More elusive than a Hollywood star—and with more teeth—sharks are one of Michael Muller’s other exotic subjects. Great whites, lemon sharks, hammerheads, whale sharks, blue sharks, blacktips, Oceanic whitetips and others swim through Muller’s book Sharks, published recently by Taschen and on view at the publisher’s LA gallery until the end of June. (Muller will be at the New York Taschen store for a book signing on May 26.) Shooting in oceans from the Bahamas to South Africa over the course of ten years, Muller has often worked without a shark cage, lighting his pictures with a seven-bulb, 1200-watt plexi-encased strobe he helped design and build with help from NASA engineers. The results are sharks that show remarkable charisma for creatures that neither blink nor smile.
Diving with a camera can have other advantages. Muller describes a dive near Cape Town with Ben Stiller, one of the many high profile people he says he has invited on shark adventures, but one of the few who actually went. “The second day with Ben Stiller we went 50 miles out to sea and dropped into a part of the ocean that is 3,000 feet deep to swim with 130 blue sharks and a half dozen makos. There were sharks everywhere! When I handed Ben one of my cameras, he said, “Mike, I don’t want to take pictures, I’m fine to just watch.” Laughing, I explained that the camera was for protection, what we use to bat the sharks away when they get too curious or decide they want to take a taste.” Don’t try that with an iPhone.
How I Got That Shot: Michael Muller’s Strobe-Lit Surfers
How I Got That Grant: Keith Ellenbogen’s High-Speed Photography Adventure at M.I.T.
Sharks and People: Exploring The Relationship Between The Two