Inside the jaws of death: The stunning images that capture what it's like to be attacked by a Great White shark

By Gavin Allen

Jaws: Julian Cohen's photographs were taken from inside a shark cage as the Great White charged at him

This is an image you are only likely to see once in your life, if experienced first hand.

However, this shudderingly close-up image of a Great White shark's wide-open jaws, seconds before it strikes, has made one of the most rare and dangerous sights in the world accessible to all.

The photographs are the work of Julian Cohen who was in a cage taking his snaps as the shark slammed into it whilst chasing bait.

Too much iron in your diet, Jaws? The Great White's blood-stained gums and rows of mercilessly sharp teeth are clear as it attempts to bite the metal shark cage

His amazing shots were taken near Neptune Island, just off the coast of South Australia.

Cohen went there to photograph the sharks, which he says are acutely misunderstood.
'I took these photos to demonstrate the magnificent power of these animals, not to make them look like crazed killers,' he said.

'Just as we can appreciate the power, grace and beauty of a tiger, we don't go wandering around in the forest where they live.

'For me the same applies to sharks. When we enter their world we can't blame them for the consequences.'

Despite their reputation stoked by the film Jaws, since the year 2000 there have been a total of 66 unprovoked Great White shark attacks, with only 14 of these attacks being fatal.

Rare and beautiful: Cohen's photographs are not designed to demonise the sharks, but to reverse the misunderstanding of the creatures brought about by popular fiction and film

In fact the fish do not target humans and don't even like their taste. What they are after is a fat, protein-rich seal rather than a bony human.

But often it is a case of mistaken identity, in which a shark ambushes a bather or surfer from below, believing the silhouette is from a seal.

And this is backed up by the fact that many attacks occur in waters with low visibility or other situations which impair the shark's senses.

It is believed many incidents seem to be 'test-bites' as they can tell in one bite whether or not the object is worth attacking.

Great White sharks also test-bite buoys, flotsam, and other unfamiliar objects, and might grab a human or a surfboard to identify it.

No accurate population numbers are available, but the Great White shark is now considered endangered.

Ironically, the trip that captured these pictures was organised by Rodney Fox, himself a victim of a Great White attack.

'These photos were all taken on the Neptune Islands in the Great Australian Bight, south of Port Lincoln, the tuna fishing capital of Australia,' said Cohen.

'I was diving with Rodney Fox who needed 360 stitches after being bitten by a Great White shark in 1963.

'He was spear fishing and the shark attacked him due to the blood in the water from the injured fish.

'Although he initially exacted revenge on every shark he could find, Rodney soon realised that this was a mistake, and has now become one of the foremost champions in shark conservation.

'His boat, the Princess II, a converted fishing boat is especially designed by him to allow divers and non divers alike to safely see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

'And even though the shark looks really angry, you'd be pretty narky if someone was waving a big mac in your face and then kept taking it away as you tried to bite it.'



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