside Red Adair for ten months in 1981 trying to counter the catastrophic Ixtoc oil leak in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico.To meet Ray Ives, however, is to understand that the 76 year old former Royal Marine and commercial diver is really not very comfortable talking about the experiences he has had. He’s genuinely bemused as to why anyone would want to make a film about him, as a local director did in 2011 for an award winning short story, or indeed interview him for a Sea Portrait. So it is fortunate that his story unfolds through the remarkable collection of artifacts that he has ‘scrannyed’ from his years of diving in the waters around the South West. Some people are a mine of information: in Ray’s case, he’s a museum.Housed in a pair of converted cargo containers on Yacht Haven Quay, ‘Ray’s Plaice’ is nearing completion at the time of our visit. Our ‘curator’ is busy applying the finishing touches placing a deep sea diving helmet atop a ship’s binnacle; setting World War II ammunition alongside 17th century cannonballs; and to the walls sticking archive pictures of his escapades around the world.”Most of this stuff I found on my dives around Plymouth, Dartmouth and Brixham you can’t believe some of the things people dump at sea,” he says. “It’s like the biggest rubbish dump in the world: ammunition, lamps, bottles, guns, bayonets, a rapier dating back to 1722 I’ve picked up all sorts. Some of it has come from wrecks like this piece of leather here. That was from the Catharine, which sank in Plymouth Sound in 1786. I’ve found rare coins you always get excited when you see something shiny!”As word of his collection has spread, so the ‘donations’ have started to come in apreserved leatherback turtle shell which washed up in West Cornwall; an antique canon still in working order; a Sten machine gun and some rifles. And then there are the diving pumps and hoses that remind you just how slender the umbilical cord to life was for a diver in the industry, working 600 feet below the surface in near total darkness.”I suppose you could say I’m a pirate, a modern day pirate,” Ray says after some consideration.Debby Mason”There is something magical about creating art with metal,” says Debby Mason as she carefully unwraps the copper plate from its paper covering, revealing a stunning coelacanth seemingly fossilised beneath its facade. “It is at once so beautiful and permanent.”The texture on those ancient scales is remarkable to behold the result of weeks of painstaking ‘roughing’ with a chisel like rocker and then ‘burnishing’ the detail, a technique that produces a beautifully ‘velvety’ quality when transferred onto paper. “I like the blackness and the texture you get from mezzotints,” Debby says. “It is somehow more atmospheric; like with the coelacanth here there is this sense of a prehistoric creature emerging from the deep.”Emerging from the deep: like the Nautilus of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo that stoked the fires of Debby’s imagination as a child; like Jacques Cousteau and his film crew on The Silent World, who provided a window into another world, one that she has gone back to time and again on dive trips of her own across the globe; like the process of memory itself, from which Debby has drawn forth the inspiration for so much of her artwork the family holidays in North Cornwall, the close encounters with cuttlefish in Plymouth Sound, the hours spent sketching animals and fish in aquaria and museums.The South West itself is an undeniable source of inspiration for Debby, who first began to explore printing at Plymouth College and she was quick to return to the city once she’d completed a degree in Surrey. She now lives in Oreston, on the banks of Hooe Lake, upon whose tidal waters legend says that Drake and Raleigh once sailed. Certainly you do not have to look hard for signs of history: the skeletal ribs of the hulk Arthur is visible barely 30 metres from Debby’s garden, jutting skywards with seagulls now her only crew. Buoys and an old beam, flotsam washed up on her shore, decorate one leafy corner, next to a wooden smokehouse. And, perhaps most touchingly, in the converted garage that serves as her workshop, her printing press is in fact a converted Victorian mangle that belonged to her grandmother, and was used to wring the clothes of the wartime evacuees that lived upon their Somerset farm.Three times selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Debby’s prints have found their way into cookbooks and educational posters, private commissions and public exhibitions at some of the great aquaria of the world. “I never know what I’m going to do next,” she says. “But something exciting always seems to come up!”Dr Andrew EcclestonDr Andrew Eccleston opens the file of lovingly archived memorabilia from his life, and takes a trip down memory lane with each turn of the page. When the 61 year old academic alights upon a prize winning essay he air max wrote in 1969 in tribute to Sir Francis Chichester’s solo navigation around the world in Gipsy Moth IV, he rocks back in his chair and places his hands behind his head. This was the moment that a teenaged pupil of King Edward’s School, in that renowned sea port of Birmingham, “articulated that which was already latent inside” a “need to go to sea”.So trading dinghy trips on Bittel Reservoir for the open ocean, Andrew loaded up his Royal Enfield ‘Bullet’ motorbike and rode to the South West, spending his first night sleeping on The Hoe atop his bike. He enrolled as a Merchant Navy Cadet, and within a year was on his first circumnavigation of the globe, on board a bulk carrier loaded with coal and iron ore. Sponsored by Denholm Ship Management to undertake a BSc in Nautical Studies at Plymouth University, Andrew qualified as a Navigating Officer and served on numerous carriers and cargo ships. He went on to become the first person at the institution to earn a PhD in maritime science, and now, 30 years later as lecturer at the University, he asks his students to navigate that same maiden trip, using the Marine Institute’s state of the art ship simulator to voyage the virtual oceans from Rotterdam to Australia.A natural raconteur, with an undimmed ability to recount names, details and ships, Andrew’s life story unfurls through a series of seemingly improbable right angles, but which do in fact have at their heart his maxim of “Trying to do ‘stuff’ and help people”. There were the entrepreneurial 1980s and 90s when he set up and ran hugely successful software businesses that were genuinely customerfocussed.Then the spiritual homecoming to Plymouth, where he has spent the past decade passing on his knowledge to students, and sharing his passion for sailing by taking friends and colleagues out on his yacht Bessie. And it was perfect serendipity when Andrew had the opportunity to help rescue Gipsy Moth IV from its 37 year entombment in dry dock, and sail three legs of the second circumnavigation of the globe in 2005 air max as First Mate. “I’m helping young people to get the same start in life that I had,” he said. “It gives me great satisfaction to see them grow into professional seafarers and then embark on the sort of adventures that I enjoyed. I’m trying to share with them the same inspiration I had learning about Chichester and Sir Robin Knox Johnston.”One last turn of the page and Andrew is back at King Edward’s School: a programme for a performance of The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare. And what role did the young Eccleston play? Well, two of them actually The Mariner, and The Shepherd. One doubts whether the great Bard himself could have cast it more perfectly.Tom CloadTom Cload holds out his right hand to reveal the ring finger that ‘interrupted’ a Father’s Day sailing race off Plymouth when he was just four years of age. Slightly truncated and boasting a scar reminiscent of a coastline, the digit has defied medical prognosis by growing back after it was severely mangled by a pulley when the spinnaker rope he was holding suddenly dragged him forwards.As he was transferred from his dad’s yacht to the coastguard for emergency dispatch to hospital, you would have forgiven the sailor’s apprentice for deciding that hanging about on boats wasn’t such a good idea. But nothing could be further from the truth. “I have known the sea since day one,” Tom says. “My first dry suit was a plastic bag, and I have never wanted to do anything else but live and work by the water.”