Better Days

I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is so beguiling about Seunggu Kim’s 2017 photo of a swimming pool. There’s the pool itself, of course, with its whimsical mix of premodern Korean architecture and bright blue water, and there’s the photo’s elevated vantage point, which turns pink and yellow flotation devices into so many rainbow sprinkles on a neon ice cream cake. But I think what really does it is the way the building’s design and the photograph’s framing combine to flatten and enclose the whole enormous, crowded rectangle: Like the map in a fantasy novel or a Richard Scarry picture book, the resulting image offers freedom and containment at the same time, a sensation of activity anchored by a feeling of perfect safety.

By Will Heinrich, New York Times