To me, someone who grew up in a country with a 90-kilometer (66-mile) coastline of the Baltic sea, whales seem almost as mythical as mermaids. So when I stumbled upon Jem Cresswell's photo series Giants, I experienced a profound contradiction. On one hand, the powerful black and white images brought me closer to witnessing these majestic animals. But on the other, they reassured my belief that whales are creatures beyond my comprehension. If there's one thing I'm certain of, however, it's that Jem's photos offer an intimate glimpse into the private world of these gentle creatures.

More info: GiantsTheBook.com | JemCresswellArt.comInstagram

#1

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

wow, what a wonderful photo. Amazing shot

Cresswell has always been fascinated with humpback whales, mainly due to their gentle nature, sheer size, and the feeling of insignificance in their presence. "Every year, numerous humpback whales travel past the east coast of Australia where I live, on migration to the warmer breeding grounds of the Pacific," Jem told Bored Panda. "Every encounter with a humpback whale is unique. The possibility of what you might capture is endless, especially when you let these incredible creatures dictate the terms of the interaction."

#2

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Such a magnificent animal. Love the smaller one, especially

View more comments

The series Giants, however, was photographed elsewhere. On the coast of Tonga. It's a state and archipelago in Polynesia, comprised of 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. "Firstly, Tonga is one of the few places you can swim with the humpback whale. There have been regulations in place in Tonga since the early 1990s," Cresswell explained his location choice. "And secondly, the water clarity is so amazing and clear. The underwater trenches of the Tongan coastline are some of the deepest in the world and shooting in such deep dark blue ocean helps to simplify the image when converting to black and white, so there is no distraction, and you are drawn to the subject."

#3

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Woah. That's so cool

View more comments

Each year, the underground photographer would head to Tonga for a few weeks during the peak of the migration. The routine Jem had created for himself sounds nothing short of idyllic: "I stayed in a little apartment, above a local family's house in Vava'u. Each morning, we would leave from the dock in front of their property at around 7:30 am and head out through the channel, around the islands to find the whales and observe them from a distance. The boat I used had an incredible licensed Tongan Guide and Captain, Sione, who has been swimming with humpback whales for many years. Sione would make all the decisions as to whether we enter the water or not. The guide has in-depth knowledge on the behavior of the whales and I have learned so much from him; his knowledge has ensured encounters far beyond what I thought I would witness."

#4

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

wow. These are well taken photos. Good job to the person who took these

View more comments

They would only swim and snorkel with certain whales (no scuba diving was involved). Jem would always enter the water as calmly as possible, keeping his heart rate low and wait for the whales to simply go about their ways. "There are obvious signs if the whales are comfortable, and we would not approach until it was evident they were happy for us to be in the water with them. Humpback whales interact with many different marine creatures over their lifetime. Many a time, a curious whale will come over for a closer look. It's amazing to witness their conscious movements; to see their eye follow you as they move and put their pectoral fin down, to ensure they don't bump you as they pass," Cresswell recalled his incredible experience.

#5

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

I thought for a second that it had 2 horns sticking up.. lol

View more comments

"A lot of whales can be very interactive, particularly confident calves and sub-adults, and some even imitate certain movements. Encounters may last from a few minutes to a few hours. Depending on how the day went and what the weather was like, we would stay out till the late afternoon, before heading back to port to wash the gear down, cook dinner and review the images. Sunday was the only day we didn't head out, which is a strict Sabbath, enshrined into the [local] constitution."

The photographer has had many overwhelming experiences throughout this project. He learned that a lot of the behaviors humpback whales exhibit is not far removed from our own human behaviors. "This has taught me a greater appreciation, awareness, and importance for not only these gentle giants, but for all other life that is on this planet."

#6

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Awesome photo. I love this one

#7

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

amazing

View more comments
#8

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Lovely shot. Well captured photo

View more comments
#9

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

Sawdust
Community Member
6 months ago

If we set up giant scratching posts in the ocean, do you think the whales would like it?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#10

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

May Day
Community Member
6 months ago

Looks like a mother lifting her newborn calf so it can take its first breath

View more comments
#11

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Awwwww, cute

May Day
Community Member
6 months ago

Baby taking a breath of fresh air

View more comments
#12

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Wow. Those tails are really cool

View more comments
#13

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

Ruth Dyke
Community Member
6 months ago

This is a wonderful photo.

View more comments
#14

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Wow.. you can see how big they are in this photograph

View more comments
#15

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Did you know that whales can weigh as much as 24 elephants

View More Replies...
View more comments
#16

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

manon M
Community Member
6 months ago

truly beautiful

View more comments
#17

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Did you know that Sperm whales sleep vertically

View More Replies...
View more comments
#18

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

Ruth Dyke
Community Member
6 months ago

this is truly amazing.

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#19

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Did you know that whales can get sunburns

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Did you know thatt here is only one known albino humpback whale in the world

View more comments
#21

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

May Day
Community Member
6 months ago

"Make sure you get my good side, now"

#22

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

That's a huge whale

View more comments
#23

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

BoredPanda is awesome
Community Member
6 months ago

Many expensive perfumes contain whale poop, the purfumes sell up to $11,000 per bottle

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

s. vitkovitsky
Community Member
6 months ago

Barnacles?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#25

Whales-Photography-Giants-Book-Jem-Cresswell

Jem Cresswell Report

Ruth Dyke
Community Member
6 months ago

These photos are a joy & a wonder to see.

View more comments

For further information about the book please visit GiantsTheBook.com