‘Not Going to Get Eaten’

‘Not Going to Get Eaten’

Wildlife photographer Euan Rannachan is on a mission to change our view of one of the world’s most feared creatures: the shark.

The Californian artist has had his photos of great white sharks published around the world and has been photographing them for over 15 years. “I’ve always been super fascinated by large predators, especially sharks,” he told Newsweek. “Growing up we had movies like Jaws and the like, but I had never really seen a great white shark art photo.”

An illustrator, painter and photographer, Rannachan had the idea of ​​trying to capture the unknown world of sharks and set out to learn how to photograph them.

“I always wanted to see one in the wild, it was my dream to spend more time with them and to be able to create art with them,” he said.

“The best place in the world to see sharks”

In 2016, he made his first trip to Guadalupe Island, located 120 miles off the Mexican peninsula of Baja California, and had the opportunity to spend time with sharks.

“It’s like Jurassic Park. Like a film set,” said Rannachan, who shares the results of her work on Instagram under the handle @euanart. “It’s really just a rock in the Pacific. The sharks go there because it’s a migration route for elephant seals and sea lions, so the beaches are littered with cubs.”

Euan Rannachan has photographed great white sharks extensively, and his work can be seen on Instagram. EuanArt/Instagram

He said it was “arguably the best place in the world to see sharks”, with deep edges that create the perfect hunting ground for predators.

Rannachan has had an extensive career in photography, photographing everything from professional sports like NHL hockey and NASCAR to weddings. But he especially likes to photograph the underwater world.

Due to his time capturing the unseen sides of one of the ocean’s greatest predators, he has developed a deep understanding of sharks.

“Over the years there’s been these common misconceptions with great white sharks. You think you see one and it’s going to come and eat you, but that’s not true,” Rannachan said.

Inspired to share this message with others, he founded the cage diving company Be a Shark with fellow photographer Nikki Brant Sevy.

Be a Shark is a travel agency that takes people to introduce them to creatures. It helps break down common misconceptions about sharks by giving audiences the opportunity to get up close and personal with them.

Euan Rannachan is passionate about changing common misconceptions about great white sharks. EuanArt/Instagram ‘One of those moments when you know you’re fully alive’

“It’s something you can’t fully understand until you see one face-to-face,” Rannachan said. “I call it rewiring your brain. As soon as you step into the water and come face-to-face with an 18-foot great white shark, your fight-or-flight reflexes kick in.”

Passionate about the experiences offered by Be a Shark, Rannachan said that when people come face-to-face with sharks, their reactions can be very strong.

“Some people see the animal and start crying or screaming,” he said. “I call it one of those moments when you know you’re fully alive. For me, it’s like the birth of my children or seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

“It’s something you’ve been told about all your life and then you actually see it. It can be very, very powerful,” he said.

On a sightseeing trip, two cages sit in the back of the boat and a man stands with a long piece of hemp rope holding a piece of yellowfin tuna to “scramble” the shark safely. This technique allows Rannachan to capture its popular images and provide a unique experience for visitors.

“There’s a common misconception that it’s somehow cruel to sharks, but there’s been plenty of studies proving it doesn’t hurt them, it doesn’t tease them,” Rannachan said. “It really is the best way in the world to get closer to these animals and be safe.”

A close-up of a great white shark shows it eating a piece of yellowfin tuna. EuanArt/Instagram “I was never afraid that the shark would do anything”

The Be a Shark team also contributes to the Marine Conservation Science Institute, providing images and a detailed synopsis of creatures around the island for an annual record. The team managed to identify nearly 500 sharks, and with their experience, Rannachan said, they can now recognize some sharks by their silhouette alone.

Has he ever worried about his safety? “I was never afraid of the shark doing anything,” he said. “I worried about the people in the cage, just because it’s a massive rush, like an out-of-body experience. There are times when you just have to make sure everyone is okay in the cage, make sure they are still breathing.

“Once you’ve overcome the initial fear of opening the cage door and your body is telling you ‘I shouldn’t be doing this right now’, when you find out you’re fine and you’re not getting you to eat is something that’s very hard to describe. It’s actually very peaceful,” he said.

Currently, the future of Be a Shark is in limbo, as Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas has closed the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve indefinitely.

“It’s so sad that the island can technically close and we won’t have that opportunity,” Rannachan said. “Without us there, the illegal fishermen will come and kill these animals. To think about that is really hard for me.”

While waiting to see what the future holds for tours of the island, he continued to share fine art photographs and videos of close encounters with sharks.

“With social media, I want to change people’s perceptions. I feel like that’s why I was put on his planet. To photograph them and make art with them and rewire the brain people,” he said. “I take it very seriously.”

He is also passionate about sharing another side of the great white shark. While images of bared teeth command attention, Rannachan captures the softer aspects of predators.

“They only look like that about 1% of the time. Otherwise they’re very aerodynamic, very quiet, very slow,” he said. “I think it’s important to show both sides.”

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