Shark Whisperer: Artist overcomes fear to capture majestic sharks like never before

Copy of The Whale Shark © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.co.uk

Throughout his entire life, Jean-Marie Ghislain was afraid of the ocean’s dangerous predators. In 2008, he decided to face his fears. Since his first dive with sharks, the Belgian artist has been dedicated to underwater photography as well as protecting marine life.

These days, Jean-Marie is regarded as the world’s most famous shark whisperer. His portrayal of diverse shark species in gentle and atmospheric black and white photographs set new benchmarks in underwater photography. In spectacular images, he reveals a previously unseen, almost tender side to these assumed monsters which stoke our collective fears.

He depicts these “guardians of the sea” as graceful creatures worthy of our protection in their natural, but increasingly threatened, habitats. He never uses a flash, which allows him to get very close to these predators without alarming them and photograph them from extraordinary perspectives, showcasing their subtle features. He also captures other sea-life, from a solitary turtle to a school of fish swimming past.

Speaking of his work, Jean-Marie said: "“Shark encounters fascinate me with their pure truthfulness. They have had a strong influence on my life – so strong that my relationship to life and other people has undergone a foundational change."

A series of his beautiful photographs are now going on show at the LUMAS – a fine art photography gallery in Mayfair, London. One of his works, titled ‘The Whale Shark’, is part of LUMAS's collaboration with the charity Parley for the Oceans which is working to clean the world's oceans. All profits from sales of this image will go to the charity, alongside work from Texan photographer Shelia Rogers. To find out more, visit uk.lumas.com.

Via Creative Boom submission | All images courtesy of LUMAS and Jean-Marie Ghislain. Main image: Copy of The Whale Shark © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.co.uk

The Marks of Time © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

The Marks of Time © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

The Rose Garden © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

The Rose Garden © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Family Portrait I © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Family Portrait I © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Family Portrait II © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Family Portrait II © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Fins © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Fins © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Into The Deep © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Into The Deep © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Morning Flight © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

Morning Flight © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

The New Dawn © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

The New Dawn © Jean-Marie Ghislain, www.lumas.com

© Morne Hartenberg

© Morne Hartenberg