Nobody freak out, okay? Yes, this is a shark...a whale shark, to be specific. And while whale sharks do sound like the scariest sharks of all, they aren't actually. They don't eat people. And like most creatures that don't eat people, this makes them great dance partners.
Which is the idea behind this photo shoot by Shawn Heinrichs and Kristian Schmidt, two photographers who captured the whale sharks in their habitat as two models mimicked their poses. While there certainly weren't any designer goods on show, the billowing fabric helped create a dreamy atmosphere, and the photographers claim that — aside from regular color and image editing — the photos weren't altered in any way.
The duo caught the gentle giants (which are often poached) by setting up at a spot where local fishermen feed handfuls of shrimp to the massive sharks and let the models interact with the fish while they had a snack. Each model dove underwater and posed while the photo was taken, and the photographers said they worked closely with the village to get the best, most natural, and least disruptive shots.
Heinrichs and Schmidt hope to raise awareness of the plight of these gorgeous animals. And sharks that don't stare at us with dark, beady eyes while singing the Jaws theme song? Count us in.