In a eruption of bubbles, a figure powers through the water. The photograph is theatrical and mysterious. The nude woman pursues a destination outside our view. With her back to us, she is anonymous. The viewer is left to ponder the unknown. Borrowing from abstract nude artwork, this photograph relies a mixture of certainty and uncertainty. Given partial information, the viewer’s mind pieces together a story.
There is a peculiar bend to her nude body. It seems she is turning, as if to avoid an obstacle. One ponders if her destination is uncertain, changing, or if she is meandering for the sheer joy of it. The bend also emphasizes her curves, and there is no denying an inherent eroticism to the artwork. With the swimmer turned away from us, the feeling is voyeuristic.
The source of her determination is ambiguous, only that she is devoting tremendous energy to her movements. Her legs kick, heels barely visible beneath white splashes. An outstretched arm plunge into the water with a burst. Jet-black hair glistens, swept back against her neck and shoulders.
Color plays an important role in this scene. The intensity of the blue is unreal. Bright plumes of splashes and foam surround the figure with explosive energy. The bronze skin hints at an exotic location and pairs with the deep blue water.
The image is populated by murky shapes beneath the surface. Whether these are shadows, reflections, or objects is unclear. Upons close inspection, her body is a series of jagged shapes. The form is disassembled by the refraction of the water. As with abstract nude artwork, it is reassembled in our minds.
There are three vague layers to this image. A trio of horizontal swaths comprise the scene. The middle, and most defined, is the swimmer and the frothy white around her. Above are murky blues, accented by bits of green. Curious tendrils of light invade the upper left corner. In the lower portion, light blue, dappled shapes lurk beneath the surface. These echo the horizontal orientation of her body, but they are too large to be a submerged swimmer. These almost whale-like masses at the base of the image, especially the lower left, are an enigma.
This artwork was chosen for Best of PhotoVogue by the photo editors of Vogue.