Part of being a photographer is looking to other photographer’s work to learn techniques and be inspired. It’s not unusual to hit a mental block and take a break to explore the minds and works of others, this is true in any craft. Last time we talked about this we asked you if you wanted to make your subjects “Fly” with Trevor DeSaussure, and maybe what it would be like if 350ft cliffs were your set with with Jay Philbrick. Today our photographer is Benjamin Von Wong, an incredibly talented photographer is described as someone who craves to be creatively challenged and overcomes impossibilities, with his epic photography.
Von Wong has his own various series of incredible and borderline crazy albums, but his most recent album where he had a model become a shark shepherd is simply mind blowing. You just have to take a look at a couple photos to know it had to have been a logistical nightmare to try and make this shoot happen.
And then you read about how Von Wong actually had to execute the shoot, and you realize that it was actually somehow even more difficult than you imagined it. From his own blog:
In addition to the standard complications of shooting underwater – Limited oxygen, complex communication, specialized equipment and experienced divers – we only had a tiny two-hour window every day, between 11 AM and 1 PM, where the sharks would be active and light rays visible.
So why did he go through all this trouble? Aside from loving his craft, this was to promote conservation of sharks. To show that they aren’t dangerous and we can live with them in perfect harmony. A worthy cause, and one he’d like to get more people behind, as evidenced by this petition.
As previously mentioned, this also isn’t Von Wong’s first time under water.
Some even more telling shots are Von Wong’s behind-the-scenes shots. Von Wong emphasized how much of the shoot was simply waiting for a shark to appear, and when it did appear, not making any sudden movements as the sharks were very skittish and timid. Von Wong noted how often sharks are seen as bloodthirsty hunters in the media, but he felt a more apt comparison was a squirrel at a park, these white tipped reef sharks would swiftly dart away if anyone got too close.
This video explains more about the process he went through as well as the incredible cause Von Wong is working for.
Von Wong is a professional! So obviously be careful in your own adventures with photography, but definitely feel free to get inspired by his incredible work.