Growing up in Malta surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Kurt Arrigo’s lifelong passions for the ocean and photography developed from a young age.
Merging his spirit of adventure with his passion for sailing and scuba diving, he quickly gained a reputation as a distinguished underwater and marine photographer.
A commission to document the 1992 America’s Cup catapulted him onto the global stage, and heralded the start of a path that would see Kurt also become one of the world’s most eminent yachting and sports photographers.
From the Mediterranean to the Galapagos, to the Himalayas, remote South Pacific, and icy waters of Norway, Kurt’s majestic images capture the world’s natural beauty from above and below the ocean’s surface. As a commercial photographer, he is in his element documenting international sporting events and working for prestigious global brands and clients, from Rolex, HSBC, Nautor Swan and BBC Productions.
With a career in visual storytelling spanning over 30 years, Kurt’s professional accolades include the title of official photographer for Rolex Yachting Events covering yearly events for the past 18 years, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Rolex Fastnet Race, TP World Championships, Maxi Worlds and the Rolex Middlesea Race.
Kurts passion for underwater photography won him the honour of his underwater images being featured on the walls of the Rolex Oscars Green Room for the 2019 Perpetual Planet Campaign.
He won the competition for Yacht Racing Image of the Year (2012) for his image from the Rolex Volcano Race in Capri 2012.
Kurt has also worked in the Movie Industry, shooting stills for Helen of Troy ( 2003), A different Loyalty ( 2003) ,Troy ( 2004), Dove Keepers (2014) with the likes of Sharon Stone, Rupert Everett and Rufus Seawell.
His images appear in leading publications around the world, and his work is the subject of three books, one of which was gifted by Malta to HRH Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the 2005 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Kurt remains based in Malta, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He spends his leisure time diving, sailing, biking, running and swimming, and supports charitable organisations focused on marine conservation.
The Kurt Arrigo Collection, Rolex, Valletta, Malta (2019-20) https://elcol.com/latest-news/2019/09/25/the-kurt-arrigo-collection-at-the-green-room-gallery-by-edwards-lowell/
The Oscars Green Room, Kodak Building, 91st Academy Awards, Los Angeles (2019) https://pressroom.rolex.com/en/sports-and-culture/partnership-activities/rolex-and-cinema0/rolex-and-cinema/2019/note-to-media—greenroom.html
Malta: A Coastal Journey 2005;
Grand Harbour Malta 2011; – Miranda Publishers
Malta Maritime 2014. – Miranda Publishers
Yacht Racing Image of the Year (2012),
Communication Arts Photography Annual (1997)
Underwater Red Sea Photographic Competition (1995)
Rolex, Heesen Yachts, Hamilton Island Race Week, Nautor SWAN, Oyster Marine,
Perni Navi, Audi, Boat International, Gear Patrol, SunSeeker, Vita Yachts , Wally, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Burgess, Camper & Nicholsons, Xterra International, DAN Europe, Edmiston, Luxury Yachts, Richards Apparel-Brazil, Snorkel Plus, Axopar, Otillo Swimrun, Hahnenkamm Ski Race.
Corinthia Group, Marriott Hotels ,Malta Tourism Authority, Red Sea Resort, Starwood Group, The Luxury Collection, Relais Chateau, Conde Nast Traveler, Beautiful Destinations, Gritti Palace – Venice, Intercontinental, Le Meridien, Grand Harbour Marina, MV Seabourn Ovation
Rolex SA, HSBC, Lexus, The Financial Times, Air Malta, Gaastra, Farsons, Bank of Valletta, Marsovin, Bluemint, Delius Klasing, KPMG, Dordoni Design, Saachi ART, Bacardi, Yellow Korner, Miranda Publications
BBC Film productions, Nat Geo Film Productions, USA Network, Warner Bros, Panthalassa.org, Malta Film Commision
Conservation of the sea is a subject very close to Kurt’s heart. He is always open to support foundations and organizations that promote conservation by contributing his time and his body of work.
Ambassador for Project Zero -https://www.weareprojectzero.org/
One Ocean -Yacht Club Costa Smeralda https://www.yccs.it/en/one-ocean.html
Our Ocean – Our Ocean Conference in Malta 2017 https://ourocean2017.org/
In his own words
I was sitting on the leeward side of a small racing boat, sea spray engulfing me, trying desperately to keep my camera dry. I was xx-years old. Absorbed by nature and the challenge of taking a steady picture, I realised in that moment what I wanted to do with my life.
Picture of the young Arrigo
Inspired to carry on Pursuing this new passion with vigour, I received a lot of positive comments from friends and family but it was only when I showed some of my onboard sailing pictures to the curator of a fine arts museum in Malta that I was encouraged to pursue things with greater conviction.
An early picture, or even some of these pictures
Striving to improve A natural eye and a hunger to improve is more important than technical prowess. We need to embrace technology and its evolution. Use it as a tool. But ultimately nothing can replace the innate skills of the artist within.
Adapt to the situation The challenges are really when things don’t quite go to plan. But after years out in the field one learns to control the emotions. I thrive when the elements are challenging, whether it is a racing yacht or a 40-tonne humpback whale driving towards me.
Arrigo in action
You know when a picture is great It is an immediate feeling. From the moment it is captured, it’s an instinct.
Arrigo signature photo
Old school editing I do minimal treatment on my pictures, just basic enhancements to composition, light and exposure.
Consider filming a typical edit. 30 seconds? just revealing main things you do
Healthy mind, better pictures Personally I feel the holistic approach being physically active and mentally sharp and balanced helps and prepares me for my profession. I try and do sport most days whether running, swimming, diving or mountain biking.
Arrigo doing sport
Respecting the environment Almost all of my work is outdoors, and almost always out on the water. I have a special connection with the marine world and am proud that my photos have helped promote the beauty of some of the most threatened parts of the world and highlighted the plight of extinct species. I am devoting more and more time to conservation projects.
Photo of sealife
The picture I am proudest of? The one I haven’t yet taken. I am my own hardest critic.
Take a chance I was one of the first sailing photographers to embrace underwater housing and to use this as an approach to explore different angles and perspectives. Every photographer needs to experiment and also have their own unique skills.
Mutual respect I work with a number of clients and am fortunate to have built some truly special long-term relationships, born of shared values and a mutual work ethic. Having this in common helps you go the extra yard.
Trust in your colleagues is key There are a number of great professionals who support me from pilots, drivers, photo assistants, media teams. The key to successful teamwork is communication and where possible friendship. There are people who help position me where I need to be, others who help distribute my photos internationally and in high-end titles.
Add the rolex feature on you here.
It creates a nice link to the brand and shows how you prepare. embed the video from the start of your feature
If you love it, do it That’s my mantra to the young photographers who work with me. Everything else follows. If you love doing it, pursue it. If you don’t, find something else.
The Decisive Moment Henri Cartier-Bresson of all the famous photographers is the one I draw most inspiration from.
Antarctica If I had to choose a destination to visit where I haven’t been, it would have to be there. Maybe one day.