On the ocean floor, I am alone, which is how I like to be when I photograph super predators. I need all my senses to be sharp, with no distractions.
Locked, loaded and ready at a moment’s notice to unload its full firepower, the Landlord has arrived: a large great white shark ominously cruises into view. Not knowing what her reaction to my presence will be, I stand in my unwieldy contraption, which is a pioneering attempt at a mobile underwater photographic hide, unsure of how the shark will react to my presence. This is what it is all about; I live for this intimacy with my far superior subjects, these fleeting moments of heightened intensity.
With disdain, the great white does several spiralling investigatory passes close to where I stand, each a little closer and lower than the previous orbit. I feel my pulse quicken. I watch her, and she examines me.
Movement, a heartbeat, a small electronic signature are all cues for her to move closer. Ever bolder now she gently mouths and bumps my cage, not overtly aggressively. This is her way of doing things. Satisfied I am neither food nor threat; she loses interest and seamlessly fades into her kingdom of swaying forested fronds.
Never quite getting the right angle, and so as not to frighten or alarm her, I stand still, non-threatening but also not retreating, and do not depress my trigger or fire my strobes, which would show off her beautiful and powerful form.
Just as I think my chance has gone, fish scatter past me from behind the cage. I turn, she is back. Using the aqueous mist as her smokescreen of surprise coupled with her far superior senses, she had gone behind me, using stealth as her method of deception.
I drop down in the cage, getting as low an angle as possible to enhance the perspective of looking up at her. This time, she is confident, and at last unerringly comes straight at me. I wait until she is just a metre or two away.
I fire, and see the light caress her snow-white underbelly. She’s been seen, so she banks away, mouth slightly agape with that ever-present great white smile, seemingly that tiny bit wider.
This time, the mouse has caught the cat, but the cat knows that sooner or later it will collect its rent.
Exhibition: 173cm x 118.5cm (68” x 46.7”)
Large: 146 cm x 96.5 cm (57.5 ” x 38″)
Classic: 118cm x 81cm (46.5” x 31.8”)