Thursday, August 30, 2012

Broken Shells at the Dali Museum

Posing with my photograph on display at The Dali Museum.

Two of my hobbies I have yet to turn into careers are collecting seashells and taking photographs.  I would come to guess that very few people know that I am happiest combing the shore at sunset looking for whelks, shark eyes, tulips and conch shells.  Then photographing them and throwing them back into the sea because most of the beautiful shells are still living and deserve to keep living.  My name in Hawaiian means ‘Defender of the Sea,’ so that is what I try to do - preserve our beaches and sea life.

It is therefore such a thrill that I am able to share with all of you that one of my photographs is on display as part of the “Treasures of Your Town” exhibit at The Dali Museum here in St. Petersburg, FL.  The Dali!  I spent a lot of my childhood at the Dali Museum staring at ‘The Hallucinogenic Toreador’ trying to see all of the double images within the main image.  Are those just flies or a bull drinking water?  I always liked Salvador Dali as a painter because he combined his technical skills with such a vivid imagination that no matter how many times you might see the work, you would still find more discoveries.  I learned the lesson of perspective from Dali because everybody sees different things in the same painting.

For my photograph, entitled ‘Broken Shells at the Long Pier,’ I wanted to show the beauty in broken things.  Most of the time when I am on one of my sunset beach walks looking for shells, I am also looking for something else.  Peace within myself.  I usually approach the beach angry, frustrated, and heartbroken, but it is there on the shore within minutes of hearing the waves crash, seeing the birds fly, and feeling the cool water on my feet where I am reminded that being broken doesn’t mean you are beyond repair.

When I first found the scallop shell that is featured in the photo, I thought it was cute, even though it was broken, not perfect.  Then when I held it up to the sunset, I realized the broken piece actually resembled a palm tree.  It was through that bright light that another image began to grow!  If I had to explain the image further, I would say that the seashell represents the human shell and how so many of us have been broken due to unemployment, relationships, and life in general just not working out like we expected it to. 

Like Dali, I think this image is also about perspective.  Do you see a broken shell or do you see the bright light within?  Personally, I may have a broken shell but no matter what, I will always let my inner light shine.  So the next time you feel down, lost or broken, take a walk on the beach or go to an art museum.  Life is full of broken things…but that is where the true beauty is.

Should anybody want to see my photograph & the rest of the "Treasures of Your Town" exhibit at The Dali Museum, it will be on display in the Raymond James room August 24th - Sept 9th.  It is free to see this exhibit.  

For more information on The Dali, visit

Part of my 'dead' shell collection on display in my home.