The Swimmers: Emma Hartvig's joyful documentary of synchronised swimmers in LA

The Swimmers was created by Swedish photographer Emma Hartvig under a hot Californian sun in Los Angeles, following a request to collaborate with professional synchronised swimmers The Aqualillies.

"I decided to bring out a certain awkwardness, bizarreness, strength and collaborative view on the otherwise entertaining and beautiful performances," says Emma. "Like a showground for the body, the swimming pool is a ready-made stage for these swimmers.

"And that's what I love about synchronised swimmers, the art and the performance but the extreme physical effort it takes. Their bodies are engrossed and strengthened – heavier and lighter at the same time. Weightless, but stronger."

Amazingly, it was the first time Emma had experimented with underwater photography: "It was quite challenging to try to stay still underwater and focus and do it properly. Luckily, I’m a girl born by the sea, so I'm very good at holding my breath underwater, so it went smoothly."

Based in Paris, Emma's work is always smartly staged and explores narratives inspired by cinema with a dash of tongue-in-cheek. At first glance, the often polished scenes seem perfect, but look closer and you'll discover the absurd and unexpected. Discover more at

All images courtesy of Emma Hartvig


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