Aerial photographer Brad Walls has published a photographic series depicting synchronized swimmers in an effort to share a different perspective of the artistic sport.
Also known as Bradscanvas, Walls is an award-winning fine art aerial photographer based in Sydney, Australia. His work is a departure from a more traditional aerial photography niche and focuses on top-down portraits using negative space, symmetry, and leading lines. Already closely involved with sports photography in his career such as gymnastics, tennis, and ballet, Walls’ latest body of work appreciates the geometrical beauty of synchronized swimmers, also known as artistic swimmers, and the shapes and patterns they create in the process.
Titled “Water Geomaids,” his latest project has released just in time for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. For it, he set out to create a hybrid photography series that uses his expertise in both aerial and sports photography. The lack of many synchronized swimming photographs was an additional motivation for Wells to pursue this project.
The photographer teamed up with a Sydney-based synchronized swimming team which is choreographed by Katrina Ann who is a former competitor and has taken part in the Commonwealth Games and in multiple World Championships. It wasn’t difficult to convince Ann to get involved because “artistic swimmers spend hours every day working to achieve perfection,” which is precisely what Walls’ photography style encompasses in addition to his creative vision, making the collaboration a great fit.
Prior to the shoot, Walls drew out various geometric shapes that he wanted to translate into his photographs. With Ann’s expertise, these shapes were transformed into swimming routines, and, as Wells explains, their “aim was to cherry-pick static positions from routines that build repetition of form and geometric sequences.”
Although Wells meticulously planned and prepared for this shoot and all others prior, the photographer says that it doesn’t always go as expected and allows a touch of spontaneity because “there will always be an unplanned frame that looks awesome and couldn’t possibly have been planned.”
Image credits: All images by Brad Walls and used with permission.