Damion Berger: In The Deep End
I first met Damion Berger a number of years ago at Review LA, hosted by Center. He was sharing his wonderful underwater images from his project, The Deep End. I was happy to learn that he now has a monograph of the work, published by Schilt Publishing and ready for purchase.
Damion was born in London and his interest in photography was nurtured while an assistant to the late Helmut Newton before earning his B.F.A. in photography from Parsons, The New School For Design in New York. He has exhibited with galleries in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Damion was one of ten artists chosen for the ‘Discoveries’ exhibition at this year’s Fotofest 2012 Biennial in Houston. His work is held in many private collections and he is well published. Damion lives and works in New York and Southern France.
Deep End: This series of photographs makes use of the water’s capacity to at once de-contextualize the familiar and evoke a fusion of dreamlike memories and sense of childhood regression. The clear, warm water of the swimming pool represents an intersection between the cultural and social pursuit of leisure, the natural element of water and manmade space. The pool provides a place of temporary detachment from life’s everyday routine.
Smuggling an underwater camera into public swimming pools where photography is generally prohibited, for the most part I worked without the knowledge or complicity of my subjects. Whilst surreptitiously maneuvering underwater, I’d often hold my breath until near bursting-point, swimming for position and trying to hide my camera until the moment presented itself.
Seeking out public swimming pools predominantly on the Côte D’Azur and elsewhere around the Mediterranean, I was drawn to scenes of the unusual, frequently populated with energetic children less content to wallow on the surface than their more temperate elders. These photographs pay homage to the water’s almost magical qualities and re-establish a link to happy vignettes from my own memory – the blissful abandon of youth and the warm embrace of summertime’s past.
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