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Picture Show: Absence of Water

In its heyday, London's Hornsey Baths (pictured), served some 120 daily visitors. That, however, was more than half a century...


In its heyday, London's Hornsey Baths (pictured), served some 120 daily visitors. That, however, was more than half a century ago; over time, Hornsey fell into disrepair, before getting shut down altogether in 1988.The empty pool is one of many jarring images found in Gigi Cifali's photographic series "Absence of Water," an ongoing project that aims to serve as a visual archive of the United Kingdom's now derelict lidos and baths-which, after the height of their popularity in the 1930s, saw diminishing attendance and upkeep, and, over years and decades, were either abandoned or demolished. The feeling of having been bypassed by modernity is palpable, and the emptiness is dramatic. Yet, even in the structures' dilapidated states, there lies a sense of civic and architectural integrity. And by photographing them, Cifali hopes not only to celebrate the icons of a bygone era, but also to "express the importance of water" as an "element of regeneration for the human spirit."
Click to enlarge. STIRCHLEY BATHS, BIRMINGHAMOpened 1910, Closed 1988. Attendance per day: 140 people
Click here to enlarge.ELTHAM PARK LIDO, LONDONOpened 1924, Closed 1988. Attendance per day: 145 people
Click here to enlarge.MOSELEY BATHS, BIRMINGHAMOpened 1907, Closed 2004. Attendance per day: 120 people
Click here to enlarge.ERITH POOL, ERITHOpened 1972, Closed 2005. Attendance per day: 120 people
Click here to enlarge.UXBRIDGE LIDO, UXBRIDGEOpened 1935, Closed 1998. Attendance per day: 200 people.

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