RICK TOMLINSON (GBR)
Yachting photographer Rick Tomlinson is best known for capturing the Southern Ocean at its most treacherous from the decks of various yachts in the Whitbread Round the World Race.
Born in 1958, Rick grew up on the Isle of Man, where he established a serious interest in sailing, spending much of his time on the water racing dinghies dreaming of one day competing in the Whitbread Race.
Rick’s enthusiasm for photography began whilst he was boatbuilding and sailing, particularly with his friend Nick Keig, who campaigned the Three Legs of Mann and VSD multihulls. Veteran yachting photographers Alistair Black and Christian Fevrier came to photograph the boat inspiring Rick into the world of professional yachting photography.
Rick eventually headed south to join the build team of the Maxi Colt Cars. After the sponsorship was withdrawn the yacht ended up in the hands of Duran Duran’s lead singer rock star Simon le Bon with the new name ‘Drum’. Through working on the build team Rick was given the opportunity to crew aboard Drum.
After the near fatal roll in the Fastnet Race when Drum’s keel broke off the boat was quickly repaired for the start of the Whitbread Round the World Race 1985, Rick was one of the crew. The management suggested someone should take photos of the race, Rick offered and set off on the race with one Nikon and 20 rolls of film, his photos were a huge success and redefined onboard photography with his trademark slow exposure night time shots of the Southern Ocean.
His career in yachting photography was set in stone.
Eventually he sailed in four Whitbread Round the World Races, onboard Drum, The Card, Intrum Justicia and as photographer for the two EF teams in the 1997 Whitbread where he was commissioned by National Geographic. More recently he was official photographer for the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2 and the GBR Challenge at the America’s Cup 2002-3 in Auckland. Between races Rick travels to numerous regattas around the world, usually chasing yachts from a helicopter or chase boat and always on the lookout for a unique angle.
Yacht racing aside, Rick has extended his skills into expedition & project photography to such places as Antarctica, Chile, Alaska, Caribbean and Africa, plus special assignments for the RNLI. In 1992 he was awarded with the RNLI Bronze Medal for Bravery and Seamanship for saving the lives of two fisherman off the coast of Northern Ireland. He now works from Cowes Isle of Wight, where he lives with his family.