Sharks. Cinema’s most enigmatic beast. Leopard, tiger, great white, hammerhead: these vicious finned predators have always had a knack for terrorizing characters and stealing scenes–one even had it’s own ominous tune.
“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore,” reads the opening sentence of this Smithsonian magazine article. No, the panic was not caused by the arrival of overly tanned, puffed-hair and muscular visitors, but instead by shark attacks in the waters off the shore. During that summer, a shark attacked five victims. In an interview with George Burgess, a shark-attack expert in charge of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History (sounds like a role for Nicolas Cage), he explains that when these attacks happened people thought a sea turtle was responsible before the press ultimately identified it as a great white.
Photographer James Morgan snapped this remarkable photo of six-year-old Enal having a blast in the ocean waters below his family’s “stilted house in Wangi, Indonesia” with his PET SHARK. If that isn’t the look of pure childhood joy then I don’t know what is.
Shark fin soup has a long history in Chinese culture as a culinary symbol of prosperity and success, so it’s not surprising the the country’s economic growth has led to an increase in the dish’s consumption… and the killing of up to 73 million sharks a year largely to serve this demand.
Fortunately, public awareness campaigns on the threats to worldwide shark populations seem to have helped: in Hong Kong, for instance, this delicacy is losing its status as a “must have” for celebratory meals. A new study by Australian Institute of Marine Science, though, may completely redefine the equation between shark meat and success, as they’ve found that living sharks may have much greater economic value than dead ones.
I hope this entry juxtaposing two art pieces, the former by Belgian commercial photographer and artist Koen Demuynck doesn’t “jump the shark.” See what I did there? Pun! Kudos to whoever can name the photographer behind the second photo, which I snapped at the 2009 Armory Show in New York City. vs. [Demuynck image via…