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“My husband Ed Templeton was the inspiration for this project. One day about 8 years ago Ed decided to take a skinny dip in our backyard pool so I grabbed my camera to shoot a few photos.”

Deanna Templeton’s new book, The Swimming Pool, is due for release this month. Shot over a period of eight years, she turned her camera to the submerged nude bodies of friends and family as they moved through her backyard swimming pool. The results are a sensitive, beautiful collection of photographs that capture the dreamlike qualities of summer.

The images are variously in colour – faded cobalt blues, pale golds and peach tones – and black and white, their subject made up of little more than bodies, water, light and bubbles. The decision to use colour or black and white for each image was incidental: Templeton shot on a mixture of cameras, using a variety of film, and made her final selections based on form rather than colour.

The shapes presented are painterly in their attention to the body, abstracted by exhaled bubbles and the shadows of ripples in the water. In all the images, the subjects are drifting, relaxed, with the head turned away from the camera, or with eyes closed. This seems to suggest that the images should not be read as portraits: they are studies of form. However, though the series began as a simple exercise in aesthetics, as it progressed Templeton began to feel “a sense of strength and confidence within the people who were being presented in the series”, and it is this sense that underpins the project.

There is something elemental about the simplicity of the work, constructed as it is by little more than light, water, and breath. Templeton explains that it was only in the fourth or fifth year of the project that she knew exactly what she was shooting for. Her patience affords the series its meditative quality, and the work is soft, considered, and very lovely.

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All images © Deanna Templeton.

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