SUBMERGED: Body language below the surface
Let’s admit it--swimming pools change everyone’s behavior.
Out of the water, bodies are on parade and everyone’s watching. Admit it, you do it too. It’s hard not to. We’re not used to seeing practically naked strangers. Some show-offs love the attention. They parade their gym bodies around the pool doing lap after lap pretending to need a drink or an extra towel.
But if you want to avoid the lascivious/judgemental eyes of the lounge chair people watchers, all you have to do is get in the water and Voila! You’re safe. No one’s watching, right? You can stop worrying that your suit’s falling off or that you forgot to shave your armpits. Suddenly you’re free, weightless, invisible. You can jump, float, practically fly, attack your sister, jump on top of that buff guy or pull down your girlfriend’s bikini bottom. And it’s all okay, you can be a kid again. It’s cool, you’re in the pool. No one can really see what’s going on anyway because for some reason; no one is watching.
But I am.
When adults are in the pool there’s a certain amount of detachment going on between their heads and the rest of their bodies. A detachment, I think, that allows fairly self-conscious grown-ups to let their bodies, move, appear and behave in ways that they’d probably never allow if they had any idea what they looked like. And when people are on vacation and there’s a pool bar nearby, the underwater tableau can get even more interesting.
That’s why, if you have goggles, the real show is under the water. The first time I took a camera beneath the surface, I was amazed at what I found--a whole new world of behavior and body language much freer than anything you’d see above the water. People were at play in all kinds of ways. Adults were acting like kids and the kids were positively acrobatic. It’s a wonderful show.
Alex Kondracke is a photo and film based artist. She studied film at Dartmouth College and NYU Graduate Film school. Her short film, ICE FISHING won a jury prize at The Sundance Film Festival. After graduating, Alex worked as a cinematographer for documentaries and tv shows on the BBC, Bravo, VH-1, TLC, Discovery, A&E and the National Geographic Channel. After completing Disney/ABC’s Directing Fellowship, Alex began writing and producing Showtime’s The L Word and later, HBO’s Hung. Alex is also the director of the musical feature Girltrash: All Night Long.
In addition to her film work, Alex has been working as a fine art photographer, based in Los Angeles. Alex’s photographs have been exhibited in group shows and publications across the country and have garnered numerous awards.
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