Financial services company Skandia, teamed up with photographer Robert Wilson to showcase the world’s most successful national sailing team at work. For five days Wilson and Art Director Greg Horton immersed themselves in a Skandia Team GBR training camp at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, giving them 'behind-the-scenes' access to 14 of Britain’s top sailors as they embarked on the path to gold medal glory. Heavily featured were an array of the world’s best sailors, including Britain’s top medallists and Skandia Team GBR’s young hopefuls.
Impressed by the powerful imagery that Wilson created on his visit to Helmand province of Afghanistan with the British Army’s 52nd Infantry Brigade in 2006, Skandia saw the opportunity to portray world-class sailing in a way that has seldom been seen before.
Skandia Sponsorship Manager Tim Sewell commented: "We wanted images that showed how dynamic and extreme sailing at this level is and we are delighted with Robert's work. His pictures not only show the athleticism and commitment of the sailors on the water but he has captured the team spirit that exists within the group as a whole - elements that underpin their success and make them the best in the world."
Through a combination of his trademark evocative portrait shots, vibrant and surreal imagery taken using slower shutter speeds and highly detailed action shots, Robert Wilson has created a set of powerful images that capture the varied and demanding nature of Olympic classes sailing and the personalities of those involved.
Wilson commented: “What struck me most about the sailors was the physical demand placed upon them and their ability to adapt to the constantly changing parameters that they have to work with. They are always on the move, adjusting every part of their bodies for balance and trim as the wind and waves change around them. It seemed that a strong friendship exists within the Skandia Team GBR setup and their teamwork is second to none.”
He continued: “It was a pleasure to work with sportsmen and women who are at the top of their game and yet don't have an inflated ego. They were all so welcoming and enthusiastic towards all aspects of the shoot. It was a great challenge to try and portray the intensity and professionalism of this remarkable group of people in an exciting and original fashion.”
Triple Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie said: “To compete at the highest level requires a lot of hard work and dedication as a team. We have to put in the hours whatever the weather and the images really capture this. We are all looking forward to seeing the exhibition.”
Skandia is looking to tour the exhibition around the UK, with Southampton City Art Gallery confirmed from 13 May 2010.
September 30 – October 4
South Bank, London, SE1 9PH
Open daily from 11am to 6pm