In a tiny subset of our industry (like photography), you can count the number of successful, enduring artists on two hands. One of the most significant contributers to that niche is California-based Sharon Green, who has now been at it for an amazing 30 years. We finally had the time to learn a little more about Sharon, and sailing photography in general. Enjoy.
SA: You’ve got tons of life long fans among the Anarchists, but we have to be honest – you’re a tiny, unassuming, quiet, and pretty girl – how did you get your start in such a testosterone-laden industry populated by so many men?
SG: Well, thanks for the compliment! I guess it all started in high school, when I thought I’d be the next Ansel Adams. I actually studied under one of his protégés at the Banff School of Fine Arts when I was 17. I hadn’t put sailing and photography together until later that year, when I became involved in documenting Evergreen.
SA: The Canada’s Cup boat?
SG: That’s the one. Lowell North, Peter Barrett, and Rod Davis were part of the team, and they asked me to process the B&W sail shape photos in my home dark room to help the radical Two-Tonner’s development. This led to a 4-month assignment covering the Trials and Cup.
SA: Wasn’t that back in the old IOR days? Given their downwind “qualities” they must have been pretty exciting for a photographer.
SG: Yup, they sure could! The ‘old days’ gave us lots of color. Kites and bloopers made for wonderful compositions. In fact, one of my most famous sequences ever, and one of the best parts of my book “Ultimate Sailing” was Winsome Gold surfing downwind in heavy seas off Cowes back in ’79 during the Admiral’s Cup. They violently chinese-gybed and swapped ends with keel and rudder flapping out of the water.