This Underwater Photo Shoot Is Pretty Crazy But It's All For A Good Cause
Benjamin Von Wong and his team just pulled off one of the most incredible photo shoots in recent past, and for what? Sharks.
Because in his words, "[they] get a lot of crap and don’t get nearly enough love."
Von Wong aims to raise awareness for the conservation of shark sanctuaries and habitats with the photo series, as well as debunk stereotypes of violence associated with the creatures.
When the idea came to him, he didn't waffle much on it. “Once I got thinking about a strong message I wanted to convey, a ‘shark shepherd’ was something that really resonated to me,” he said.
Surprisingly, this is the first project Von Wong has done in advocacy of sharks. “To be honest, it’s not something you hear about very much in Canada...This project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn more about them,” he told BuzzFeed.
Von Wong also wrote on his website that the sharks they worked with were “the complete opposite” of the feral, bloodthirsty animals we assume them to be.
“Similar to squirrels at a park, the white-tipped reef sharks would hover around us curiously only to scamper off if anyone got too close,” he wrote. “Hoping to get the sharks in perfect position, our entire team tried their best to hug the walls and not make any sudden movements to not startle the timid creatures.”
Fortunately, he had some serious help from his partners, Tourism Fiji and Barefoot Collection.
Both organizations served as essential supporters, providing Von Wong with a full team of professional divers, as well as a marine biologist and shark expert, Thomas Vignaud.
Fortunately, Von Wong lucked out and found Amber Bourke, a champion freediver who can hold her breath for more than five minutes.
She'd never worked with sharks previously but wasn't daunted by them, as Von Wong's team of experts assured her of their calm, unhostile demeanors.
“…We only had a tiny two-hour window every day, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., where the sharks would be active and light rays visible...Over the course of three days, we waited over six hours,” Von Wong wrote on his website.
“I’m just happy that there’s a conversation going on. Sharks get a lot of crap and don’t get nearly enough love,” he stated.
You can support the petition yourself here.