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Whale close-ups to be shown at the Bermuda National Gallery

Powerful image: a photograph of a humpback whale that will be featured in the Bermuda National Gallery exhibition (Photograph supplied)

An exhibition of photographs featuring a pair of humpback whales will open at the Bermuda National Gallery next month.

The images were taken by photographer and marine researcher Andrew Stevenson off Challenger Bank over two days in 2015.

An accompanying film, captured utilising drone technology, follows a second pair of whales as they approach Bermuda’s shallow reefs at sunset where they exfoliate in the sand holes.

It is estimated that between 700 and 1,500 humpback whales travel through Bermuda’s waters each season on their migratory route between the northern feeding grounds of the Arctic waters and the southern breeding grounds of the West Indies.

Their migration is the longest of all animals, taking place over as far as 8,000km in each direction. Bermuda, with its isolated position in the mid-Atlantic, plays a unique role as a meeting point midway between the two.

Mr Stevenson, who had his first up close encounter with whales 17 years ago, said: “My black-and-white series of photographs of humpbacks were taken in deep water with no upwellings or particulate in the water column, giving these images an unusual clarity.

“It takes hours of being passive, staying close to the boat, and letting the whales approach me to obtain these images showcasing the natural beauty of these marine mammals.

“Over the years I’ve realised that my best encounters are initiated by being passive, letting the whales come to my boat with the engine off. With an annual research permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, I can experience the humpbacks in their element.”

Peter Lapsley, the gallery’s executive director, described the exhibition as “a wonderful example for the community”.

He said: “Andrew Stevenson’s photographic and video work tell the amazing story of the humpback migration and Bermuda’s role in this annual movement, but more than that, it focuses on Stevenson’s world-renowned research and accompanying photographic work.

“His research gives amazing insight and his photography and film work allow the broader public, and the world, to experience the whales and, hopefully, to better understand why they are important and how we can assist in their protection.”

A free children’s activity booklet will accompany the show, focusing on the artistic elements of the exhibition, as well as the related research and the role of ocean conservation.

The Bermuda National Gallery will be offering free exhibition tours for all schools, which can be arranged here.

A spokesman for the Bank of Butterfield, which is sponsoring the exhibition, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Bermuda National Gallery once again and in particular the fascinating work of Andrew Stevenson.

“As we come to the end of the whale watching season in Bermuda this month, this is a timely exhibition that puts the spotlight on our marine environment.”

The Ocean They Inhabit: Photographs by Andrew Stevenson is on display at BNG from May 19 through to September 23 and is free to the public.

To find out more about the Bermuda National Gallery, click here.

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Published April 27, 2023 at 7:32 am (Updated April 27, 2023 at 7:32 am)

Whale close-ups to be shown at the Bermuda National Gallery

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