Title

Surface Tension

A Beijing Photographer at the Pool

  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, June 25, 2016.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, June 25, 2016.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 12, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 12, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 6, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 6, 2014.
  • Tuanjiehu Park, Beijing, August 16, 2014.
    Tuanjiehu Park, Beijing, August 16, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 25, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 25, 2014.
  • Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
    Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
  • Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
    Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 25, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 25, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 14, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 14, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, June 11, 2016.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, June 11, 2016.
  • Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
    Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 12, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 12, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 14, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, August 14, 2014.
  • Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
    Qingnianhu Park, Beijing, July 27, 2014.
  • Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.
    Liulang Natatorium, Beijing, July 20, 2014.

“I never realized that so many Chinese people have tattoos,” says photographer Xu Song, who spent the summers of 2014, 2015, and 2016 photographing people at outdoor swimming pools in Beijing with his phone. “When the clothes come off, the secrets come out.” For Xu, pools provide “a summer outlet for the emotions” of the swimmers. Like the water that spills through them, Xu’s photographs both clarify and obscure his subjects, playing with surface and depth, forcing us to see the strangeness in familiar scenes and gestures, and daring us to wonder what might remain submerged.

The Editors

Topics: 
Arts, Society, Urban Life
Keywords: 
Swimming, Beijing, Society, Sports