Of all the competitions in the Olympic Games, synchronised swimming happens to be one of those mysterious and artistic practices that continue to amaze and delight the most. Now award-winning fine art photographer, Brad Walls, is giving us a unique perspective from above, revealing perfect geometric shapes and forms to please any creative.
Released just in time for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, 'Water Geomaids' follows on from his viral series last year, Pools From Above, which did the rounds on the Internet and found Walls a new legion of fans.
"I was surprised at the lack of imagery capturing the shapes and patterns that synchronised swimmers create," he tells Creative Boom. "I've already captured the arts of diving, gymnastics, tennis and ballet, so this particular sport aligned perfectly with my aesthetic, leveraging synchronicity and symmetry – something which I always lean towards in my work, no matter the subject matter."
Walls teamed up with a Sydney-based synchronised swimming team, which is choreographed by Katrina Ann, a former competitor who has competed at the Commonwealth Games and in multiple World Championships. Ann took no convincing to work with Walls, saying: "Artistic swimmers spend hours every day working to achieve perfection. With Brad's eye for detail, perspective and creativity, we were able to showcase our hard work that is often lost to the naked eye."
To kick off the project, Walls began pinning ideas that were composed of many artistic sports – not just synchronised swimming. This inspired him to draw out the geometric shapes he wanted to form on paper and create in the pool. Walls and Ann then collaborated closely together in order to bring the drawings to life, with Walls saying that: "When working Katrina, our aim was to cherry-pick static positions from routines that build repetition of form and geometric sequences."
Of course, Walls is known to meticulously plan out all of his shots beforehand with a similar method, but regarding the majority of this particular shoot, he said that "Eighty per cent was planned, 20% was impromptu". He goes on to say: "No matter the amount of planning that goes into it, there will always be an unplanned frame that looks awesome and couldn't possibly have been planned. That is the embodiment of art."
Walls was a finalist in the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards in two categories, placed second in the 2021 Fine Art Photography Awards 'Conceptual' category, and won the 2021 Prestigious Commarts Photography Competition in the 'For Sale' category. Walls plans to release a picture book to showcase all the sports he has captured from above over the past three years. Watch this space by following Walls on Instagram.