A Woman Riding a Shark

A woman rides a shark – Photographer Nick CALOYIANIS – National Geographic

What’s Wrong With this Picture ?

September 17, 2012

I grew up with National Geographic magazine.

We had every issue from the early 60’s. I read it cover to cover – well, picture to picture in the early days before I could read. It inspired me to dream about the natural world and was one of the reasons I spent so much time diving and exploring underwater.

Of late, Nat Geo launched a series with the “hardcore huntress” Melissa Bachman. Apparently, Melissa likes to shoot and kill large predators for fun. After much public outcry Nat Geo has dropped her from the list of people on the show – kudos for making the right decision but it seems they have been behaving in a questionable manner for some time… have a look at the photo on the right:

This photo is for sale as a print on Nat Geo’s site.

The woman posing on it is about as disrespectful as one could be… For one, why the need to “ride” the tiger shark? Must we always seek to dominate nature? Must we continuously belittle these amazing creatures?

Look closely, the reality is the animal is dead! You can tell by the fact that the woman’s hair is moving upwards as her and the animal sink towards the bottom. In addition, a live tiger shark would have never allowed anyone to sit on its back. It is also evident by the glazed look in the tiger sharks eyes – there is no life there. There are also markings on the right side of its mouth, I am guessing that the animal was caught with a fishing rod, struggled for hours as the angler attempted to exhaust it and finally it died… all so that a photographer could capture an image of what? This image shows just how far we have sunk and how far detached we are from respecting the natural world.

If this was a photo of a woman or man riding a dead bear the public outrage would be enormous. Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t know the shark is dead when looking at it. Also, fish seem to not get the same respect as land animals.

I used to dream about having a photo published in National Geographic.

I used to.