Piece description from the artist
Grand Nellie at starting line in Gloucester Schooner Race
Leighton O’Connor’s strong love for the ocean must come from his Irish heritage; his great-grandfather was a fisherman and brought his family from Ireland to live in Salem, Massachusetts. Leighton was born in the neighboring historic seaport of Beverly and lives there today. Beverly is a quaint ocean side town located north of Boston. To the north of Beverly is the famous fishing village of Rockport and across the harbor from Leighton is the international sailboat racing port of Marblehead. Leighton’s boat and the ocean are just a quick walk from his studio and home.
Leighton has been boating up and down the east coast since he could walk. He has raced his own sailboat in competitions in Marblehead and has mastered the foredeck on many other sailboats over the last twenty years.
Leighton’s photography career started when he picked up a 35mm camera at the age of fourteen to photograph a football game for a newspaper. He has been involved in photography ever since. He started his career in sports photography and was added to the Sports Illustrated stringers list at the young age of seventeen.
Leighton expanded the passion of his craft to include travel photography after spending a month of shooting in Europe at the age of twenty-five. His photo assignments have brought him to Ireland, France, Germany, England, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Tortola, Grenada, Alaska, Ecuador, the islands of the Galapagos and numerous locations in North America. He has photographed people on remote islands, grizzly bears, glaciers and the flora and fauna of a rainforest fifteen thousand feet above sea level.
Leighton’s favorite assignment to date was covering the 32nd American Cup in Valencia, Spain. His true passion is shooting from helicopters; “Nothing gives you a bigger rush than being strapped into a helicopter and shooting with the door open, cruising fifty feet above the ocean at one hundred ten miles per hour.”