An underwater art exhibit has debuted on a former Air Force missile tracking ship sunk in the Florida Keys.
Austrian art photographer Andreas Franke is exhibiting a dozen images 93 feet underwater on the weather deck of the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg. The exhibit, titled "Vandenberg: Life Below the Surface," is at the National Marine Sanctuary.
Officials who spearheaded the May 2009 scuttling said Franke photographed the wreck last year and digitally added elements to create the artwork.
One picture depicts a girl wielding a butterfly net to capture fish shown in an original underwater image of the wreck. In another, kickboxers compete adjacent to one of Vandenberg's iconic tracking dishes.
The 20-square-foot images are encased in 3-inch-thick Plexiglas, mounted in stainless steel frames and attached to the hull using magnets. The photographs will not affect the artificial reef or any of the aquatic life on it.
According to keysnews.com, when Franke, an avid diver, returned to Austria and examined his photos, he wanted to add life to what he saw as a dead ship.
"Even though there is so much life, marine life, all over and around it, the shipwreck itself, to me, is a dead thing," Franke said. "But I thought that if I put people on it, then there would again be life on that ship."
See a YouTube video of the installation at tinyurl.com/3lt5zr6. A website at the-vandenberg.com is under construction and expected to be finished in two weeks, according to keysnews.com. It will feature photos and video of the shipwreck and the installation of the exhibit.
Times staff, wires