We all dream of them, You only need one and the lucky few claim exclusive access. In Summer’s coolest tome, the Australian-born, New York-based Aerial fine art photographer Brad Walls takes a Bird’s-Eye view of the private pool. Words and Photographs Brad Walls
Produced over a span of three years in four countries, “Pools From Above” is the culmination of my long journey to discover the beauty in commonplace landscapes seen from unexpected vantages.
Initially inspired by my travels throughout Southeast Asia and Australia, I began capturing bodies of water to document holiday memories. It wasn’t until picking up “Splash: The Art of the Swimming Pool” by Annie Kelly that I invested time into curating my own series. As I turned each page of Kelly’s book, a wave of nostalgia washed over me, taking me back to summer days swimming in my childhood pool. Paying homage to Kelly, I chose to explicitly experiment with negative space, compositional balance, leading lines and symmetry. As such, the series emphasises the pools’ less appreciated elements that I fell in love with — their curves, sharp edges, diverse blue hues and the way elongated shadows play against their surfaces. This is all lost without an alternate viewpoint.
As much as I’m drawn to their visual features, I’ve come to learn that pools have distinct personalities — some evoking a sense of tranquillity, others a more solemn feeling. Pools, often appreciated merely as architectural objects, retain an innate ability to trigger involuntary memories. For me, they can evoke the smell of my favourite food, or resurrect memories of my holidays.
As I look back at the 89 images, I’m reminded that the most harmonious visual elements of our world remain hidden to us — until we view them from a new perspective. Swimming pools are one of these subjects.
From top: Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner, Beverly Crest, California; Images from “Pools From Above” by Brad Walls (Smith Street Books), $59.95; Garcia House by John Lautner, Nichols Canyon, California; “Unknown Hue”, Cuadra San Cristóbal by Luis Barragán, Los Clubes, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico; “Up and Down”, Sydney; “Billionaires Rock Pool”, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico; Retro, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Escapism, The Bird Streets, California; Lollipop, Malibu, California.
This is an extract from an article that appears in print in our sixth edition, Page 82 of Winning Magazine with the headline: “Blue Period”. Subscribe to Winning Magazine today.