How to Feel Like You Are Skinny Dipping (Deanna Templeton + Anne Sexton)

When photographer Deanna Templeton’s husband Ed decided to skinny dip in their swimming pool, she grabbed her camera to shoot a few photos. The resulting images — very different from the street photography for which she is known— surprised her.

When I got my proof-sheet back from the lab a week later I really liked what I was seeing. Some of the images looked like pencil drawings and others had really beautiful shadows and light bouncing off the body through the water.

I think what also grabbed me was the quietness of the images…when I was looking over the proof-sheet of my husband swimming it gave me a sense of calmness.

She put put an open call to friends to ask if anyone would be willing to swim nude; it evolved into a series called The Swimming Pool that she shot over eight years.

I wanted a blank canvas: I just wanted the body, the light and the water. No distractions.

The Swimming Pool © Deanna Templeton

The Swimming Pool is on exhibition at Gallery Fifty One in Antwerp. And has become a book.

We love the story of an impromtu nude swim leading to an eight year journey and a compelling body of work

We find the images instantly evoke that wonderfully free feeling of skinny dipping, of cool water and light on our body, with no constraints…

The Swimming Pool © Deanna Templeton

Anne Sexton’s poem The Nude Swim amplifies the feeling of letting “our bodies lose all their loneliness”

On the southwest side of Capri
we found a little unknown grotto
where no people were and we
entered it completely
and let our bodies lose all
their loneliness.

All the fish in us
had escaped for a minute.
The real fish did not mind.
We did not disturb their personal life.
We calmly trailed over them
and under them, shedding
air bubbles, little white
balloons that drifted up
into the sun by the boat
where the Italian boatman slept
with his hat over his face.

Water so clear you could
read a book through it.
Water so buoyant you could
float on your elbow.
I lay on it as on a divan.
I lay on it just like
Matisse’s Red Odalisque.
Water was my strange flower,
one must picture a woman
without a toga or a scarf
on a couch as deep as a tomb.

The walls of that grotto
were everycolor blue and
you said, ‘Look! Your eyes
are seacolor. Look! Your eyes
are skycolor.’ And my eyes
shut down as if they were
suddenly ashamed.


The Swimming Pool © Deanna Templeton

…a virtual skinny dip.

The Swimming Pool © Deanna Templeton



via AnOther

3 Responses to How to Feel Like You Are Skinny Dipping (Deanna Templeton + Anne Sexton)

  1. Christine 05.05.2017 at 1:16pm #

    Wahoo, I love this post!
    Imaginary skinny dips are my go-to happy places when the real thing isn’t plausible.
    People (dental hygienist, blood lab technician, etc) comment that I look content/delighted/peace or blissful if they catch me such a moment.
    Of course, daydreams are no match for a full-body swim.
    The water temp is climbing here in Rhode Island. I’ll be swimming free by May 15!
    Kudos & grats, Improvacateurs!

  2. Sally Schneider 05.05.2017 at 1:29pm #

    I hadn’t realized the power of imaginary skinny dips until I saw these photos. Now, I am addicted, and draw on my own memories of them…

    Thank you so much for your great comment!

  3. Alexander Hay-Whitton 07.08.2019 at 12:41am #

    If that’s a poem, I’m typing this on an HAL 9000.

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