Photographing whales is no easy task, but Bryant Austin has developed a unique method to create giant detailed portraits of these huge and enigmatic creatures.
Bryant had worked as an underwater photographer and marine biologist for many years, but new inspiration literally tapped him on the shoulder one day in the form of a 45-ton humpback whale. This close encounter, described eloquently in the interview below, led him to quit his job and sell everything he owned in order to begin a new artistic journey — to capture images that convey the amazing experience of meeting a whale up close.
But simply enlarging a regular photo wasn’t enough, it could never capture the full detail of these creatures. So he invented his own technique. These giant photographs, currently on display at the Museum of Monterey in California, are created by taking a series of 5-foot-wide photos using a 50 megapixel camera, which he then pieces together.
Before he can even take these photos, he spends up to three months getting to know a group of whales so that they feel safe enough to approach him on their own terms. The results are truly spectacular.
Bryant hopes that his work will help call attention to the plight of these creatures and inspire people to want to help them. Here is an interview about his work and his journey as an artist.
He also has a new book of his photographs, which includes fold-out pages to help convey the detail in these images. Below is a video where he talks about the new book.
You can read more about his current exhibit at the Museum of Monterey in California here.
You can see many of Bryant’s photographs in this recent article from Wired.
You can learn a lot more about Bryant Austin at his website.