Lake of Bays, Ontario - Barbara Cole

My favourite bodies of water are Lake of Bays and Lake Simcoe. My favourite memory of water (now this is very morbid) is of a time I was watching behind a boat. I fell, and my life preserver jammed my arms up over my head. I started to drown, and my father saved me.

What does water mean to me as an artist?

In a word – EVERYTHING. In my late twenties, while I was working as a photojournalist at a newspaper, I had an attack of constant migraines . . . morning, noon and night, every day, all day for over 3 years.

As a treatment, one of the doctors suggested a daily swim. While swimming, which did provide relief, I would think, “If I ever get well, I’ll become a full-time photographer and open my own studio.”

I did eventually get well, and I opened my studio in the 80’s. In the meantime, I kept on swimming as much as possible. I refer to the pool as “my office” because so many art projects were conceived there.

It took some time before I was able to connect the two passions in my life -- photography and swimming. But from the first underwater roll of film, I knew I had found a deeply personal means of expression.

I’ve had the good fortune to use the freshwater available to me in Canada. I think I took it for granted all these years. I’ve been shooting underwater since 2000, but I never questioned water’s availability. It was always just there.

Krystyn Tully
Barbara Cole

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