“Giants” is a beautiful set of black-and-white underwater photos by Australian photographer Jem Cresswell that offers an intimate look at the beauty of humpback whales.
The photos were captured during dives conducted over 3 years in the southern Pacific Ocean as the whales made their annual migration to Tonga. The selection shared in the series was culled from over 10,000 images captured during the dives.
“We only swim with certain whales; snorkelling/free diving with them (no scuba),” Cresswell says in an interview with My Modern Met. “I always enter the water as calmly as possible, keeping my heart rate low and wait to see the behaviour. There are obvious signs if the whales are comfortable, and we will not approach until it is evident they are happy for us to be in the water with them.”
“I was initially drawn to the whales’ gentle nature, sheer size and the feeling of insignificance in their presence,” Cresswell tells PetaPixel. “Over the past 3 years returning to Tonga, I have sought to capture intimate portraits of these complex and conscious animals, bringing the viewer into the world of these mystical giants.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at this project: