Swimming Pool

PhotographerMaria Svarbova
Prize1st Place in Advertising / Conceptual
Entry Description

The atmosphere that depict through a palette of pastel and overexposed tones projects the spectator into a sanitized world in which the characters have chosen to give up any kind of extravagance that might unmask them. Like inert and robotic figurines, they rigidly evolve from one photograph to the next without parading their feelings. Time seems to have stopped and the swimmers have no other idea than to see themselves reflected in the perfectly still water of the swimming pool. Reworking the concept of the photo novel that originated through a combination of cinema and comic strips, my photographs are a succession of short scenes in which the frontality and absence of contrasts removes any narrative dimension in favour of the fullness of the photographic surface. The use of retouching software allows me to master this careful and stringent aesthetic with extreme precision, attenuating differences as though all individuals were the same, losing all of their individuality and identity.

About Photographer

Maria Svarbova was born in 1988 in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, she found a medium for her artistic expression in photography. Since 2010, she has focused on developing her own photographic language, quickly gaining international recognition. Amongst awards, solo and group exhibitions, her work has been featured in Vogue, Guardian, Instagram, and many other publications. Highlights of her commercial work include commission for promotional poster displayed at the Taiwanese landmark, 101 skyscraper. Maria has developed a distinctive style early on – departing from traditional portraits to focus on experimentation with space, colour and atmosphere. Her interest in architecture and public spaces, usually build in the Socialist era, led her to create unique sceneries. Human body in Maria's photographs is more or less a prop, without individuality or emotions. As part of careful composition, beautifully alien figures create still, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. There is a silent tension, the drama is hidden under clean, smooth surface. Even in her more ornamental, nostalgic works there is a sense of cold detachment. Everyday actions such as sports or doctors visit are frozen in a moment and through Maria's eyes, given a new meaning. Soothing pastels, geometry and visual purity give a sense of otherworldly order, undisturbed visual pleasure that is unattainable in real life. Through her photographs, Maria stops the time and shares her vision: she is not afraid to address the loneliness and isolation, nevertheless she chooses to celebrate its still, calm beauty.