These images were the joint venture of Alex Suh, Liz Parkinson, Stuart Cove, Hayley Jo Carr, Rich Carr, Andre Musgrove, Daniel De Sa Freire, Tohru Yamaguchi. All images are being used with permission.
“I was very motivated to bring awareness to more people about sharks and their true behavior, ” says photographer Ken Kiefer to us about his recent project involving photographing models alongside sharks. “I spend a lot of time speaking to people about sharks, and it’s hard for most people to understand the level to which things are blown out of proportion.” Ken has been interviewed and featured many times on this website for his unique creative vision and working underwater.
“Dogs bite thousands of people per year, but reporting on a dog bite doesn’t bring the (same) level of attention that hearing of a shark bite. The media does everything they can to enhance this feeling of danger and the fear surrounding sharks, and facts are generally completely ignored.”
In fact, when Ken got together with his friends, they really just wanted to get the message out there about sharks. “The sharks were only near us because we had chunks of their natural food – FISH.” he tells us. “They don’t eat humans and don’t have more than casual interest in us when we dive with them. The models in these shots were calm, comfortable and followed safety guidelines, such as not waving around their hands.”
Ken describes the project:
About a month ago, I got together with some friends on a project that is extremely important to all of us. We were hoping to draw attention to the misconception held by many, about the immediate danger presented any time that a shark is in the water with a human.
A great many people firmly believe that the minute they enter the ocean, they quickly attract the attention of every shark for miles around. The movie Jaws is probably the most well known Hollywood creation to help instill this fear, but every year another movie, television show, or news article will bolster this irrational terror. Most divers know that it’s actually pretty rare to even see a shark without lots of baiting and waiting.
This group of friends has all been diving with sharks for years and years. We are comfortable diving with sharks, but none of us take any instance for granted, or ever do so without proper planning, precautions and awareness.
All of the friends have repeated facts and figures to anyone that will listen about the odds of a shark bite, or the sheer number of sharks that are slaughtered by humans. Nothing seems to shut off someone’s listening ability faster than throwing math or statistics their way. J We were hoping for some visuals that might make people stop scrolling or turning the page for a minute and maybe think, do some research or ask a few questions.
With the help of the amazing people at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, Ikelite Underwater Systems, and Sherwood Scuba, we came up with a plan to hopefully achieve just that.
No photoshop manipulation, photostacking, or multiple exposures were used to achieve these images, just a combined effort from safety divers, shark feeders, models and captains.
More of the magical images are below.