A special commission of photos of Team GBR Olympic sailors has produced these brilliant images


To the Oxo Gallery in London yesterday evening for the opening of Blown Away, an exhibition of photographs of Team GBR Olympic sailors.

The special commission by sponsors Skandia is a graphic demonstration and recognition of the unique power of the still image to evoke emotion and reaction from the observer.

The purpose was to show sailing’s raw athleticism and to dispel the idea that, despite being conducted largely sitting down, it is in any way sedentary.

The photographs were taken by Robert Wilson, who had never shot on the water before – he confessed that shooting boats was “a very steep learning curve” and that, on day one, he lost a £6,000 camera body and two lenses.

More recently, he published a book of war photographs taken during an assignment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The sailing photos, too, are intense action images; some are close-ups of human action, others take a crystalline focus on the mesmerising glitter and blur of fast water.

Wilson’s portraits are especially striking: sandy and blanched, with a strangely post mortem quality. If you get a chance, do go and see the exhibition for yourself.

Here are a few of my favourites.