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As a young woman in Australia in the 1950s, Valerie Taylor bucked the status quo, becoming a champion spear-fisher in a sport dominated by men. She soon traded in her spear for a camera, documenting the undersea world as never before. With husband Ron behind the camera and Valerie’s willingness to get up close and personal with all manner of marine creatures, the team quickly gained attention as world-class, pioneering underwater filmmakers. The first to film a great white underwater, their shark sequences ultimately became the inspiration for a new novel and soon-to-be blockbuster hit—“Jaws”—with Valerie and Ron brought on to shoot all the underwater live shark scenes.
The rest is history. “Jaws” became a cultural phenomenon, smashing box office records and changing the film industry forever. But the blockbuster had other unforeseen consequences, solidifying sharks in the collective mindset as an underwater monster to be feared and hunted. Valerie would spend the rest of her life working to set the record straight, dispelling the fearsome misconceptions about the toothy predator and advocating for the protection and preservation of marine habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef.