The clear, warm waters of the swimming pool represent an intersection between the cultural and social pursuit of leisure, the natural element of water and manmade space. The pool provides a place of temporary detachment from life’s everyday routine. People seem liberated and at once removed from any social reference as they float, dive, sink and swim through the clear enveloping water.
Not unlike some production from Cirque du Soleil, these unwitting cast members set the stage for a sort of contemporary choreography; the human body submerged underwater and illuminated by an ever-changing quality of light, provide all the elements for a playful ballet seemingly detached from gravity.
Smuggling an underwater camera into public swimming pools, I worked surreptitiously –maneuvering underwater and trying to hold position, with lungs burning, just long enough for the moment to present itself. Seeking out public swimming pools on the Côte D’Azur and elsewhere around the Mediterranean, where photography is generally prohibited, above all I was drawn to that evocative mix of escapism and fantasy so manifest in the tepid waters of a swimming pool. Through refracted light and the tangible feeling of time suspended, vignettes of my own memories inescapably resurfaced, recalling the blissful abandon of summertime’s past.
Without the immediacy of colour and the blue hue of the water to provide context, one’s recognition that these pictures are taken underwater is momentarily delayed and underscores the abstract sense of suspension, movement and time that permeates through the series.