IN PICS | Artist Brad Walls is taking sports photography to new heights

The aerial photographer pooled his talents with a synchronised swimming team to create his latest body of work, 'Water Geomaids'

18 July 2021 - 00:00
'Water ballet'.
'Water ballet'.
Image: Brad Walls

Award-winning fine art aerial photographer Brad Walls, also known as @bradscanvas on social media, recently released a new body of work titled Water Geomaids, in which he invites audiences to experience a unique perspective of synchronised swimming (alternatively called artistic swimming) just in time for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

After capturing sports people and swimming pools, Walls set his sights on creating a hybrid photography series using his expertise in both subjects. The lack of existing synchronised swimming photography served as an additional impetus to Walls, who said: “I was surprised at the lack of imagery capturing the shapes and patterns that synchronised swimmers create.”

As he'd already beautifully captured the arts of diving, gymnastics, tennis and ballet, Walls knew that synchronised swimming aligned with his aesthetic, mixing synchronicity with symmetry.

Walls teamed up with a Sydney-based synchronised swimming team choreographed by Katrina Ann, a former artistic swimmer who's competed at the Commonwealth Games and in multiple world championships.

'Octopetala'.
'Octopetala'.
Image: Brad Walls
'Form'.
'Form'.
Image: Brad Walls

Ann was delighted to work with Walls, saying: “Artistic swimmers spend hours every day working to achieve perfection. With Brad's eye for detail, perspective and creativity, we were able to showcase the hard work that's often lost to the naked eye.”

Walls was inspired to draw out the geometric shapes he wanted to form on paper and create in the pool. Using these drawings, Walls and Ann collaborated to bring the drawings to life. Walls said: “My aim with Katrina was to cherry-pick static positions from routines that build repetition of form and geometric sequences.”

He meticulously planned his shots beforehand, but said “80% is planned, 20% is impromptu. No matter how much planning goes into it, there'll always be an unplanned frame that looks awesome and couldn't have been preconceived. That's the nature of art.”

'Waterlily'.
'Waterlily'.
Image: Brad Walls
'Pearls'.
'Pearls'.
Image: Brad Walls

Walls was a finalist in the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards in two categories, placed second in the 2021 Fine Art Photography Awards “Conceptual” category, and won the 2021 prestigious Communication Arts photography competition in the “For Sale” category.

He plans to release a book to showcase the sports he's captured from above over the past three years. The book will be the first of its kind.


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