Friday, August 27, 2010

true whale watching

in june my husband and i drove to cape cod for the weekend to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. we decided we needed to spend more time and effort exploring the northeast, and we both love car trips, so it was the ideal spot. we stayed in chatham and explored the other towns as much as possible. on sunday morning before the trek back to nyc we drove up to provincetown to go whale watching

being my first time, i was like a kid in a candy shop. whales baffle me. their mysterious, graceful, seemingly gentle ways. their incredible size. the thousands of miles they cover migrating. such giants.

we were incredibly pleased with our outing that sunday spotting at least 8-10 humpback whales, a few very close to the boat. this reminded me of the articles i had read in the spring about the work of photographer bryant austin, and put my whale watching experience to shame.

bryant austin creates high-resolution, life-size photographs of endangered whale species. his current body of work represents the largest most detailed archival photographs of whales ever produced. devoting up to three months at a time with specific whale populations, austin seeks out inquisitive and accepting individual whales. he free dives with the whales and photographs them at a distance of not more than six feet. during these rare and unique encounters, austin experiences the whale’s meticulous movements around his body. the whales will gently reposition their pectoral fins and flukes in order to avoid causing austin any harm or serious injury. he puts his life at risk every time he photographs a whale in these conditions. working intimately with fifty to one hundred ton subjects is a delicate process dictated on the terms set by the whale; austin’s success is dependent upon the relationship he builds with his willing subject. less than one millionth of one percent of the human population will experience what austin has witnessed.

bryant austin’s inspiration for this project began five years ago while diving in the kingdom of tonga. austin was six feet in front of a humpback whale calf when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder -- he turned to face the eye of the mother. she extended her 15-foot, one-ton pectoral fin to gently let him know that she was watching him. it was at this moment, when Austin locked eyes with the mother whale, that he realized what had been missing in the field of whale photography and conservation, an emotional connection…mammal-to-mammal, species to species.

at great personal sacrifice, austin sold everything he owned to fund his fieldwork and pursue his dream of documenting endangered whales. through the process austin realized he had created a precious gift that should be shared with the world: to-scale archival photographs that represent the true nature of a whale. almost every nation is contributing to the demise of these creatures, whether directly or indirectly. marine mammal conservation through the arts ( is completing a documentary detailing austin’s most recent fieldwork, touring a multimedia presentation of his photographs and most importantly continues to raise funds for austin’s critical and time sensitive future fieldwork. see more here.



* all images and most copy via bryant austin and

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! I came here looking for twin bed inspiration and fell in love with this post. Also the post on Slim A., which I have planned as well - that book is gorgeous. You have great taste.