Conventional Wisdom: Merfest

Photographer Arthur Drooker joins over 300 mermaids and mermen in North Carolina

Among the many wondrous gatherings we’ve explored in our Conventional Wisdom series—a trek through unique conventions across the US with photographer Arthur Drooker, as he prepares for a photography book on the subject—nothing is quite like Merfest. This costumed celebration of the mythological mermaid is run by the NC Merfolk, a group that swims together as merfolk three times a week. The Triangle Aquatic Center …

Conventional Wisdom: World Clown Association

An inside look at the wonky world through photographer Arthur Drooker's lens

Just putting on an oversized, colorful suit and slapping on some makeup does not a clown make. There’s a deep understanding of comedy, coupled with zany performance abilities and an acceptance that the role is a historic one. The roots of clowning go back centuries; they’ve been spokespeople for brands, much-loved television presenters—and some have been feared. Situated at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northbrook, …

Edward Burtynsky: Water

The global photo series explores human interaction with the molecule of life from multiple perspectives

The importance of water in our lives and the development of civilization cannot be overstated. In his new series “Water,” prolific large-format photographer Edward Burtynsky explores the ways in which industry and people shape it in the natural environment. The Canadian artist is known for capturing human interaction with the environment—from his series on the impact of quarries on landscapes, to the effect of rapid …