Photos of tall ships and other related articles by photographer Richard Sibley 

A professional freelance photographer with a passion for photographing sailing ships and maritime culture in general. I have photographed the European Tall Ship races for over 20 years and sailed as a deckhand and photographer

There is no transaction here, no heroics, just a value in the creation of an impression of what it’s like to be on a sailing ship at sea. A timeless experience, a sense of history repeating itself with the visualisation of a renaissance of sail

It’s also interesting working with crews of dedicated people from different cultures and at the same time building a picture library of sailing ships, in an era where fossil fuels are likely to be banned and new ventures in emission free shipping are the way forward. 

I personally fund all of my trips, equipment and often the chase boats as well, a one-man band chasing a labor of love. So if like me, you love photos of tall ships, please consider buying me a coffee or simply making a donation, your support will make all the difference.

Buy Me A Coffee

The photographs of the figurehead carving in the Category “The Lost Art of the Ships Carver” were all taken at the workshop of ships carver Andy Peters, Maritima Woodcarving

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2023 – Finalist
Travel Photographer of the Year ,
“Leisure and Adventure” 

You can view the finalist names here.

LA POSTE – Postman Calendar 2023

2021 – Finalist
Travel Photographer of the Year 

“Landscape and Adventure” 

“Firstly, thank you again to everybody who entered this year’s awards. Once again we had a wonderful entry of stunning images – and you have made it very difficult for our panel of judges to select the finalists!”

2019 – Finalist
Travel Photographer of the Year “Thrills and Adventures”

“Over 20,000 images were submitted from photographers in more than 140 countries, so to be shortlisted is a significant achievement in itself”  

2018 Hermione en Escale a Toulon
Exhibition with ships carver Andy Peters

2017 Royal Museums Greenwich
Hi Richard,
It has been a pleasure working with you on the Tall Ships calendar and getting to see your beautiful photographs! I find them very inspiring and it really makes we want to take to the sea!
Emilia Will
Publishing and Licensing Coordinator


2017  – Tom Conroy, Customer 

When I write “keep up the good work” I mean that sincerely. You’ve found your oeuvre. Keep following the “white sails” and adding to it.
Best regards. Tom Conroy

2016 – Magnum Photos/Lens Culture

“Richard, thank you very much for submitting your work.

I’ve had some time to look at and consider your imagery, and I wish to offer you my feedback. You have some very strong work in your series A Renaissance of Sail. I can tell that you have a keen eye for assessing the world about you with a particular photographic aesthetic, and I very much sense your passion and respect for the subject matter. Both of these are very strong qualities to be inscribed in the photographs themselves, so well done. Almost all of your images feature what I would call a particularly luscious tonality – particularly those images in which the clouds are fully and dramatically lit. I am most drawn to the images that depict the entirety of a single ship relatively close to the camera, and also those which depict a clear juxtaposition between foreground and background (and thereby spatial depth.) For example, the Stad Amsterdam image is quite strong, and I love the tilted vertical shape of the ship with which cuts across the high contrast clouds. I’m also drawn to the Gotheborg image, as the ship and sails appear to be leaning to the right in anticipation of its voyage. Of course, the diminutive size of the ships near the horizon help us to realize the massive scale of these vessels. Perhaps my favorite image is Parade of Sail in Stormy Weather, as I love the repetition of vertical shapes both in the masts of the ships as well as in the structures on the background. The contrast is also working particularly well here, especially in the foreground. Another favorite of mine is the Sailors Climbing Aloft image, as we get a very clear sense of special depth via the subject scale and hierarchical placement of the ships. I’m also drawn to the light quality as it illuminates the near vessel, as well as the relative placidity of the water. In regard to your statement, I certainly take note that you have produced many kinds of images aboard the ships, and that here you are choosing to portray the beauty of the ships from a chase boat. In addition you were photographing at the race starts. So all these conditions together I can only imagine dictate the kinds of pictures that are produced. That being said, your pictures – as well as the final sentences in your first paragraph – make me long to see the submitted images in context with depictions of the crew. Your sentiments in regard to sailors who wish to escape present day problems are fascinating – your words and the submitted images make me want to see the humanity that is comprised in these majestic vessels.

I very much enjoyed your work, and I hope to see more in the future”
Magnum Photos

2015 – Highcliffe and Infinity Photography Club 

“Richard,  just a note to thank you so much for sharing your wonderful images and experiences with us on Wednesday.  Our members greatly enjoyed the evening.
Personally, being  presently immersed in the Aubrey/Maturin series of books and the world of studding sails, rat lines and futtock shrouds, it was great to see an explanation of the different classes of ships, masts and sail arrangements so minutely described in the books, as well as wonderful images of classic tall ships and more modern design interpretations.
Thanks again from all at Highcliffe and Infinity.

2014Self Published Calendar

2011RUH Bath Healing Arts Program
Richard has exhibited twice in the healing arts program at the Royal United Hospital Bath UK
The first an exhibition of tall ships. The second and one of their most successful, the 2011 summer exhibition, featuring his photographs of ships carver Andy Peters, restoring the figurehead of HMS Chesapeake (1855).

Previous Commercial Work

All photography on this site Copyright © Richard Sibley 1980-2023


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