10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes

Stephan Zirwes is a German photographer who was awarded third place in the Sony World Photography Awards in the category of Architecture with his work “Pools”. For years, he has specialised in taking aerial photographs – first by hanging out of helicopters and now also using drones. His work “Pools” photographs makes us reconsider the waste of water in private pools, a fundamental resource for life and one of earth’s most precious and vital resources.

“Pools” technical information

In most regions of the world these pools are reserved for private usage and are a massive waste of drinking water. Public pools can still be a symbol for the importance that water should be free and accessible to everyone.

– Stephan Zirwes

Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs

10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes


10 Amazing Aerial Swimming Pools Photographs / Stephan Zirwes

© Stephan Zirwes

About “Pools”

With these photographs, Stephan Zirwes won the Sony World Photography Awards in the category of Architecture. More than 230,000 images were entered into the World Photography Organisation’s professional, open and youth categories, encompassing the delicate handling of private moments to the capturing of the year’s biggest news stories.

In these aerial shots of swimming pools across southern Germany, Zirwes contemplates our tendency to privatize what is a public asset. He does it with an artistic approach that is as uncommon as it is effective – photographing the community swimming pools of his native zone, Baden-Wurttemberg, as symbols of sharing the precious resource, and freely accessible as places of leisure and wellbeing.

In these series he shows the importance of water, one of the most precious resources for life on our planet by contrasting the role of water as the consummate location for entertainment with the incredible waste of drinking water being used for private pools. Focusing on the privatisation of public pools, Zirwes highlights the trend to privatise a public asset for commercial exploitation. The clean formal language and the simple design of the pictures focus our interest on this newsworthy issue with elegance and a certain playfulness.

In Germany, everyone goes to the public pool in the summer. I am interested by that public space and what the way we bathe says about us as a culture. It will be great to explore that in different parts of the world.

– Stephan Zirwes

He didn’t use a drone here, explaining that a helicopter gives him more time to find the right pattern and the end result is a rather uncanny aerial view, further amplified by the way he cuts away part of the image and uses the tile patterns around the pools to create a kind of mount. Seen from a helicopter, the swimmers appear like models in a miniature play set.

I’ve tried doing these shots with drones, but it never satisfies me. Apart from the legal issues, people always tend to look up. In a helicopter, I can take my time and find the right pattern. […]

The pools and people are real I only copied parts of the original pool tiles and enlarged them in a simple, visible way to create a kind of mount in patterns.

– Stephan Zirwes

Pools Gallery

Stephan Zirwes Video Works

Cite this article: "12 Surreal Pools Photographs by Stephan Zirwes," in ArchEyes, May 4, 2016, http://archeyes.com/swimming-pools-aerial-stephan-zirwes/.