Real-Life Jaws? Photographer Captures Iconic Shark Image

Photo of Great White shark that looks like Jaws

If Steven Spielberg’s classic movie “Jaws” didn’t make you afraid to go in the water, maybe Euan Rannachan‘s photo will. Rannachan captured an image of a Great White shark that looks strikingly similar to the iconic Jaws movie poster from the 1970s.

You can see Rannachan’s photo at the top of this story on the left and Roger Kastel’s famous “Jaws” artwork on the right. We don’t know about you, but it’s hard to say which one looks scarier.

Rannachan sat down with Jaws fan site, The Daily Jaws, recently, to discuss his photo and his love (yes, love) of sharks. Watch the full interview in the video at the bottom of this post but here are a few, ahem, bite-sized quotes from Rannachan on the story behind his Jaws-like shark photo.

“It’s one of those photos that anyone who comes on the boat with us have been trying to get for a long time,” Rannachan says. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, these sharks are very aerodynamic and don’t have their mouths open and just kind of cruise through the water very slowly. But you can tell sometimes when they’re going to go for the bait really quickly. They do this kind of wiggle. They go from this very methodical side-to-side and then all of a sudden there’s a little twitch and they take their pectoral fins and angle them in a way that helps them track through the water. And when they do that, you know there’s a good chance for them to either breach or go really quickly towards the bait.”‘

In this case, Rannachan had been tracking a huge Great White shark nicknamed “Squirrel” when he saw her make that tell-tale wiggle and dart to the surface.

“I spun around to the front of the cage and, there’s a bar, that you can get your camera out in front, and I could hook my elbows and stabilize myself. And then, as she had been kicking, she kind of rolled over so her belly is now facing me. And, at the time, I wasn’t thinking this is going to be it. All I had time to do was get her in the frame and then hope to god it was in focus.”

Rannachan’s image was in focus, and it has since become, not surprisingly, his most popular photo of all time. But it didn’t go viral right away.

“I put it out there and nothing happened,” he says. “It wasn’t until someone from the Daily Mail called me and it kind of snowballed from there. It was on Fox News and then just all over the place.”

It’s a fascinating, nearly hour and a half-long interview where Rannachan and Ross Williams from The Daily Jaws discuss the image and the impact of sharks on our culture, including how they’re one of the most misunderstood creatures in the world. But if you want to skip ahead to the part where they discuss the photo, it begins around the 50:40 mark in the video below.

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