Hou Hai Lake Swimmers
Project info

These images are a series of portraits of the Houhai lake winter swimmers in Beijing China.
I visited Beijing in February and was shown the swimmers by my Chinese fixer.
People swim in the lake everyday at the same location. The water is frozen over as outside temperatures can reach -10 degrees celcius during the winter. The swimmers create an large area to swim in by breaking through the ice.
Swimmers come and go all day long throughout the year becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction during the winter.
They range in ages, although are generally men who are retired and older. I discovered that one of my subjects was 87 years old.
Swimmers can be in the water for literally a few seconds to a few minutes.
I spent two days at Houhai lake photographing the swimmers who were willing to have their picture taken. After choosing my background area I would shoot them straight after they had taken a dip in the freezing water.
Aiming to create a slightly surreal image of each as I chose not to show the lake but rather the areas in which the participants would change into their swimwear and dry off after their swim.