By Liana Jacob
FASCINATING UNDERWATER pictures reveal this husband and wife duo as they venture to the depths of the ocean and encounter one of the LARGEST GREAT WHITE SHARKS ever recorded by divers – in a bid to show that sharks aren’t ‘MAN EATING MONSTERS.’
Nail-biting images reveal the true personality of the largest great white shark at approximately 22-feet wide, thought to be a terrifying predator, swimming calmly with free-diver, Kayleigh (30), taken by her husband, underwater photographer, Cam Grant (28), from Hawaii, USA.
She can also be seen posing alongside thousands of tiger sharks as if she was one of them and even touching one with her hand as it glides through the waters off the island of Oahu.
Further pictures show Kayleigh playfully socialising with sting rays as part of her freediving lesson. Cam has taken the stunning photographs to change the public’s fear of great whites into ‘fascination’ as well as to raise awareness of trying to take better care of the world’s oceans.
“My childhood was consumed by the outdoors. Whether it was mountain biking during summer or skiing during winter,” Cam said.
“I was consistently reminded of how beautiful my surroundings truly were. Ever since a very young age, I’ve had a very creative outlook on life.
“I discovered my love for photography after developing my first photos and building my own pin hole cameras at the age of fifteen.
“It wasn’t until later in my life, I decided that I wanted to turn my love for photography into a career. The idea of capturing a moment in time will never leave me. Now, I am blessed to work side by side capturing images of wildlife alongside my wife Kayleigh.
“In our line of work, we can plan but it never seems to play out how we had envisioned. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with wildlife.
“We love the ocean and sharks. On this particular day, we were documenting tiger sharks with One Ocean Diving, ten to fifteen miles off the island of Oahu as they fed on a dead whale. We never could have imaged what happened next.
“The photographs provided show images of one of the largest great white sharks ever recorded by divers. We were so fortunate to be at the right place at the right time when she showed up.
“These photos captured the hearts of people all around the globe because they show a free diver, Kayleigh, swimming peacefully alongside one of the most feared predators in the world.
“We hope by sharing these images it can change perspectives of sharks. They are apex predators and should be respected, but not feared as man eating monsters.
“For these specific photos of the great white shark, we hope to speak up for those that don’t have a voice.
“Sharks are being killed at an alarming rate of about 70-100 million per year for shark fin soup and we believe through our work we can show true coexistence. At the end of the day, we strive to change fear into fascination.”
The great white shark, also known as the great white, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all major oceans.
The largest great white on record was measured at 36-feet in the 1870s. In popular culture, the great white has been depicted as a ferocious man-eater, such as in the movie Jaws.
However, Cam and Kayleigh hope that by sharing their striking pictures with the world, they can change this negative perception.
Cam describes his method of capturing these photos.
“Underwater photography has taken me years to learn. Your combining dynamic diving with camera systems underwater,” he said.
“The majority of our photography is taken freediving, one breath of air, and sometimes you have limited time to achieve composition.
“Timing and placement in the water column is imperative, wildlife moments only occur once and we want to make sure we’re there to document it.
“In order combat this, both Kayleigh and I take freediving training very seriously. We were able to obtain incredible images with the great white shark because her demeanour was very calm and unthreatening.
“Our ultimate goal is to read behaviour and determine whether it is safe to interact and photograph certain species.
“In this case, the great white shark was more than comfortable with us sharing the water with her. She did not look at us as a meal or threat in any way.
“Shooting photos underwater simply fascinates me. We have barely scratched the surface of what exists in our oceans. Highlighting its fragile state is of high importance to us.
“We hold high hopes that our imagery allows others to find a deeper connection and appreciation for our oceans and wants to protect and care for it. One thing you can do to help the Earth’s oceans is use fewer single-use plastic in your daily life.
“It is easy for people to jump to conclusions through text or photograph, we ask everyone to take a step back and evaluate each situation.
“We often receive messages describing us as being ‘insane’ or ‘naïve’, but in all reality we took all necessary precautions before interacting with this apex predator.
“Other people want to do this themselves, but we ask everyone to be smart and only dive with sharks with trained professionals like the crew at One Ocean Diving.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/camgrantphotography/