Life Imitates Art in the Intertidal

Imagine, me an intertidal art critic. I’ve posted three intimate intertidal images that may imitate art. Since my earliest visits to the the tide pools I have imagined that intertidal forms and patterns have similarities to art. This challenge is my opportunity to see if anyone agrees.

I came across this intertidal abstract when low tide exposed a red crust draped with articulated corrallines on a vertical rock face. I think I’m going to call it Wall of Reds.

The scenes below seem to imitate art too, but I will leave that decision to you.

This used to be a mussel bed. Now, gooseneck or leaf barnacles have proliferated, crowding  the mussels. Does this look like art, or just a battle for space?

Anemones are always a treat for the visual senses. Do they imitate art?

This challenge pushed me a bit. If you have any ideas about how these intertidal scenes might or might not imitate art please let me know.

To see other images submitted for the Life Imitates Art photo challenge click here

Note: The image featured at the very top of this page is early morning sand magnified under a jellyfish lens.


  1. I don’t believe they “imitate” or “look like” art… I believe that your images actually are art. Excellent presentation of the topic.

  2. I really like the dichotomy of the mussels and barnacles. The difference in color and texture is pleasing to the eye. I also get the feeling that the mussels are holding on in spite of the barnacles. “You can have my rock when you pry it from my cold, dead byssus!”

    1. A perfect caption for the image! Once again you nailed it. I’m so grateful every time you share your creative ideas on theoutershores. You’ve inspired me to feature that image by itself in a short post. I hope you won’t mind if I quote your charming caption or maybe even use it as the title, crediting you of course.

      1. I don’t mind at all. I wouldn’t post if I minded. I’m also looking forward to each update that you post. I find it fascinating how supposed deserts (aquatic and terrestrial) are just teeming with life. I really appreciate the work you do to bring that life to the forefront.

    1. I didn’t notice it when I took it, but there is something attractive about the anemone shot. Your thought on WP having it backward is a fun one. Full disclosure, I wrestled with the question before I made the post and determined it’s a slippery slope; at least for me. It made my head spin. (in the end I just decided to go with the challenge at face value) Plenty of people agree with you. Somebody made almost the same comment on my fb page. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you like my anemones and especially for weighing in on what imitates what.

    1. We agree about that. I was just browsing your site; your work is is just beautiful. I’ve been to Mayne Island a couple times and enjoyed it very much. I spent my days exploring the intertidal. Being sheltered, I enjoyed the contrast with the exposed coast I’m more familiar with.

      1. Thank you. I’ve only been to the Oregon coast once many years ago, but I remember it being ridiculously beautiful. I’m off to explore your blog, hopefully learn a few things, and admire your wonderful photos.

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