For photographer Lucy Tulloch, yachting goes beyond a beautiful boat. Her lens, aimed toward gleaming brightwork and sky scraping rigs, focuses further out, to the people who make a vessel look good both on and off the water.
In 2009, Tulloch's dramatic shot taken from the bowsprit of a classic was chosen as one of YachtPals best photos of the year. At Antigua's 2010 Classic Yacht Regatta prize presentation, she wowed the crowd with images of Gaia's crew wrestling down a twisted spinnaker. "It was a privilege to sail on that boat," says Tulloch "No guard rails. I trashed my camera when I went and recorded it all." Juxtaposed to that action was her shot of Velsheda, nearly becalmed, captured through a rain-spattered lens.
"I try to capture onboard action. Whether it's a grimaced expression of the underwater jib sheet trimmer or a J Boat bearing down on a smack; I want to get the noise, color, spirit; people's expression rather than full frame mega yacht photos."
Tulloch comfortably places herself and her camera in the thick of the action because she understands it firsthand from a life spent at sea. She says she took to the water at the age of eight when her eccentric parents moved their two daughters to the Mediterranean, launching a lifestyle and a sailing business. "My sister and I grew up crewing on boats in the Greek Islands. My father took people on sailing holidays. He gave them such a beautiful experience." That move plant-ed the seeds of sailing but also of inspiration.
Despite a teenage tour of duty with the education system in England, and an early career as a copywriter and graphic designer in the advertising business, she remained fascinated with sailing. In the early 90s Tulloch set off with a one way ticket to Gibraltar and after a series of misadventures, made it to Antigua in 1991. "I completely fell in love with the island; the trade winds, boats, colors, people," she says."
The first few Caribbean years were filled with inter-island sailing from the Virgins to Venezuela; a time when Tulloch began painting marine watercolors and drawing pen and ink sketches. She joined Antigua's Seahorse Studios where, for six years, her art skills were utilized creating boat lettering, graphic design and T-shirt work.
With an eye for both the journalistic and artistic, capturing life with a camera had, from a young age, been a part of Tulloch's trade. Playing with a Brownie Box camera as a child led, through many steps, to working in Antigua with legendary photographer Tim Wright.
One can imagine the cost and difficulty of developing film in the islands, but times were changing. "With the advent of digital photography," says Tulloch, "I was finally able to afford to shoot properly."
Tulloch's inspired style, on and off the water, is a natural for portrait work. She's often spott-ed around the island, at weddings and special occasions, capturing stories one frame at a time. "I love using a long lens," she says, describing a preference for candid photography and how she achieves that.
One of her favorite photo-shoots happened on Antigua's uninhabited Green Island. "It was a sweet wedding. The couple was getting married secretly. No guests, no shoes." Tulluch and the driver of the launch were the only witnesses. There was a bottle of champagne but no glasses. No photos of the happy couple posing for the camera – just the real deal, unfolding before a lens. "I want to take shots that are only for the lovers."
For the past decade, Lucy has also been working on commercial and feature films in the art and casting departments. "Last year it was an Italian film. I cast 300 extras," she laughs, adding, "a phone call can be any kind of job for me."
Perhaps the greatest masterpiece to evolve from the genius of Lucy Tulloch is her home. The structure she designed, both simple and elegant, is filled with the colors of the Caribbean Sea and sky. "The house was my dream; I wanted it to be inspirational." Perched on a hill overlooking Falmouth Harbour, Casa Luchia offers stunning views of arriving and departing vessels. Tulloch's own boat, Bourree, a 22-foot Hurley is moored there, too, except when she's sailing it through the anchorage, single-handed, engineless and sometimes underdressedâ€”an impressive sight that always garners attention.
Despite the bond with the house on the hill, Lucy continues a tradition of sailing away each spring, crossing the Atlantic to escape the hurricanes. She's usually onboard one of the world's finest yachts as part of the delivery crew; her resume lists some impressive vessels including Shamrock, Ranger and Rebecca. And although that job is all about making miles and mid-ocean maintenance, you can bet that her camera is never far away.
To view more of Tulloch's work, visit www.thelucy.com
Jan Hein and her husband, artist Bruce Smith, divide their time between the Caribbean the Pacific Northwest with a boat and a life at each end. www.brucesmithsart.com