There’s a wonderful new book of photography out that anyone with a passion for swimming should enjoy, and take inspiration from.
East London Swimmers by Madeleine Waller is a photographic exploration of the swimmers at the London Fields Lido in Hackney, East London, capturing their dedication to swimming – whatever the weather – and the stories behind why they swim.
London Fields Lido is a wonderful old 1930s lido that was given a new lease of life in 2006 when it reopened after closing eight years earlier after a sustained campaign by local residents. Open all year round, this outdoor pool sees a cross section of Hackney residents visit every day to swim – and their dedication to enjoy their hobby come what may has been caught on camera by Madeleine Waller.
The swimmers, some long-time devotees and others new to the sport, are photographed in their swimwear and fully clothed, together with a short explanation from each of them about why they swim.
These include everything from father Nick’s dramatic story about taking up swimming to combat his fear of open water after being caught in the tsunami in Thailand to London bus driver Paul who taught himself to swim as a way of relaxing after a day spent in London’s traffic.
The pictures, and the swimmers’ stories, reveal the rich tapestry of life at this popular East London venue and how people from all walks of life can be drawn together by a love of the same thing. It’s a beautiful book and one that will resonate with dedicated swimmers, not to mention attracting a few more to one of London’s most iconic outdoor pools.
The book East London Swimmers is part of a series by publisher Hoxton Mini Press dedicated to capturing the stories of East London in pictures. It is available for £12.95 from the publisher’s website.