Foiling Week 24: To capture an emotion


An interview with Martina Orsini, Foiling Week’s official photographer since its very first edition. Experimentation, research and how to infuse photography with the same innovation and freshness as that of foiling




A thrilling Foiling Week has just come to an end, a week where innovation and the drive to experiment were once again as tangible as ever. Not only does the foiling era push engineers and insiders to express themselves, to break past their limits, but also those whose task it is to convey those same emotions that only foil sailing can unleash through the art of photography.

This is what we want to explore with someone who has been doing just that for the past 11 years of Foiling Week: Martina Orsini, the event’s official photographer since its very first edition.


Foiling Week è sempre stato un laboratorio di idee da sviluppare e questo vale anche per me e per il mio campo. Sono cresciuta con questo evento e vederlo evolversi è una soddisfazione. Con lui mi evolvo sempre anche io!


Martina Orsini

You were among the first photographers to immortalise foiling, starting with the Moth class which had just begun to make a name for itself in Italy, as well as being involved as official photographer since the first edition of Foiling Week. Did you need to change the way you worked or your techniques (especially given the high speeds of those boats/boards)?

Although I already knew my way around a racecourse - I sailed for many years - with foils I had to 'relearn' how to move around the course. The manoeuvres and trajectories are different from those of classic boats. Safety becomes an even greater priority in order not to damage anything or anyone. The photography itself remains fairly unchanged: interpreting the light, locating the most attractive position, looking out for that 'out-of-the-ordinary' shot. There is, however, something that has been added over time, taken straight from the world of car racing: panning. These boats are fast, and you need to convey that sense of speed. Knowing how to do a good panning helps to understand the difference between the classic sailing and foiling.

Precisely because of that speed of theirs, the difficulty in capturing the moment lies in being able to think just as fast. I have to think about where to position myself without getting in the way and without risking being 'sliced up' in the event of a collision. Having a good driver on the dinghy who also knows the movements of the boats is behind 50% of the success of my work. Something that it isn’t always easy to find!

What have been the challenges (if any) and the most unexpected surprises offered by foil sailing? What foil model/class do you most enjoy photographing?

I started my career as a sailboat photographer working with the Moth class. It goes without saying that this is the class that will always occupy a special place in my heart. At the beginning, there were only a few Moth sailors and a sort of family formed. When we went on to cover World and European championships and national championships, it was like a school trip. 

The (foiling) photo of yours that you are most fond of and why

The photo I am most fond of was taken in 2017, just before the Moth world championship in Malcesine. The sailor, Adriano Petrino, was going on a broad reach and at one point he was thrown out of the boat. I have the whole sequence of him falling into the water, but I like this particular photo because only one foot of him can be seen and the moth is still flying perfectly in place (below)

After more than 10 years of Foiling Week, what is your favourite aspect of this ever-evolving event in terms of its image?

This year, during Foiling Week, we thought of experimenting with a different point of view, from the bottom up. It's not something completely new in this sport but with foil it becomes a bit more problematic because of the risk to the legs, arms and whatnot of us poor photographers in the water. We liked the result and will see how best to develop it in the future.Foiling Week has always been a workshop for ideas to be developed. This also applies to me and my field. I have grown up with this event and to see it evolve is such a great source of satisfaction. I develop with it too!


  • ©Martina Orsini -We Are Foiling Media

  • ©Martina Orsini -We Are Foiling Media

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