20 unbelievable underwater shots by Silver Springs photographer Bruce Mozert

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It's been a while since we re-submerged ourselves in the incredible underwater photography of Silver Springs' Bruce Mozert. According to his website, he arrived in our area in the fall of 1938 during the Tarzan movie shoots. Here we've collected some of our favorite moments. Below, catch our 2008 review of Silver Springs: The Underwater Photography of Bruce Mozert.

Babes in Bathing Suits
Silver Springs: The Underwater
Photography of Bruce Mozert
By Gary Monroe
(University Press of Florida; 144 pages;  $29.95; www.upf.com)

From the pages: Mozert’s job was to promote Silver Springs. He did this by using his “angels.” The girls “were so beautiful, and I treated them as works of art,” he recalls.

Those who lament the new Florida’s disrespect for history are going to love Gary Monroe. You want to go back? He’ll take you back thousands of years. Monroe’s focus in Silver Springs: The Underwater Photography of Bruce Mozert, is naturally the early mid-20th century, but his devotedly thorough research reminds us that we live in what was once the home of mastodons, Native American tribes and crystal-clear water. Somewhere between dinosaurs and drive-throughs was the heyday of Silver Springs, and Monroe pays gratifying homage to this remarkable place and Mozert, a unique documentarian.

Thanks to Mozert’s brilliance, Silver Springs became famous for more than one kind of natural splendor. His sister Zoe was a famous pinup artist. Between what he may have picked up from her, the aesthetic of the time and his own genius for staging playful underwater scenes at the springs, we now have a collection of photographs of a unique moment in the history of Florida, America, tourism, pop culture and feminine iconography.

The photos are sweet and silly, involving submerged setups like a girl hula-dancing, riding a magic carpet through the water with her genie boyfriend or gesturing at a sign that reads “School’s Out!” as fish scurry past. They are alluring without aggression, just happy and natural, with an innocent sexuality almost beyond comprehension in a culture whose golden ages constantly threaten to turn into jaded ones.

Monroe’s introduction gives us a glimpse of Mozert’s technique, a lot of Florida history and an appreciation for the natural beauty we can still glimpse between the condos. It’s 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.— Liz Langley