This artwork of a nude swimmer depicts a golden figure in sapphire blue water. The appeal of this image goes beyond the aesthetic. Although they are implied, one cannot deny its seductive and theatrical qualities. The cropping of the image is close. This nude swimmer passes at a conversational distance. We view her through the eyes of a companion, rather than as a stranger.
Ava knows a secret. Looking for something too specific is rarely fruitful. Embrace life and your many options. What’s missing from happiness is usually yourself. She enjoys her immediate surroundings and they become her world. Some people are so afraid of life that they avoid most of it. The nude woman is immersed, literally and figuratively, in the joy of the moment.
In this image of Ava, we sense she is smiling, even if we can’t see her face. Too many people seek happiness when what they want is fulfillment. A fulfilling life is not a string of happy moments. A swim is a journey for its own sake, rather than to reach a destination. Despite a sense of indulgence, the image implies a yearning.
Her body is mostly under the water and therefore distorted. Water has no single visual form. The human body, on the other hand, follows a specific formula. Here, the two notions collide and contradict. This allows the viewer to imagine as much as they want of what is really present.
Ava reaches out of the water, her hand and arm blur with motion. The gesture of the raised arm is central to the theme. Along with her head, it indicates the direction of her attention. The woman’s turned head and the ripples from her body also hint at her quiet motion. One can imagine the sounds of the water filling a quiet, warm afternoon.
The outstretched arm points into the distance. The portion of the artwork above the nude swimmer contains a dark corner. Both of these hint at something beyond the picture’s edge. The “beyond” is in her thoughts.
Encircling the figure is a web-like pattern of reflections. This pattern is unbroken in front of her and the arc of areas where she has not been. Behind her, the water is clearly disturbed, evidence of her travels.
This image was chosen by the Photo Editor of Vogue Italia for the Photovogue showcase.
Compare this image to a larger contemporary nude photograph, which presents the figure in a frontal, vertical orientation.