Did you know that today is Shark Week? What began as a week-long program on the Discovery Channel in the 1980s is now celebrated as one of the many ways to boost awareness and appreciation towards these majestic and mysterious creatures of the deep sea.

Because popular species like the Great White, hammerhead, tiger, and blue sharks are classified as apex predators, and shark attack stories tend to get sensationalized by the media and pop culture, sharks are commonly seen and stereotyped as frightening, murderous monsters. The reality is that it’s the other way around. Sharks are hunted for their fins, due to the high demand for shark fin soup, among other shark-based products. This human activity has led to a massive decline in shark populations, and entire species are endangered.

Let’s take a look at 30 captivating photos of sharks that portray a different, more gentler side—captured by underwater photographers who got up close and personal with them. Scroll down and enjoy!

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