During the heyday of Florida theme parks, Bruce Mozert created some of the most memorable kitsch photography of the era. His underwater shots of beautiful models in crystal-clear waters were sent out on wire services and helped establish Silver Springs as Florida's premier tourist attraction. In the 1950s, his work helped lure the postwar generation to a land of fantastic, tropical, and mass-produced amusement.Silver Springs' popularity never depended upon parrots, monkeys, alligators, airboats, water-ski shows, or models dressed as mermaids. Instead, its appeal was primarily beneath the surface of the water, with cruises on glass bottom boats the major attraction.Mozert was Silver Springs' official photographer for nearly forty-five years, and his images were designed to sell the park. No one came up with ideas as zany or as memorable as he. A model cooks at a stove, wooden spoon at her mouth to taste, while condensed milk rises from a hidden can (to look like smoke); another bathes in a tub, scrubbing her toes; yet another relaxes on a chaise lounge while a nearby air conditioner hums away.Gary Monroe has collected some of the best underwater shots by this remarkable photographer. These photographs - many unseen for decades - capture those heady times in all of their whimsical glory.
Gary Monroe, professor of fine arts and photography at Daytona Beach College, is the author of the best-selling books The Highwaymen: Florida's African American Landscape Painters and Harold Newton: The Original Highwayman, among others.