Updated: September 30, 2022
For most ocean goers, coming across a great white shark would probably spark fear. But for underwater photographer and former National Geographic assignment photographer David Fleetham, these sharks sparked fascination and sent him on a journey around the world to photograph them and dispel the fear that comes with sharks.
The public is invited to learn more about these animals and Fleetham’s journeys in a free presentation, “Photographing Great White Sharks – A journey to Australia, South Africa, Guadalupe Island Mexico and back to Hawaii.”
The Zoom presentation will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. as part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Councilʻs monthly Know Your Ocean Speaker Series, sponsored by the County of Maui. Admission is free, but advanced registration is required. To register, please visit https://bit.ly/SharkPhotographyWebinar.
Fleetham will share stories and photographs from his 30-year-long mission to learn more about great white sharks and nail down an iconic image of a misunderstood myth.
“For me, the path to good photos of great white sharks has been one with many twists and turns,” said Fleetham. “In terms of perceptions, cage diving with the sharks has become an industry in many parts of the world and has changed our view of these impressive fish.”
Born in Vancouver, Canada in 1958, Fleetham is one of the most published underwater photographers in the world. He began diving and photographing underwater in 1976 and has called Hawaii home since 1986. For the first ten years he photographed in the cold, rich waters of British Columbia, Canada, and worked as a PADI Instructor and USCG Certified boat captain in various dive businesses in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. From Hawaii, David has been on assignments to Indonesia, the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, the Bahamas, Micronesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, the Sea of Cortez, China, the Red Sea, the Socorro Islands, numerous locations in the South Pacific and Caribbean, and back to the cold waters of British Columbia.
“Sharks are vital for ocean ecosystems, including coral reefs, where they help maintain a sound balance in the food web,” said Meredith Beeson, Project and Research Coordinator at Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “Changing public perception and protecting these animals is crucial if we want to continue to enjoy the reefs around Maui Nui, and we’re excited to hear what David has to share from his experience working on this.”
Fleetham is a founding member of The Ocean Artists Society, whose members include James Cameron, Wyland, David Doubilet, and Al Giddings. You can see his work on his website, and he can be found on Instagram @davidfleetham.