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Friday, June 2, 2017

Some sharks are as cuddly as puppy dogs — and they all need our protection, says National Geographic photographer

Some sharks are as cuddly as puppy dogs — and they all need our protection, says National Geographic photographer

When “Jaws” hit theaters in the summer of 1975, Brian Skerry had an unusual reaction. “Most people wanted to avoid the water after seeing that movie, but I wanted to be Hooper, the guy in the water studying sharks,” says Skerry, who was 13 at the time.

He got his wish. Over the past four decades, Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater, often photographing the sleek, fearsome predators for National Geographic and other magazines. Over time, his view of sharks has evolved.

“When I started out, the notion of diving with sharks was sort of a machismo thing. I thought being in the water with a big predator would give me street cred as a diver,” he says. “But over the years, I came to see sharks as not only powerful, but vulnerable. It’s very difficult these days to find a shark that isn’t showing signs of anthropogenic stress — something that’s happened to them because of fishermen — like a hook in its mouth or a machete scar.”

At the National Geographic Museum’s new exhibit, “Sharks: On Assignment With Brian Skerry” (through Oct. 15), you won’t see the usual scary shots of sharks with teeth bared and blood in the water. Instead, you’ll see sharks as they really are: complex, curious, intelligent and vulnerable. Some of them are even friendly, Skerry says. Take Emma, a 14-foot tiger shark he regularly sees in the Bahamas.

Full story at http://wapo.st/2rxKJMf

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