Swimming beneath the warm waters off Sulawesi, Indonesia, little Enal playfully holds onto the tail of a shark almost as big as he is.
Enal is one of the Bajau – or sea nomads – who count sharks as family pets and have lived their lives for centuries on the ocean and not on land.
The people and their remarkable habits were documented in a photo diary for six months by young British photographer James Morgan.
James lived as one of the tribe sharing their small house boats, known as Lepa Lepa, and learning to free dive without oxygen to depths of 50 feet.
James, 24, who only left Sussex University last year, was able to record the fascinating lives of the Bajau, whose way of life is now under threat from the modern world.
He said due to environmental pressure and government intervention this could be the last generation of people who will still live at sea.
He said: ‘The little boy in one of my pictures is Enal and, yes, he does have a pet shark.
‘As a people, the Bajau have an incredible affinity with the ocean and the life that lives there.
‘To take that particular shot I was free diving, there was no way I could carry oxygen equipment with me, but it was worth it to record how Enal played with the shark just like a boy or girl in Britain would play with the family dog.
‘The Bajau live on boats known as Lepa Lepa, which are about five metres by one metre, and they spend their entire lives at sea.
‘The reason I wanted to photograph and live with these people is partly because I, too, have a love of the sea, and also because I wanted to get their message across to the wider world.
‘This could be the last generation that can afford to live at sea because of many reasons.
‘There is less food for them because of over-fishing, there are environmental pressures, and there is government pressure to relocate them to land-based settlements.’
James, who is originally from Bournemouth, Hampshire, was funded for the project by the Royal Photographic Society in the UK.
Despite his youth, the keen anthropologist has already shot other projects in the Amazon and Mongolia.
He said: ‘My main aim from meeting this people and sharing their lives for a short time is to bring their plight to the attention of the rest of the world.
‘The Bajau’s way of life may be lost forever soon, and something needs to be done to help them.’
News Source : The Daily Mail
Photo Source : The Daily Mail
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Posted on March 1st, 2011 at 12:08 am by Farah Fitriani