HILLARY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY
  THE PERSISTENCE OF VANISHING THINGS
 
  HONG KONG: VING TSUN EPICENTER
  CHICAGO: WHERE LAND AND WATER MEET
  OAXACA
  ONLY THE FIGHTERS HERE
  PORTRAITS
  ANIMALS
  BRAND STORIES
  TRAVEL

THE WATERS WE SWIM IN


(work in progress)

The Waters We Swim In is a global photography project; black and white portraits of people floating in water, transforming perceptions of ourselves as isolated, incomprehensible individuals to recognition of mutual belonging and beauty. 

I photograph people floating in water; rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans. The experience is a floating meditation, a ritual for myself and for the person being photographed. We are immersed in the water and the work of making images together. 

I ask each person to first think about what are the waters they are currently swimming in individually and what we are swimming in collectively. Then to call into their heart and mind a slightly future self, to inquire, who is that person. What do they need, want, desire? What are the waters they want to be swimming in both individually and collectively? In each session, we move through a range of postures, some of which I cue them for and some based on their own intuition for movement. One posture repeats in every photo. It is a posture of intentional opening rather than closing off; arms flung wide, palms up; a posture of trust and vulnerability and great beauty. 

I want the work to be shared in public spaces, accessible for all the people to see and engage with, to create a communal space where we can encounter each other openly and with curiosity and compassion. It’s true that what we see changes us. I dream of a world reunited by recognition of our shared beauty and experiences. Think of a flower. It is beautiful because all the parts are beautiful And that beauty is far more than merely the sum of its parts. Humanity is like this. Together we are more beautiful than anything we could become alone and that is something worth celebrating.