Synchronized swimming has fascinated me ever since I was a child. I’ve always admired the talent required to perform this beautiful, elegant crossover of swimming and dance. In a series of aerial photos, Brad Walls captured precisely the beauty, elegance, and grace you’ll find in this artistic sport.
Brad is a photographer focusing mostly on aerial photography. However, he’s not that much into architecture or landscape shots but rather focuses on portraits. He experiments with negative space, symmetry, and leading lines, and you’ll find his work very clean, simple, and soothing. He often photographs sports players like divers, tennis players, synchronized swimmers, gymnasts, and ballet dancers.
As I mentioned, Brad’s latest project is all about synchronized swimming. Titled Water Geomaids, this series invites you to experience yet another intimate and unique perspective of this graceful sport. And it’s just in time for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“I was surprised at the lack of imagery capturing the shapes and patterns that synchronized swimmers create,” Brad explains. This was one of the driving forces that made him start this project. He knew that synchronized swimming would align perfectly with his minimalistic, balanced aesthetic. And indeed, looks like artistic swimmers were the perfect subject for Brad’s project.
To create Water Geomaids, Brad teamed up with a Sydney-based synchronized swimming team choreographed by Katrina Ann. She is a former competitor who has competed at the Commonwealth Games and in multiple World Championships. “Artistic swimmers spend hours every day working to achieve perfection,” Katrina said. “With Brad’s eye for detail, perspective and creativity, we were able to showcase our hard work that is often lost to the naked eye.” So, it wasn’t difficult to convince her and her team to participate in the project.
Like many great projects, this one also began with brainstorming and ideas. Brad relied on different artistic sports, not just synchronized swimming, which inspired him to draw out the geometric shapes he wanted to form on paper and create in the pool.
Based on his drawings, Brad worked together with Katrina in order to bring the drawings to life. “When working Katrina, our aim was to cherry-pick static positions from routines that build repetition of form and geometric sequences,” Brad explains. “80% is planned, 20% is impromptu,” he adds, concluding that “no matter the amount of planning that goes into it, there will always be an unplanned frame that looks awesome and couldn’t possibly have been planned. That is the embodiment of art.”
As I mentioned, Brad has photographed different sports from above before embarking on this project. He plans to release a picture book to showcase all the sports he has captured over the past three years, and it will be the first book of its kind. Until it’s published, enjoy more of these magical photos below. And of course, follow Brad’s work on his website and Instagram.