The Pool of Life by Michelle Chaplow

Female models, were photographed by Michelle Chaplow in abandoned man-made and natural pools.

The series focuses on visual poetry of the female form, along with an ongoing process of inner reflection, shot using melancholic body language, with uniform diffused lighting and elements of water, or the absence of water in a place where water should naturally be.

“I want to convey a range of emotions, from the bitter moments of existence that can almost squeeze the very life-blood from you, to elements of optimism as shown by the ladder, saying that no matter how bad things get, there is always a way out,” explains Michelle.

“Pastel shades, delicate flowers, the vulnerability of the nude, and the absence of personalizing facial expressions mean that many women will be able to identify with the emotions depicted within this series.”

The absence of both strong sunlight, within the abandoned outdoor pools, creates a uniform diffused light reminiscent of colder climates.

The bathrobes worn by the models not only cloth the nude, they also bring in aesthetic awareness of Asian design, beauty, and global messages that no matter what country, the female form is always the same.

A series of images depicting inner reflection, the passage of time, moments of solitude, bitterness, optimism and hope. All of which contribute to the mystery surrounding the anonymous faceless figures.

There is a heavy presence of symbolism in these atmospheric images, which echoes the romantic yet enigmatic work of 19th century English artists known as the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood; the most famous of paintings being Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, which depicts the lover of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet committing suicide by drowning. She lays alone, half submerged in a flower strewn stream. It’s a haunting and timeless image which has captivated viewers for the past 150 years. The artist, model and lover, Lizzie Siddal who poses for the painting, contracts pneumonia and herself dies shortly after, sparking speculation about the emotional turmoil and intrigue surrounding her short life.

This body of work, although simple in execution, tantalizes the viewer and invites further exploration of what lays beneath its hidden depths.

David Clarke

Retired Head of Photography. Tate London.

Artist Bio

Michelle Chaplow is an internationally published award winning photographer. Her career spans 30 years She is a member of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and has studied photography at Seville University, The Contemporary Art Museum in Malaga and the MoMA in New York.

NFT work

As a lens-based artist, she minted her first NFT in April 2021. Michelle´s NFT work was accepted in two exhibition

MIAMI COLLECTIVE NFTS.TIPS EXHIBITION “0ut of the darkness, into the light” with her NFT “Eliza” 2021 and the NFT ART WEEK BEIJING STRATOSPHERE. Stratosphere, was the premier and largest IRL/Metaverse NFT Art showcase in the world and Michelle´s work is  titled “Intertwining”.

At this moment Michelle is working on three series Andalucia Auras, Intertwining and The Pool of Life.