Mark Rackley isn’t going to let a small thing like a shark bite keep him from doing what he loves. While most people would probably step away from something that nearly killed them, being bitten by a shark and nearly dying only reignited this photographers passion for the ocean’s top predators.
“I wouldn’t change this career for anything. That’s just my nature,” says Rackley. “That’s what I would do from this day forward.”
Rackley has been all over the world in his nearly 30 year career of photographing sharks – he was featured in Discovery’s highest rated show on Shark Week, “Sharks Among Us” – so he’s no stranger to them. The shark that nearly cost him everything turned out to be right in his own backyard.
A friend told Rackley a blue shark swimming in the flats just a few minutes from where he lived. It was an opportunity Mark couldn’t pass up.
Mark himself admits he got too close to the shark while attempting to get the perfect shot while creeping up behind it.
It all happened so fast he didn’t have time to react – the shark latched onto his shoulder, gashing it to the bone.
“I know I provoked that shark to do that,” said Mark, revealing his scars.
He says he didn’t feel pain when he was bitten.
“It was intense pressure,” he said.
58 stitches and one month later, Mark is back in the water with his camera.
“I am not any more afraid since I got bit,” he said. “I could get bit again at any point. It’s really a lightning strike if you get bit by a shark.”