The breathtaking fine art photography of Michael Kahn.
Michael Kahn takes a delightfully old-fashioned approach to photographing the sailing world. Wielding a sixty-year-old Hasselblad—the same kind of camera that NASA left on the moon during the Apollo missions—Kahn shoots 6 centimeter by 6 centimeter squares of film while battling wind, waves and weather. “The shutter speeds are slow compared to modern cameras, so my failure rate is high,” the fine art photographer explains. “I only get maybe two shots as a boat passes by.” The shots he does capture possess action, contrast, simplicity and a sense of timelessness that’s intrinsic to sailing. “The best shots happen in the most difficult conditions, so it is kind of a wet, wild ride,” Kahn says. While he has chased sailboats in exotic locations around the world, Kahn regularly returns to Nantucket where the deep nautical roots of the island resonate with his style. “The Nantucket Opera House Cup in August offers its own unique set of difficulties,” he says. “Typically hazy, hot and light winds make it even more difficult—but there are some good boats and I like the challenge.” In honor of this month’s Opera House Cup, Kahn gave N Magazine an exclusive look at the 1 percent of his photos that go to print.