Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sailing... from behind the lens

By Amory Ross - Photos by Amory Ross

The risk of getting burnt out doing what you love runs very high, as it does with any full time profession. Things get repetitive, you become disinterested and lose motivation, and this in turn impacts your enthusiasm and subsequently your success. Fortunately sailing is incredibly diverse and I can honestly say Cannes, the classics, and the Regatés Royales have been therapeutic.

Classic yachts demand an entirely different kind of photography, mostly due to the sheer beauty of the boats. With modern raceboats we tend to focus on the areas of action. The deck, the bow, the people hanging over the windward side. The action at the marks, the starting sequences... It is all extremely predictable and somewhat monotonous. Classic yachts on the other hand don't require anything more than an appreciative eye and attention to detail.

There is no right or wrong picture of a classic yacht (so long as the horizon is straight!). The boats look good from just about every angle, everyone is smiling, and the scene is completely casual; it makes the whole process much more enjoyable. The professional environment that surrounds much of the current racing scene is longgg gone. There is no weigh in or measuring, and certainly no fairing...

Another major difference is that classic yachts never expire; they do not have a limited life-span. There is no branding splashed on the sails or sides, and you don't have to worry about a change in sponsors or design. A picture I take tomorrow I could sell for 25 years. That is most likely not the case for a photo from the TP52 MedCup.

Now it is off to Les Voiles de St. Tropez for what is arguably the largest regatta of the Mediterranean season. The vast majority of the classics fleet from Cannes will come down the coast and join an equally talented pool of modern racing classes. While I should be paying close attention to the moderns, it will prove very difficult to leave the classics. I am not so sure I am capable of making that switch just yet... - Amory

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