For photographer Cory Silken, yachting races and tropical trips are all just part of the job. Silken works as a yachting and luxury lifestyle photographer, and his job has taken him to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and beyond.
“Working with some of the largest yachts in the world, I’ve had the opportunity to do projects where the budget isn’t a limitation,” says photographer Cory Silken. “I’ve gotten to do some extraordinary things.”
Silken was fascinated with the beauty of the natural world at a young age. “When I was younger, I was into all sorts of outdoor adventures: hiking, camp, biking, rafting. I was always in such gorgeous places and I wanted to share them with my family. So I started bringing along a camera,” he says.
It started out as just a pastime. He began taking photography classes in high school, and then in college when he could. He attended Boston University for economics, with a concentration in environmental studies. “I went at photography with the attitude that it was a fun hobby, but not a profession,” says Silken. “As I was finishing school, I was already selling some photography. So I figured I’d go for it.”
That’s just what he did. Traveling around the world working on both commercial and fine art projects, he’s photographed for clients such as the International Yacht Restoration School, Panerai, and Bacardi. He’s also been operating his own gallery in Newport, Rhode Island, since 2012.
“I’ve been sailing all my life, and that’s where the interest in photographing boats came from,” said Silken. Though he grew up in the Boston area, he spent summers sailing in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. His family bought a classic wooden Herreshoff S Class sailboat fifteen years ago, called Firefly, which Silken credits with helping to nudge his career toward boat photography.
“Firefly makes a good model,” said Silken.
He and his father enjoy racing the 28-foot boat, and recently wrote a coffee table book together called Setting Sail in America: The Remarkable Story of Herreshoff S Class Sailboats, marking the 100th anniversary of the S Class design, which Silken calls “one of the highlights” of his career. His father, Alan, is the Vice Commodore of the Narragansett Bay Herreshoff S Class fleet.
Operating so often at sea, his work has found Silken in some trying situations. “Once I was on a motorboat that caught fire and sank. Once I was on a boat where one of the fuel tanks was leaking fuel,” he said. “There have been times where I was on a boat plucking someone else out of the water.”
And Silken shows no signs of slowing down. Some of his upcoming projects include documenting the restoration of classic wooden boats, photographing racing teams, and even exploring filmmaking. For now, he’ll continue doing what he loves: fine art photography, commercial projects, and, of course, sailing.
For more information, visit corysilken.com.