Photographer Snaps Portraits of Sharks While Swimming With Them Cage-Free

If the movie Jaws gave you nightmares, then you’re probably not well-suited to do the kind of photography that photographer Michael Muller spends his free time doing. Muller dives into the ocean and snaps close-up portraits of deadly sharks, often without a cage for protection. The video above is a short feature on Muller’s pastime by the TV show “Last Call With Carson Daly.”

One of the things Muller talks about is how he brings a studio photography style to underwater photography, and how he created his own underwater lighting kit to do just that. Here’s what he recently told TransWorld SURF:

It started with underwater lights—specifically ones I invented about four years ago while I was shooting a Speedo campaign. At the time I was trying every underwater lighting system. In my head, I wanted to bring a Great White shark into the studio, and I was trying to figure out how to do that. At that point the strongest strobe I could find to use underwater was 400 watts, so I ended up getting together with a couple of guys—a fabricator and a mass engineer—and we were able to make a waterproof pro photo strobe head that uses 1,200 watts. We have six patents on it, and it allows me to bring a full-blown studio in the water.

You can find a selection of Muller’s shark photographs over on his website.

(via ISO 1200 via Imaging Resource)

  • Jeremy Madore

    “I don’t put myself in situations where there’s a risk I might possibly not come home and raise my daughters, which is my top priority”….
    No, your top priority is putting yourself at risk shooting sharks and getting ‘the shot’ which, professionally, is admirable. But from one father to another: dude… seriously?

  • rohicks

    I’ve swam with sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and will be doing a tiger shark expedition in 2013. It is very exhilarating! I couldn’t imagine a great white. I want his job.

  • Alan Dove

    If he plans his dives carefully, he’s at greater risk driving to the dock. Sharks certainly look fierce, and some species in some situations can be quite dangerous, but attacks on humans are extremely rare. The highest risk activities involve looking like a seal (surfers paddling their boards), thrashing around in murky water (fishermen, swimmers), or drifting alone way offshore (shipwreck survivors).

  • NewOne

    “…he’s at greater risk driving to the dock.” Sorry. Your logic is wrong because you’re talking about statistics. Not many people swim near sharks and interact with them by blasting bright strobes. If you voluntarily put yourself in a dangerous situation, you put your life at a greater risk. Period. Statistically speaking, you’re likely to die from “driving to the dock” than engaging in a gun battle in Afghanistan. Again, if his priority is to raise his daughters, it’d be safer NOT to take photos of the shark.

  • Dave

    Sorry, I have dove with the bull sharks at Beqa Lagoon in Fiji and the Great Whites of Guadalupe Mexico (Where he got his images). In Fiji you do not use a cage, in Mexico, they let you out of the cage in certain circumstances. The sharks are interested in the bait, not the divers. They do these dives over and over year after year and statistics show that it is relatively safe (I have only ever heard of one death at a shark feeding event and it was at neither of these sites, it was a true anomaly). We had 8 great whites circling us when we were out of the cage, uninterested in us but waiting for more bait to be tossed into the water. I was very comfortable. In Fiji we had about 15 bull sharks swimming all around us (with a variety of other shark species). Sometimes the bulls would become frenzied but only seemed interested in the bait. So, if you look at how often people put them selves in these situations (thousands per year) and how few incidents actually occur, then yes, you can rely on statistics to judge how safe it is. Now look at the statistics of how safe it is to drive to a destination. Alan is right.