The artist and photographer's new exhibit at the Alfstad& Contemporary gallery (running from Oct. 2-30) presents the fragile yet powerful nature of the ocean and the often misunderstood shark.
Bruna Stude has been living in, among and documenting the ocean her entire life. Born and raised on the Dalmatian Coast, Stude has always lived near the ocean. She has lived on a boat and traveled to the corners of the world, all the while documenting the beauty and fragility of the ocean and its wildlife with platinum and palladium photo stock giving her photos an entrancing and haunting quality. Now from her home on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, she always keeps a vigilant eye out toward the ocean.
Opening tomorrow night from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Alfstad& Contemporary gallery, Stude brings her photographic prints and designs to the bay front town of Sarasota to hopefully make an impact in peoples' knowledge and awareness of the ocean.
"People are just unaware," says Stude. "It was coincidence that I spent two decades living and working on a boat and traveling. As I traveled and docked into some of the most remote corners of the planet, I noticed the changes in the ocean. I saw the displacement of ocean life. 15 years ago there were abundant amount of sharks and then there was fewer. And now there are practically none."
Sharks, often depicted as titanic predators in film and the news media, are essential to a healthy ocean ecosystem. They are the latest member of the oceanic family that has come under Stude's lens. And in this show, where Stude got to make in-house custom prints, she created various large works featuring sharks and underwater scenes. One in particular is a series of 365 red and yellow shark images representing the Chinese flag where sharks are killed en masse to create the popular shark fin soup.
"Not only is Bruna's art beautiful in a uniquely haunting way," says Sam Alfstad, owner of Alfstad& Contemporary gallery,"it delivers an emotional message about the ocean's waters and aquatic life that will move anyone who cares about our planet today."
Stude who has dived underwater sans cage to capture her various images, says that the popular image of the shark has aggressive killer have been greatly exaggerated.
"They are considered the predator and a danger," says Stude. "But more people were killed while taking selfies this year than by sharks. As an ocean lover, I’ve admired their beauty and grace and understand their importance to the ocean’s health. I took a lot of opportunities to dive with them and we scare them more then they scare us. The one image that’s repeated in the large portrait, it wasn’t easy to get that shark because they don’t want to come close to humans and they don’t want to be around us."