SOUTH AFRICA: A brave man teasing this shark with his arm. Mediadrumimages/AndyBrandyCasagrande

By Balraj Sohal


MEET THE dad who has taken both of his two toddlers CAGE DIVING and admits most people think he has ‘MENTAL PROBLEMS’ because of his fascination with getting up-close with SHARKS. In an amazing series of shots we see a man leaning over a boat with his camera pointing towards a gaping shark, an epic view of a sharks muscular underside and a mesmerising photo showing the dense red gums of the frightening fish as it parades it’s endless razor-like teeth.

The fascinating images were captured by cinematographer Andy Brandy Casagrande (42), from New York, USA. The two-time Emmy award winner and father of two was born with an extreme fascination for sharks, which explains his urge to secure immersive shots of these enormous animals.

SOUTH AFRICA: A wary shark mistakes a camera for food and doesn’t hold back in trying to gobble it up. Mediadrumimages/AndyBrandyCasagrande

Andy manages to capture these intimate yet alarming portraits by using a wide range of equipment which includes super-slow-motion, thermal-infrared and night-vision cameras.

“Sharks are the most polite predators on earth, but you also need to have a mutual respect with them,” Andy says.

“Most people think I have mental problems, clearly they are projecting their own fears and insecurities – I love that.”

With a career that spans over twenty years, it’s not difficult to understand how Andy secures such eye-popping photographs, but what’s even more compelling is the relationship now being built between his children Ace (6) and Nova (4) and the ocean.

SOUTH AFRICA: This shark doesn’t mind having a little play around. Mediadrumimages/AndyBrandyCasagrande

Great Whites are the world’s largest predatory fish and can weigh up to a staggering 357st whilst growing an intimidating three hundred triangular teeth, but that doesn’t hinder Ace and Nova’s perspective on the agile creatures.

“We took our two kids Ace & Nova to see Great White Sharks (and even cage dive) at the ages of 2 and 4 years old in South Africa,” Andy states.

“They are our future and they are activated to protect this planet and empower others to do the same.”

Starting from the younger generations, Andy maintains the decision to make his children aware of the world and how to protect it, so that the future won’t be as catastrophic as what is predicted.

SOUTH AFRICA: Face-to-face with a massive shark comes naturally for Andy. Mediadrumimages/AndyBrandyCasagrande

The fearless cinematographer is aware that the way to do this is to make sure his children are comfortable with nature, that fear doesn’t exist within them which is achieved by exposing them to the vulnerability and cautious nature of sharks.

“Humans must come to understand that we are not the only important things on this planet, we must learn to love, respect and coexist with our planet, and everything within it.

“One of the biggest threats right now to sharks is not finning, not overfishing, its people like you and me, every decision we make has a consequence, we’re actually poisoning ourselves,” Andy continues.

“Pollution and plastic are completely permeating the entire ecosystem from the top predators to the smallest fish.

“If I could inspire people to realise how powerful a single person can be, to protect the planet and coexist with it, to make positive decisions, to make a positive impact through my actions, my stories, my images, then maybe it’s not too late.”