Great whites are renowned for being solitary creatures; they keep a healthy distance from each other and observe a strict hierarchy.
I am fortunate to have been able to get close enough to many of the world’s most charismatic mega-fauna to capture many of my most memorable images. One such image was captured from a self-propelled and vertically-orientated one-person shark cage, designed for use on the kelp-strewn seabed of New Zealand. It completely changed my perception of the great white.
Five great whites, three to four metres long, were trying to push me over in my small shark cage as I trundled along the seabed. It was like playing piggy in the middle, except that my playmates were 900-kg super predators. Time and time again the sharks would mouth or push me down and I would right myself, only for the process to begin again. I remember on more than one occasion being in the process of falling backwards, only to be knocked forward by another shark.
Knowing the sharks were more curious than anything else, it was actually great fun – until my air started to run low. I knew I might have to make an emergency ascent sans cage if I could not reconnect with my umbilical to the boat and be pulled up.
Frustratingly, picture after picture eluded me, as no sooner would I put my camera out of the cage than I would be scrambling to get it back in, fearful that a shark would swim off with it or that it would be smashed on the rocks.
When I eventually surfaced, the footage from the GoPro revealed the entertaining ordeal and it was obvious just how comfortable these magnificent brothers and sisters in arms were with each other.
Knowing just how special it would be to capture a great photograph of it, in early 2020 we returned. This time, I finally got the opportunity as two magnificent great whites performed a synchronised fly-by. It was a breath-taking moment and I will always cherish being able to witness it with my own eyes, not to mention having had the privilege of photographing it.
‘Brothers in Arms’ clearly highlights the fact that just as different cultures of humans do different things around the globe, the same can also be said of the great white shark.
Exhibition: 173cm x 112cm (68” x 44”)
Large: 146 cm x 104 cm (57.5″ x 41″)
Classic: 118cm x 84cm (46.5” x 33”)