Saturday, December 12, 2009

When you photograph sharks and divers, get to your subjects as closely as possible

Connor and Tiger Shark (Bahamas, November 2009)
Photo: Wolfgang Leander

Click on image to enlarge

- well, that is certainly the rule. But to make a rule a rule you've gotta have the few exceptions.

Here is one such exception: I took the picture from the surface realizing that what I had in my viewfinder was exactly what I have been trying to visually transmit since I "got" into sharks - the unobstructed harmony between man and nature. This minimalistic photograph is about 'man
and nature'; not 'man versus nature'. Replace 'nature' with 'shark' in this context.

After taking the photograph, I began observing the diver, and was absolutely amazed to see the way he interacted with the tiger sharks. He always kept his distance to the sharks, floated in the water as if to signal that he was on the same level with the creatures, metaphorically speaking, yet full of awe and respect.

I have never seen a scuba diver interacting with sharks as elegantly and with so much sensitivity as this diver.

'This diver' is 22-year old Connor Cassidy (not a descendant of Butch C.!!) , dive assistant and crew member of Capt. Scott Smith's "Dolphin Dream".

While not a 'shark expert', Connor has the very essence that is the stuff a true shark diver is made of: The tact and right feel for a creature that is still completely misunderstood, and is so totally different from the image that some highly questionable "Shark Week" productions present to the American audience as the "truth" about sharks. *)

We need less sensationalistic '"Shark Week" productions, and more Connor Cassidies in "shark infested" waters so that the "truth may finally surface"! ...

*) For the sake of fairness it should be said that some SW productions, unfortunately too few, are rather objective in portraying sharks.

PS: Here is what I wrote about Shark Photography almost one and a half years ago.

1 comment:

Felix Leander said...

I have to agree - Connor is the best SCUBA diver as far as shark interaction goes that I have seen. I have no doubt that he would be the same the end it is about observing and understanding an animal...