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“Stranded” — An Exhibit of Photographs by Martin Cox

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 by

Laid up liners, Freeport, Bahamas (ex RMS TRANSVAAL CASTLE and SS ROTTERDAM in 2001) photo © Martin Cox

Peter Knego: You have an exhibition of  photographs opening at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro.  Can you tell me about it?

Martin Cox: Museum Director Marifrances Trivelli invited me to make a proposal for a solo exhibition of my maritime photography for the gallery in the museum in San Pedro. I decided to focus on the period between about 2000 and 2005 when so many mid-century ships were dropping off the fleet lists and heading for lay up.  The exhibition opens in June with a group of about 24 black and white prints,  some of which are very large.  As you know, new SOLAS laws were looming with fire safety standards becoming ever more strict, thus dooming much of the word’s older passenger fleet.

Stranded liners on the beach, Alang, India. Photo © Martin Cox 2012

Peter: Tell us about why you chose STRANDED as the title of your show?

Martin: These ships, as you know, are eventually literally stranded on the beach when they are sent for demolition, but also they were stranded by changes in technology and the economy.  In a quickly evolving world, this notion becomes a familiar metaphor — plus, the word strand recalls the flat area of land bordering a body of water.

Emerald deck, GRIPSHOLM in lay up. Photo © Martin Cox 2012

Peter: How much did growing up in a port contribute to your choice of subject matter?

Martin:  A great deal!  As you know, I grew up in Southampton and many of the ships I had seen as a child and young adult were heading off to be scrapped in the last decade.  Seeing these vessels in their working liner heyday, I had no idea that I was witnessing the end of an era. The activities at the port and the shapes of those riveted hulls intrigued me, inspiring me to draw, and much later, shoot pictures, collect postcards and brochures about the liners.  I am always thinking about ships and the floating world — it made a life long impression on me.

Peter: Which photo trips were the most memorable?

Martin: I think I’d have to say traveling with you to the beach at Alang, India.  I will never forget that first sight, after crossing farmland, of those giant stranded beasts in the mud, so quiet and still in their final weeks before being cut down. The scale of the mud banks at low tide and the flatness of the coastal area stood in such contrast to the lines of huge ships waiting for the end — it felt mythical.

Peter: Is there a catalog with the exhibition?

Martin:  Yes, the catalog is already published and available online at:

Stranded: Los Angeles

By Martin Cox

54 pages, published 31 MAY 2012

A photography catalog of the exhibition “STRANDED: the twilight of the ocean liner”, first exhibited at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in 2012. See all 25 black and white photographs by Martin Cox, of the end of an era of ocean liners, ships nearing or at the end of their careers shot in the US, Bahamas, India and The Philippines.

Peter: When does your exhibition open and for how long?

Martin:  Stranded runs from June 17 through – September 30, 2012. MaritimeMatters readers are invited to the opening reception on Saturday afternoon, June 16th, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Los Angeles Maritime Museum    –    Berth 84 • Foot of 6th Street • San Pedro, CA 90731 Phone: 310-548-7618

Please note: If you are using navigation technology, use this address:   600 Sampson Way, San Pedro CA 90731

The Los Angeles Maritime Museum is open Tuesday through Sundays, 10:00 am — 5:00 pm.




14 Responses to “Stranded” — An Exhibit of Photographs by Martin Cox

  1. Kenneth Eden

    May 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Quite interesting these photos and the exhibition. Sadly, I live on the EAST coast, could there possibly be a road tour, or at least a prsentation perhaps at the Maritime Museaum in Newport News?

    I can only imagine what a facinating presentation could unfold, with two dynamic maritime historians such as Martin and Peter at the helm. Just my thought, would love to see the exhibit here.

  2. Brad H.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I’m looking forward to this! I live in Long Beach, CA, right across the bridges from the where the museum is, so I will definitely make it over to view it.

    I must say, I do feel very lucky that I live so close to so many wonderful maritime treasures. I drive down the Long Beach beachfront often, and always stare at and appreciate the beautiful, enduring grace that the Queen Mary exudes from across the water. Even though the Carnival ships that dock next to her tower over her, she is still so incredibly impressive in their presence. I’m also looking forward to visiting the Iowa when it’s ready for visitors, and always enjoy a trip to the Maritime Museum. Something I hope they choose to do a large exhibit on sometime is the Matson Line, and some of the other great West Coast liner companies.

  3. Martin Cox

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Hello Kenneth: Thank you for your kind words. Much as presenting is enjoyable it’s a long way for one evening. The LA Maritime Museum and I will indeed be working on touring the exhibition, I’d love to see it at the Mariner’s Museum. best – Martin

  4. Martin Cox

    May 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Brad: I am glad you can make it over, and look forward to saying hello at the reception. We had scheduled the event originally for June 9th until we learned the IOWA was passing that day! All eyes on the battleship that day I am sure. best – Martin

  5. David L. NYC

    May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Congratulations, Martin, on the upcoming opening of your wonderful exhibition, “Stranded.” I particularly enjoyed, “Sinking Cinema” – and that particular vessel did, in the end, sink, so how prophetic! Well done.

  6. Martin Cox

    May 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thank David, I am excited about the exhibition, some of these images have appeared in a few shows before, but never so many at once. I feel it tell the story better. Also, I have had the opportunity to make some of them larger than they have ever been. Empty pool and Verandah deck are four foot wide prints.

    best – Martin

  7. Geoffrey Gardner

    June 2, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I’m already putting a date on my calendar. I wouldn’t miss this for the world! Thank you! -g

  8. Mage Bailey

    June 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I’ll miss the opening, but will stop in on the 22nd. Looking forward to this, Mage

  9. Mage Bailey

    June 12, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Unfortunate schdule changes, we will be there the 29th instead.

  10. Wayne Lawless

    June 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Martin, I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing your exhibit so very much. It’s been years since I saw and talked with you on the Queen Mary. Congratulations on your amazing success.

  11. Corey palm desert

    June 20, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Martin I saw your display at the museum today and it was great. Went on harbor tour to see Iowa and than to see the mariners museum. Everyone of your photos was great . I took similar picture of the Qe2 and Oceanic in Nassau too. I appreciate what you and Peter do. Years ago my only source when I was a kid was steamboatbill. Now the info is right now. Thank you. Writing this from the queen Mary

  12. Corey palm desert

    June 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Im staying night on queen Mary. Room is very nice. Ate dinner at Chelsea chowder restauraunt . Very nice. I was looking at bridge and can’t believe they got paint all over the windows. Where do they hire these people. I was on sun deck and I could smell fresh paint. It looked a lot better. Seats are missing out of lifeboats. I know they are working hard to fix her. My question to everyone is when is she getting her black hull and white superstructure repainted and holes repaired. It drives me crazy how rundown she looks. Is it happening this year. Think last time she got paint is when Disney ran her . I am glad she is still around.

  13. Chris Thompson

    June 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    WOW, great photos, particularly the ones of the old Gripsholm/Regent Sea. I worked on her back in 1987, although she had been refurbished several times she still retained the classic liner feel. Wonder what happened to the entry to the Casino, formerly the first class smoking room (glue from the letters was still visible), it was a wall of black marble with a viking ship inlay in brass over the doors!!!

  14. Mage Bailey

    July 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Marvelous stuff. The images are especially powerful in black and white. I got the catalogue and the book on “Hollywood to Hawaii” also. So glad you are doing this kind of work. Both my friend and I were very moved by the photos from the old Ryndam.

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