When Australian photographer Jem Cresswell slipped into the waters around the Tongan archipelago with a camera and a snorkel, he focused on slowing his heart rate. He knew that if he remained still and calm, the curious humpback whales that migrate to the region annually would approach him. Cresswell grew up photographing surfers but turned his talents to these graceful mammals in 2014, using his lens to capture intimate black-and-white portraits of whale behavior. With his photos, collected over five years and compiled in his 2020 book Giants, Cresswell aims to “take people into the water with the whales and bring them eye-to-eye.”
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