Nearly every child loves a swimming pool. No hotel without an artificial basin, no summer holiday without a dip in the refreshing water. Yet, the swimming pool is so much more than just a pool full of cool water. It is a mythological place, a place for stories and sports, the source of the carefree afternoon. It came to embody luxury and sophistication and has been a setting for films, an architectural object, and a study in design.
"The swimming pool has been at different times and places suburban, exotic, utterly private, boisterously public, a threat or a blessing. It is, quite obviously, capable of every kind of symbolism from the crude assertion of financial status to an almost mystical fluidity of meanings that neatly complements the great puddle of chlorinated water that it holds."
Thus writes the cultural studies professor Francis Hodgson in the foreword to a new book entitled The Swimming Pool in Photography, underscoring the role of the swimming pool as a showplace for variety. In more than two hundred colour and black-and-white photographs, this illustrated volume presents a comprehensive, varied piece of cultural history, while recording it at the same time.
From the Art Nouveau-style bathing houses at the turn of the last century to the history behind the design of American pools in the 1950s to the basins that were repurposed as skate parks in California in the 1970s, you can enjoy immersing yourself in the destinations we long for on hot days. Featuring works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gigi Cifali, Stuart Franklin, Harry Gruyaert, Emma Hartvig, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Joel Meyerowitz, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mack Sennett, Alec Soth, Larry Sultan, Alex Webb, and many others.