When New York City-based photographer Daniel Seung Lee visited Chicago in 2011, he was struck by the depthless tides of Lake Michigan. The sandy floor seemed to hover just below the surface of the water, allowing bathers to effortlessly wander far from the shore without a need to swim. During one balmy summer dip, Lee photographed his friend performing a handstand amidst the quiet, rippling water.
Though specific to this particular lake, Lake Michigan, Chicago is imbued with an undeniable ambiguity. Lee admits that a small degree of trickery is involved; this blue-green lake could easily be an ocean, the handstand a plunging dive. As the swimmer’s legs extend upwards towards a parting in the clouds, we recognize a universal atmosphere of summer bliss that extends well beyond the boundaries of the enchanting lake.