Swedish photographer Emma Hartvig’s has just created a series titled The Swimmers about the Aqualillies, a Los Angeles-based group of synchronized swimmers who approached her upon learning she was in town. ‘They have apparently been following my work for quite some time, and asked if I would photograph them,’ Hartvig explains, ‘which was, to put it simply, a dream come true.’ So over the course of a few hours in ‘a fantastic house in the Hollywood Hills’, Hartvig captured the Aqualillies as they dived, floated, posed and performed in perfect synch.
‘I decided to bring out a certain awkwardness, bizarreness, strength and collaborative view on the otherwise entertaining and beautiful performances, like a showground for the body, the swimming pool is a ready-made stage for these swimmers. And that’s what I love about synchronized swimmers, the art and the performance but the extreme physical effort it takes. Their bodies are engrossed and strengthened, heavier and lighter at the same time. Weightless, but stronger … It was quite challenging to try to stay still underwater and focus and do it properly. Luckily, I’m a girl born by the sea, so I’m very good at holding my breath underwater, so it went smoothly.’ – Emma Hartvig