The illustration above is scanned from a small section titled “Fourteen Odors” towards the beginning of Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton. In this section, Shapton pairs fourteen different color smudges with descriptions of scent-memories from her youth. I like looking at the combination of colors in the illustrated smudges contrasted with the the specificity of the memory details. So much of what I remember from my youth is tied to color and objects. This part of the book made me think about how we hold on to things and how we show the things we hold onto.

Swimming Studies is a memoir that centers around Shapton’s relationship to swimming. Shapton trained for the Olympics as a young athlete but later left the sport to pursue other endeavors and to study art. In this book, Shapton picks apart her relationship to swimming, asking –  what does one do with an activity that once dominated every part of one’s life?


Swimming Studies is an original, meditative work that explores what it is like to move from a world of competition and discipline to one of recreation and introspection. Giving a fascinating glimpse into the private realms of swimming, and drawing, Shapton tells an intimate story of suburban adolescence, family ties, and the solitary underwater moments that now ground her artistic habits. (SOURCE)


Sidenote: Leanne Shapton is the co-founder of J&L Books (one of my favorite publishers) along with Jason Fulford. You can read Jason Fulford’s interview on ACO by clicking HERE.


xx GD


stefani greenwood photographer
Stefani Greenwood, Fields of flowers