Poolside Pleasures

California Pools on 70s Iconic Pictures

There can be many reasons for someone to make a picture of a swimming pool. It can be the sunlit leisure and the lavish lifestyle related to poolside activities we all enjoy and envy. Or it can be the shiny glamour of the water itself. In the 70s California pools had already have a long story behind that filled them up with all sorts of connotations.

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Poolside Gossip is quite a shot by Slim Aarons the “glamour photographer”. Aarons was a famous documenter of celebrities, socialites and their luxurious lifestyle from the 50s on. He could easily merge with them, for as he said, he was part of the company himself. This photograph was taken at Richard Neutra’s amazing Kaufmann House in Palm Springs in 1970. A very light-hearted picture depicting an easy lifestyle with easy colors in a balanced, happy structure. No wonder it became an iconic representation of California high-life.

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There’s always something infinitely funny in David Hockney’s pool pictures. They’re purely about the visual, I don’t think he ever wants to tell anything about the social aspects of poolside life – he just happens to live in a quite luxurious California area with pools around. And he gets inspired by his surroundings and the rich and beautiful visuals of it. Pools in an always sunny weather must be totally amusing for someone deeply interested in colors, light and surfaces. His most famous ‘A Bigger Splash’ is an acrylic painting from 1967. Some people miss the human presence from the picture, but I guess the fact that the diver is invisible is exactly what makes it hilarious. It’s like a messed up photograph taken in the wrong moment. Have you seen his paper pulp series called ‘Paper Pools’?

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Skateboarding culture was born in Venice California in the 1970s. Its story is a nice example of one culture getting turned into some other totally different. It is delightful to see these wild boys with long hair occupying empty pools and utilizing them for their own kind of fun.  Hugh Holland’s photographs with their powerful, intense pastel coloring vividly express the sparkling energies of the boys being deeply immersed in the love of speed and doing crazy things with their skateboards. 




And finally, let’s take a look at a great favorite of ours: Faye Dunaway flirting with her new boyfriend, Oscar. It was taken by later husband Terry O’Neill early in the morning after she won Best Actress for her role in ‘Network’. With newspapers under her feet, splendor all around, and a pool in the background she doesn’t a bit care about she is just the lady – glorious, beautiful, triumphant.