As a marine photographer I want my photographs to capture the feeling of the perfect sailing moment, that brief instant when the sea, light and wind embrace a yacht or ship, creating a bold gesture or revealing a subtle and beautiful abstract pattern or shape. The photographs in this series are more than a record of a specific boat in a specific place. They represent all sailing moments. They are iconic meditations on the feeling of sailing.

In order to explore the emotional and aesthetic appeal of sailing more deeply, I have chosen to focus on schooners and sailing ships because they are the archetypes of the sailing world. They are the perfect subjects for this series because their complex silhouettes and multiple sails create a constantly changing palate of fascinating shapes and patterns to photograph. These beautiful and inspirational vessels are also important to photograph because of their historic significance. They are surviving relics, living history, that represents the rich heritage and culture of our maritime traditions.

I have been a sailor since my early teens. Sailing came naturally to me. When I was about thirteen a friend and I rented a small boat and to his amazement I just started sailing the boat up wind. After that day I was hooked. By the time I was seventeen I was working for one of the top sail makers in Southern California, and racing large and small boats up and down the west coast. In the years since then, I’ve raced at a championship level in a wide range of dinghies and keel boats through out the United States, Canada, and Ireland. I’ve also cruised from New England to the Bahamas and sailed with friends on both coasts, the Great Lakes and the Caribbean.

Most of my time on the water these days is devoted to photographing other people racing and sailing traditional boats, but I still find time to crew in our local Port Townsend evening races or join a friend on an offshore passage. One of the best things about sailing is that no matter what your experience level, it is always possible to have a new and adventurous sailing experience; I’m very excited about my next adventure, a transatlantic crossing from the Canary Islands to Barbados on a Hylas 54 next January.

Before moving to the Northwest two years ago, my wife Jan and I ran a commercial photography studio in the suburbs of Philadelphia specializing in marine and industrial photography. We have 25 years of experience working for a wide range of boat builders, engine manufactures, magazines, graphic designers and advertising agencies. Some of our past and current clients include: Viking, Post, Egg Harbor, Silverton, Nissan, Cherubini, Passport, Tayana, Power and Motoryacht, Yachting, MotorBoating, Sail and Sailing.


Michael Berman Photography . 3460 Larson Lake Road . Port Ludlow, WA . 98365
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