A new exhibition displaying photos taken many years ago by one of Turkey’s first underwater divers, Mustafa Kapkin, has been opened for diving enthusiasts. The exhibition is on display in a military boat submerged 30 meters deep off the Aegean town of Cesme. 

The coast guard boat TCSG 68, which had been submerged close to Esek Island, is now home to a rare artistic event. 

Kapkin’s shots, which he took with a tool he developed himself, feature Bodrum’s sponge divers 63 years ago.
 
The exhibition, which opened to revive diving tourism, has been documented by underwater photographers Tahsin Ceylan, Ates Evirgen, Lutfu Tanrıover and state-run Anadolu Agency teams. 

Preparations for the exhibition, in collaboration with Mustafa Kapkin’s son Ahmet Kapkin and the curator of the exhibition, Murat Kaptan, took six months. 

The photos, revealing the hard life of sponge divers in 1954 in Bodrum, were printed with a special material to prevent dissolution in salty water and placed in the boat by professional divers. The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the exhibition was done underwater. 

Kapkin said his father dove with Bodrum’s sponge divers for four months in 1954 and took their photos. “It is very exciting that the photos are on display in their own world,” he said.  “The photos reveal what sponge divers were wearing for diving, how they collected sponges and the difficulties they had. It is also seen what my father went through when capturing the photos,”  

“The photos of Bodrum’s sponge divers have been previously published but they are on display underwater for the first time. They are hung on various parts of the submerged coast guard boat. This will be a very good experience for divers; it appeals to divers at every level. We opened this exhibition underwater to keep my father’s name alive and appreciate his efforts. We want people to compare the diving technology 63 years ago and now,” he added. 

Curator Kaptan said they opened a significant exhibition for divers and especially for underwater photographers.   “I believe this documentary-like exhibition that was shot under hard conditions in 1954 will make great contribution to diving tourism,” he said.

Source:  Daily Hurriyet

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