This photographer's stunning close-ups will change your opinion of sharks

A London-born photographer has captured the attention of social media users with his stunning photos of sharks. 

For the past seven years, Euan Rannachan, 34, has served as the art director at Dakota Shy Winery in St. Helena, Calif. The photographer, who moved to the U.S. to study fine art, has also had a fascination with capturing great white sharks in their natural habitat. 

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"Ever since I was little, I was obsessed with these big toothy creatures," told In The Know over email. "Movies like 'Jaws' helped cement my fascination. It's funny when you talk to people about sharks, they always have an opinion one way or the other. People are either very excited and want to know more or tell you immediately they are terrified by them and want nothing to do with them. You never really find someone who is in the middle. I love that about sharks."

Rannachan said he didn't know of any areas where he could go shark cage diving until he heard about Guadalupe Island, a volcanic island off the coast of Mexico. 

"I remember my first trip out there and how it really affected me," he recalled. "The minute that cage top swung open with a clang, all that was left to do was climb in. From a young age, we are told about how 'scary' and 'man-eating' these big animals are. So, logically, standing there, peering into the dark, cold opening of the cage, a little fear and doubt started to creep in."

The photographer said that, as he struggled to breathe that day, a 15-foot-large great white shark slowly swam past him. 

"In that moment, as this huge creature passed within inches of me, all that pre-wiring from years of years was whipped away," he said. "Extreme connection and respect took its place. That bond has only strengthened over the years."

Scroll Rannachan's amazing images of great white sharks: 

Rannachan, who usually brings along a couple of cameras and a bag of GoPros during his excursions, has shared some of his photos on Instagram, where he has amassed over 30,000 followers — and he hopes to use his influence to benefit his favorite subjects. 

"I really hope to help break down the stigma these animals get from Hollywood," he said. "I want people to feel safe [in] the ocean and to stop using phrases like 'shark-infested' in describing where they live. Sharks are a very valuable member of the animal kingdom and, without them, like many other species, we would all be in trouble. I want people to respect these creatures and to be as curious as they are." 

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