Gerardo del Villar                         

Shark Project

  
Objective
To photograph and dive with 10 of the most dangerous sharks in the world with out the use of the cage.

Mission
Demonstrate to the rest of the world that sharks are not killing machines, they are an incomprehensive predator. And, to help create a culture that care and protect different species of sharks.

Vision
To share my photographs with the people, those have no access to this fantastic world. I am planning to have them displayed at galleries, and through a book which I will be writing at the end of my project.

Why this project?

Ever since I was a little boy, I always felt great passion for close encounters with dangerous animals. This passion grew and for the next ten years, drove me to face more than 600 bulls with my bare body and no protection. It was precisely this time, as a bull fighter, that gave me the temper and serenity to be able to stand close to the sharks and to get magnificent shots.

I began diving fifteen years ago and, with my taste for sports business, resulted in opening a small diving operation in Mexico City; we give diving courses, sell equipment, and organize diving trips. Here is where I began to get my experience and expertise in diving with sharks. Also, in 2006 I started another passion, sub-aquatic photograph therefore, magazines like; México Desconocido, Amura, Loop, Medicable and Shark Diver Magazine were interested in my photos. So, I decided to collaborate with them as a photographer, in order to accomplish the vision of my project.

As I mentioned before, I own a great passion for dangerous animals and, every day I set the bar higher all through my life; that is why I will be taking photographs with out the cage to ten of the most dangerous sharks.

Why with out the use of the cage?

I want to prove sharks are predators whom are wrongly tagged as KILLERS, they are everything but. Most of the shark attacks registered to humans, is caused out of identity confusion. They have no hands so; sharks have to use their jaws to see and to taste what we are. What’s more, I like to create an specific environmental conscious in our country and change the perception that people have to day about this animals that happen to be a endangered species. One of the main threats is the increasing demand of “Sopa de aleta de Tiburon” (Shark fin soup) consider a delicatessen among countries. The fishermen catch the shark a cut their fin while the animal is still alive then, are thrown back into the ocean where a slow and painful death awaits them.

Sharks are target of Sport-fishing. It is no easy task to catch a shark but, when a fisherman gets one, he has the shark hanging by the jaw in a public exhibition and selling the teeth as a souvenir to some tourist.
Further more, the threat grows bigger with the commercial fishing; millions of sharks are been scarified year after year to sell their meat, liver (fat), cartilage, jaws, teeth, internal organs, skin and especially their fins.

Because BACALAO is so scarce, sometimes restaurants exchange this dish for CAZON, (a small shark).
It is a great concern that fish markets are selling shark under different names, like: SALMON DE ROCA, Rock Salmon, ANGUILA DE ROCA ,Rock Guile O PEZ PEINE or Comb fish. That is not all, shark cartilage is sold as a remedy for cancer; but, there are no scientific tests proving its efficacy.

Too many sharks have been killed that the submarine ecosystem had already lost its natural balance.

Today up to an 80% of more than 340 species of sharks are in danger of extinction.

How long will it take for me to finish this project?

Due to the large distances I have to travel, the time I have to spend in each place and the difficulty to locate the sharks. And, how long or short are the seasons in which these sharks can be observed.

I estimate 3 years before finishing this project.


Sharks of the "Shark Project"


     
    Bull Shark / Done                Sandtiger Shark / Done

    
  Tiger Shark / Done                    Mako Shark / Done

    
      Lemon Shark / Done            Great White Shark / Done

       
            Blue Shark / Done                  Great Hammerhead Shark / Done                                                 

     Oceanic White Tip Shark / Done                Grey Shark / Done        
                                                                 
   

                                                         
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