I go swimming in the London Fields Lido every day before work. Okay, not every day (I’m not a machine), but as many days as I can – hangovers and early meetings permitting. I’m definitely not a morning person so it’s a miracle I even make it there some days, but there’s something rather magical about plunging into outdoor water before you’re fully awake and having a sunny/rainy/cloudy splash about to start your day. Then after a nice dip, you can feel a tad smug for the rest of the day, smell faintly of chlorine and eat everything you want! Plus you get a banging swimsuit tan.
That’s what I would have said if I’d been photographed for Madeleine Waller’s new book ‘East London Swimmers’ which documents the secret lives of my fellow Lido folk. She’s taken 18 intimate portraits of swimmers – clothed and in their cosie – who brave the pool in all weathers and asked them to tell their story. It’s a loving portrait of people seeking a moment of escapism in the city (or that’s how it feels when I swim there anyway) and I urge you to take a look – and maybe even a dip. Sonya Barber
‘East London Swimmers’ by Madeleine Waller is published by hoxtonminipress.com. Standard edition £12.95 and special signed and numbered collector’s edition £45.00.