Text by Toby Skinner Photos/Stephan Zirwes
German photographer Stephan Zirwes is the man who shoots patterns from the sky. From airports to cross-country ski races, soccer fields and refugee camps, he has a curious ability to make the mundane magical, and has won a clutch of awards, including a prestigious Hasselblad Masters award in 2010.
His latest focus is swimming pools – initially German public pools, but with plans to compare and contrast with private pools in South America, spa baths in Hungary and teeming wave pools in China.
“In Germany, everyone goes to the public pool in the summer,” says Zirwes, who has already exhibited the work alongside pool paintings by Uwe Schäfer. “I am interested by that public space and what the way we bathe says about us as a culture. It will be great to explore that in different parts of the world.”
As with most of his photography, his pool shots are taken from a helicopter, using a small, high-resolution Hasselblad camera with 60 million megapixels. Afterwards, he takes the real sides of the pool and multiplies the patterns.
“I’ve tried doing these shots with drones, but it never satisfies me,” he says. “Apart from the legal issues, people always tend to look up. In a helicopter, I can take my time and find the right pattern.”
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