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The Swimming Pool in Photography

Get lost in the pages of a good book—it’s the soul of any room.

The Swimming Pool in Photography

by Francis Hodgson

Hatje Cantz

It’s magical. Immersing one’s self in cool, blue waters makes us feel as light as a feather and simply by relaxing alongside it we become instantly glamourous. Yes, it’s the pool: one of the summer’s most recognisable sites of indulgence. This lush new book captures this coveted escape and cultural phenomenon through the lenses of the world’s most talented photographers.

In the fascinating introduction to the 240-page volume, Hodgson, a cultural studies professor, reveals the complex socio-economic rituals associated with pool design, including references to film, literature, sport, education, family life and, of course, lifestyles around the world.

Over 250 captivating photos with detailed caption information are divided into sections: architecture, diving, the strokes and clothing. From the rooftop pool of Le Corbusier’s La Cité radieuse (Radiant City) in Marseille, France; to Martin Parr’s thought-provoking 1986 photo of Mosney holiday camp, Ireland; and the 1936 photo of a swimming pool in the midst of luxuriant vegetation at the Arusha Hotel, Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania) – each photo tells an important story.

Photographers – including 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 others – co-create a compelling visual narrative. This is a smart and entertaining summer read – especially by the pool.