Bryant Austin: Our Whales on Film

Noah Sabich

Although we share the sea with organic magnificence, so many of us forget how wondrous, ginormous and enormously moving its residents can be.  Bryant Austin, activist photographer, knew the depth of emotion and greatness seen in the ocean’s grandest creatures: whales.  He sold everything to free-dive and photographically document the aesthetic beauty, size and emotive qualities of the animals. What results is a series of photos that arrest your heart and feed your compassion for their existence. I will let both Bryant Austin’s words and art speak for themselves since they communicate, in such a nuanced and subtle way, the captivating mystery of the world’s whales.

“The pivotal impact I seek is to upset the abstractness of whales; my aim is to make them real. In popular media we experience whales through small photographs and brief video clips which fail to convey thier existence in anything more than an infrequent, pale, and abstract way. My goal is to present their true size with all of the intricate detail and texture revealed, providing an immediacy and sensorial reality for powerful psychological impact. The audience will have the ability to witness the amazing size of the whale, yet see the intricate detail of the body, in particular the whale’s eye with its evident consciousness and emotion.”—Bryant Austin (

life size portrait of a minke whale Inquisitive Sperm Whale Sub Adult
Life size portrait of a Humpback Whale Calf Close Encounter with Two Sub Adult Humpabck Whales

close encounter with sub adult Humpback Whales

life size portrait of a minke whale

All photos and quotes courtesy of: