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Photo Essays

Learning to Swim

Bochnia, Poland – January 2014

Learning to Swim, photo essay by Alicja Brodowicz

[T]he series explores the mother and daughter relationship; it is about the physical and the emotional distance that increases as the child grows and gains independence. It is about the feeling of immense pride and also great pain. The photos focus on the stage of being in between: youth and adulthood, the nest and the world, the comfortable water and the firm earth that we all must learn to walk on.

The series is accompanied by a poem by Polish poet Ewa Świąc:

my little one is learning to swim
and yet there is something left: gills, fins. she is aquatic and terrestrial, still a thermophile,
enmeshed in intestines. almost a fish, a bit a turtle, a bit a root.
she may get hooked and stick to the ground, she may move into the belly
and live among algae. with the umbilical cord around her wrists.
the little one hopes that her desire to be with water is temporary,
and later everything will get back to normal: the sky, the ground, four walls, ninety degrees
in between. a window, a tree behind it, a window-sill, a table, a bed.
the little one believes that the webbing between her fingers can be bitten, and that the teeth will do.

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