Bryant Austin's work is photography to be seen in person. His exhibitions display intimate portraits of whales displayed life-size, so the viewer can better experience what it is like to meet with an oceanic giant face to face.
Austin is a man of patience. He sometimes waits weeks or months for one of his subjects to come close enough to capture. Whales cannot be corralled for a shot after all - and his technique demands the whale come within four to six feet of his lens.
It is a risk few people would take in the name of art. Though gentle, whales with their enormous size are easily able to injure or kill with a misjudged movement. But Austin has found whales to be amazingly careful in their dealings with him, the enormous pectoral fins of humpbacks passing beneath him precisely as long as he is sure to remain still.
He has also had a calf rest against him gently, and wrap a flipper around him when he was in a particularly despairing mood, following his lack of success after he had sold his house and car to fund his cetacean-filled dreams. He has also been offered a regurgitated piece of enormous squid tentacle as a gift (it was spat in his face).
I have not seen one of Austin's exhibitions for myself yet but hope to soon at the Maritime Museum.