Sharks and People: Exploring Our Relationship with the Most Feared Fish in the SeaSharks and People: Exploring Our Relationship with the Most Feared Fish in the Sea by Thomas P. Peschak
My rating: 4/5 cats
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this book is the perfect size (huge) to appreciate its truly stunning photography.

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the text is also good, and will cover all the things you want to know about the way sharks and people interact. it’s written by a conservation photojournalist who began his career as a marine field biologist before he decided he could better raise awareness through his photographs, as people are more easily seduced through images than scientific data. and because he’s really good at photography. these pictures are impressive in terms of both access and composition.

but the point is, this guy knows his sharkstuff, he’s not just some guy taking pretty pictures. and while any sharkweek fan worth their fin knows a lot of this stuff already: we have a precarious relationship with sharks, we hunt them, they bite us, finning is deplorable, some of the attacks are our fault as we invade their territory, shark tourism can condition them to associate humans with food, endangered sharks = endangered everything else in the ocean because ecosystem, etc.

but if you don’t know all this, this book is a way to learn about sharks and also be completely wowed by these photographs, which are again – stunning:

and i learned a couple of things myself, most interestingly:

The most fatalities attributed to a single shark occurred in November of 1993 along the southeast coast of Madagascar. In an ironic twist, more than 95 people died after eating the meat of a bull shark, and an additional 120 severely ill people were admitted to hospitals after their nervous systems were attacked by a toxin found in the animal’s liver.

haha, says nature.

it’s an important book to read if you still associate sharks with jaws or whatever – just to be able to better appreciate their majesty and to learn about how scarily unregulated the fishing industry is, and how wasteful and sad all the stories of bycatch are, along with all the animals needlessly killed in those useless shark nets. i eat plenty of fish, so i’m not preaching at anyone here, but waste really pisses me off, and all those dead dugongs – the sweethearts of the ocean – really get my goat.

the photos are better in the book, and there are so many i wasn’t able to find on the old internet, but here is a sampling of some of his work, which is… wait for it – stunning.

and this iconic one,

which is real, but which has apparently been repurposed in a number of internet hoaxes beginning with this story

and then in images supposedly depicting the aftermath of hurricane katrina

hurricane irene in puerto rico

hurricane sandy in new jersey (which yes, is the same damn picture as the puerto rico one. lazy hoaxers! do your own photoshop!)

and a shark-tank supposedly breaking and flooding a mall in kuwait

he talks about the various hoaxes and his delight in them:

I always look forward to receiving e-mails from friends and family who have spotted the same white shark in a different context. While I will probably never become a legend in my own right, at least my white shark is well on her way.

so he has a sense of humor, which makes me like him even more.


read my reviews on goodreads

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