Local Underwater Art on Display at John Wayne Airport

If you’re strolling through John Wayne Airport (JWA) in the next week or so seeking creative inspiration, look to the walls. Local underwater photographer Patsee Ober has her art on display until Feb. 19 as part of John Wayne Airport’s Community Focus Space Program.

Photos can be seen on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C, and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.


“Ms. Ober’s work truly captures the unique vibrancy of Orange County’s fascinating coastal tide pools,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do. “Travelers coming through our world-class John Wayne Airport will get a taste of the natural beauty Orange County has to offer through these stunning, unedited pieces of photographic art.”

The Gang’s All Here by Patsee Ober

A current resident of Laguna Beach, Ober spent most of her formative years gleaning inspiration in Newport Beach. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Whittier College and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach. She is also a mainstay at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach.

Ober’s work features the saltwater inhabitants that dwell in local tide pools, revealing the mysteries of the underwater world through her expert lens.

The intimacy of tide pools allows Ober to explore space, angles, reflections and light as they constantly change with the tide, currents and path of the sun. Ober’s images are taken in the marine-protected areas of the shallow tide pools and reefs along the coast from Laguna Beach to Corona del Mar, Calif., and since 2015, the protected marine areas of the Sea of Cortez, Belize and French Polynesia.

Notably, Ober, who calls herself a “mermaid with a camera,” doesn’t edit her images with a computer or darkroom. She says her idea is to have an image flip inside the viewer’s mind from photo-realism to abstract art and back again. Her photos, as she describes them are always “imagined but very real.”

Visit pophotography.com to learn more about about Ober’s work.

Upcoming Community Focus Space Program artists include: Veronica Schmitt (February 19 – March 19) and Stephanie Hager (March 19 – April 19).

To read about JWA’s art programs, visit www.ocair.com/terminal/artexhibits.