Barry M. Winiker

Artist Statement

My fascination with the photography of cruise ships began in 1980 when I passed a ship in the Port of New York, managed to gain access and discovered a totally different world of style, design and function than any I had previously known. Size, scale, whites, blacks and shadows prevailed on a new and engrossing subject matter.

Many years and over one hundred ships later, I’m still attracted to the subject. Compelling me then, and now, was the urge to document details, as these individual elements add up to a more meaningful whole than simply a view of a ship’s profile. There is often a gracefulness to shipboard structures when examined alone, and few people, aboard or ashore, have taken the time to study them.

One of my main goals was to present the significant architectural and design elements of today’s cruise ships and convey a sense of how it feels to move through decks, lounges and other shipboard spaces. In addition, I wanted to provide proof of a rapidly-evolving form of transportation. Cruise ship design, out of necessity and sometimes pure whim, was radically different from both ocean liner design and land-based architecture. I was keenly interested in ships’ funnels, which no longer were cylinders but much more creative, adorned with caps, cages, scoops and flukes. Lido decks were the new rage; enclosed promenade decks had vanished and vessels competed for passenger access to the sun. Deck chairs evolved from traditional natural wood to more long-lasting man-made materials.

I was intrigued by interior spaces and their furnishings. Regal staircases from the late fifties still graced certain ships and some more recent vessels have even re-created these royal entrances.

Lastly, I photographed passenger activities, for these rounded out the voyage and provided a real-life view of what occurs aboard a cruise ship. My most successful depictions are those demonstrating the relationship of a cruise vessel to her environment, and passengers to ship design.

My views from the deck are documentary and informative, as well as interpretive. They are concerned as much with architecture and design as they are with weather conditions, time of day and play of light and shadow. One ship’s classic lines contrasts with the glitziness found aboard a sister ship. One crowd of passengers provides a stark comparison with the somber elegance of another group. The wealth of shipboard visual information is enormous; for me, it is a subject that challenges, excites and offers limitless possibilities.