Saving Whales in the Nexus of Art and Conservation

Taiwan News
Date: 2016-06-30
By: WildAid

In 2004, photographer Bryant Austin floated on the surface of the South Pacific observing a

Photo by WildAid / Photographer Bryant Austin

Photo by WildAid / Photographer Bryant Austin

humpback whale and her calf. The five-week old, two-ton calf left his mother and glided within five feet of Austin, close enough that he put down his camera. The calf gracefully swam around him, giving the photographer his first close encounter with a whale.

From his book Beautiful Whale, Austin says, “For the first time, I could see the true colors, fine details, and subtle tones of the humpback whale; all of the elements that make them real. I never would have dared to swim this close to a whale. I wouldn’t even have imagined the prospect of photographing a whale that approached me within five feet on his own terms.”

Suddenly, he felt a gentle, but firm tap on his shoulder and turned around to meet the mother whale face to face. The tap had come from her two-ton, 15-foot pectoral fin, communicating a mild warning. Looking into her eyes, Austin was awed by the “gentle restraint” shown by these creatures in their interactions with him and the incredible body awareness they had.      [FULL  STORY]

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