If you have watched Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster ‘Jaws’, you are probably well aware of the position it holds in pop-culture. It is one of the most popular films in cinema history that inspired a generation of directors and storytellers. But more importantly, it firmly established the fear of sharks.
In May, a fearless photographer from the UK managed to capture a great white shark in the pose that perfectly recreated the poster of the 1975 film.
Euan Rannachan was inside a cage and just a few feet away from the shark when he took the perfect shot. Luckily, there were no bathers in the water when Rannachan took the picture near Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Mexico.
Just four months after the incredible picture went viral, Rannachan has now released a series of photos on Instagram (@euanart)that gives an up-close and personal look at the underwater predators.
Most of his remarkable photos were taken off Guadeloupe Island, which lies in Mexico’s most westerly point.
The 34-year-old, who earns a living by teaching underwater photography, said he was initially nervous about getting close to sharks, but soon managed to develop respect and understanding for the creature.
“I think like most people my fascination was probably born out of fear. Movies that I love like Jaws only help drive that narrative home. But even though I still badly wanted to see one for myself in the water. I get asked a lot how I keep my cool in the water. It really has nothing to do with being brave.
Sure, the first time I got in the cage there was some stuff I had to try and rewire in my brain. But as soon as a massive 17ft great white slowly swam by me in the clear water and I could see they were not interested in eating me in one fail swoop, my ‘fear’ quickly turned to obsession on trying to show people they are wrong to despair of these amazing animals,” Rannachan said.
He further added: “There is a lot that’s really incredible facts about white sharks. A good friend always reminds me that they are living dinosaurs and when you are eye to eye with them this point really comes to life. I think the fact they use so many receptors down their body and in the little dots on their nose called Ampullae of Lorenzini to sense animals in distress or really any electrical impulse around them including my beating heart is amazing. In other words, they have superpowers.”
However, his friends and family members are still terrified of his profession and often call him ‘mad’ for his life-threatening adventures.
“When people see my photos, 90 per cent of the time the reaction is ‘you are crazy! That’s fine that’s a natural reaction to what I do, but it’s not true thankfully. Sharks are very polarising for many people. They either love them or hate them – but almost everyone has an opinion about them,” said Rannachan.
“The fact that they are such huge predators and we can spend so much time hanging out in the same water with them and be totally fine is incredible. Try doing that with a wild tiger, lion, or bear,” he added.
The photographer says he wants his photos to show people that sharks may be apex predators but are also extremely curious and playful.
“I want my images to show people while yes there is a reason sharks have been around for so long and they are apex predators, they are also extremely curious and playful animals. I want people to feel this when they see my photos.
Yes, they are apex predators but that’s literally how they look only about one percent of the time. And even when I’m a few feet from a big mouth that’s able to take about 50lbs of meat in a single bite I’m not scared in the least.
When sharks go for any bait they essentially close their eyes, so that much speed and force going in one direction can sometimes mean they bump into our cages. It does not happen very often but when it does it’s a great reminder at just how small we really are, and the power these guys can create in seconds,” he said.
“I want people to try and not think about sharks as Hollywood would like you to see them. I want people to respect them but also to be curious about them. I encourage anyone who is in the slight bit interested to plan a trip to see them.
I love taking people out there who are slightly scared but also fascinated by sharks and see their reaction after being in the water with them for the first time. It’s almost an out of body experience, to know something you have been told for so long is just not true and they are not just here to eat us.
It’s a great metaphor for life I tell people. I tell them: ‘see you were scared of this for so long and never thought you could do it, now you have done it you don’t want to get out of the water with them – what else in your life are you doing that too?'” he added.