At Coast Monthly, we ask a lot of our photographers. We ask them to hang off boats, wade far into the surf, slog through mud or spend 10 hours over three days trying to get the perfect shot of a raw oyster. By now, they’re unfazed by such requests.
But when we told photographer Stuart Villanueva we planned a mermaid for our cover, he was skeptical. Such shots have the potential to come off as, well, cheesy.
Still, we were confident. We had the perfect mermaid — Courtney Merryman. We had the talent and skill of Coast Monthly Creative Director/Design Editor Melissa Rivera, who found the perfect mermaid fin and top. We had the transformative abilities of hairstylist Rebecca Rivera and makeup artist Daya Gracia, both of Total Technique Salon in Texas City. And we had the help of Photo Editor Jennifer Reynolds, who scouts the best places for our photo shoots and has the uncanny ability to help mermaids walk on the beach in fins.
And of course, we have the unfailing eye of Villanueva. What we hoped to capture on the cover of this issue was the mystery and magic of mermaids in an artful way.
Mermaids, as writer Kathryn Eastburn reports in this issue, are enjoying a surge in popularity. But they’ve been part of lore and art for centuries.
People who live around the rivers and seas naturally have a fascination with the dangers and wonders hidden beneath them, both mythical and real.
“Mermaids, it would seem, have been shoaling around the sunless depths of the human psyche since the time of the ancient Mesopotamians,” according to thethinkersgarden.net. “From the very beginning, marine humanoids were associated with eroticism, esoteric knowledge and peril.”
This issue is dedicated to the wonders and magic of the sea and the people who are inspired by it.