Swimming for The Economist

Swimming in the river Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire.

River Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire

This autumn Susi Arnott and I worked on a commission for The Economist’s┬á Christmas special on swimming in cold, fresh water. We swam and collected stills, video and audio in rivers and Lakes around England. You can read journalist Emma Hogan’s excellent piece here.

Photographs of cold water swimmers tend to be gentle social satires of the kind of people who choose to do this sort of thing.

We wanted to portray the swimmer as an amphibium whose writhings stitch together two disparate elements. One suffocating, cold and alien but affording the swimmer at least the illusion of flight and weightlessness. The other safe but constantly forcing the body back down into the water. The swimmer constantly balancing the two while spread lengthways as though taking a holiday from being human.

River Wey, Surrey

River Wey, Surrey
River Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire

Swimming in the river Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire.
Swimming in the river Wharfe, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire.

River Cam, Cambridge

Swimming in the river Cam, Cambridge. Swimming in the river Cam, Cambridge.
Black Moss Pot, Borrowdale, Cumbria

Swimming in Black Moss Pot, Borrowdale, Cumbria. Swimming in Black Moss Pot, Borrowdale, Cumbria.
Crummock Water, Cumbria

Swimming in Crummock Water, Cumbria. Swimming in Crummock Water, Cumbria.