Valentine Schmidt ’s major body of work, Plunge, is a set of semi-abstract images documenting three London lidos during the winter months – one in use, one empty and one derelict.
The images focus on the relationship between the floor of the pool and the surface of the water. This dynamic of architectural and natural elements is constantly in flux – affected equally by the changing seasons and by the human forces of social policy.
Plunge uses the evocative qualities of the surfaces to speak of the history and demise of these beautiful and tranquil spaces. Filled, or when emptied of water, these Edwardian open-air bathing pools are honoured in their various states of preservation and dereliction.
The relationship between the lines at the bottom of the lido and the water’s surface form the basis for Between Seasons. The light is that of the English autumn and leaves from the surrounding trees decorate the surface. The steps in Plunge invite the viewer to imagine their entry into this lido during the transition from autumn to winter, when leaves give way to ice.
A subsequent series of photographic works, First length in Bullwood Hall, introduce a new direction in Schmidt’s ongoing exploration of pools, outdoor bathing and long-distance swimming: unlike previous series, the prison location and circumstances for swimming are not freely chosen.
Prints are also available in 20 x 20'' (edition of 20) and 33
x 33'' (edition of 10), price £600 and £800 respectively. Please note that the exception to this is Plunge 1 20 x 20'' (£800) and Plunge 1 33 x 33'' (£1500), with very few remaining.
Valentine Schmidt is a graduate of The London College of Printing (MA). She has exhibited at The Photographers' Gallery, Margate Photo Festival, LSE and Lounge. Recent shows include ArtHouse1 Presents, with Sam Hall, in July 2014. Her work has been collected by Brian Eno, Madonna and Alexander McQueen.