Swimming With Stu

Sometimes the hardest part about this blog is finding the words that do justice to the beautiful work I see. It’s a bit like that quote someone once said “painting says what words cannot.” Except in this case it’s photography that’s doing the talking.

For a while now, years I guess, gorgeous flashes of flesh and water have been appearing on Instagram as I scroll through my feed. Taken by my friend Stu, they appear like surreal visions among the endless food photos and hashtags.

A wrist, a calf, the curve of a woman’s belly or backside. Snapshots, brief glimpses of water nymphs.

I already knew Stu was a good photographer, I’d seen the shots he’d taken at music festivals during gigs (yeah, he’s also a totally awesome musician – double bass player. I know…sexy as…anyway…) but these were something different. These images were like fragments of a memory, a slow and intimate reveal. And they were being displayed on Instagram of all places.

What I didn’t know until I approached Stu about writing this piece was that he had been creating something even more beautiful than the shots I had seen. Not until I scrolled through his feed did I realise that each image was just one piece of an ethereal, otherworldly puzzle. I was floored. Not only were the images visually stunning, but he had captured exactly what it feels like to be underwater. And at that point my words dried up.

Swimming has always been my escape. I don’t get to do it much anymore – too much of my life requires I remain dry these days – and I miss the solitude. Even as a child, it was the serenity I liked best.

Sometimes laps, sometimes body surfing, sometimes just messing about imagining myself a mermaid…but always, always, the escape.

No phones

No emails

No facebook

No responsibilities

No demands

No questions

No small talk

No noise.

Uninterrupted me time, alone time, leave me just to think time 


Swimming like flying. Weightless. 

The flying you would do with no chance of the drop. 

A long and graceful movement, a strong and forceful sweep. 

Suspended in a vulnerable dance

Cleansing choreography. 

Those are the words that come into my head, but these are Stu’s images. They say it better than I ever could…

If you want to see more of his stuff, go here . Bill Henson must be shaking in his camera bag knowing Stu’s in the frame.

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