Bosphorus Cross-Continental

Photographer Andres Gonzalez Dives into the World of the Unique Swimming Contest

Istanbul-based photographer Andres Gonzalez documents the Bosphorus Cross-Continental 6.5km swimming competition that traverses the channel separating the Turkish city's Asian and European banks. First launched in 1989, the annual contest draws over 1,000 participants from 42 countries attempting to exploit the powerful cross-currents that result from the collision between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Managing to keep on course and avoiding the whirlpools that caught some of his rivals barely 50 yards from the finish line, overall winner Hasan Emre Musluoğlu triumphed in just over 47 minutes. Gonzalez was struck by the variety and age of participants, which included artists, politicians, former Olympic champion Mark Spitz, and even some in their 70s. “The second place girl was 14 years old. She's this young, totally humble Turkish girl,” he says. “Then you have these big Russian swimmers that are just bad-ass. But seeing the older people come in, with their determination and sense of accomplishment, you share their giddy euphoria.” The one-time newspaper photographer, whose work has featured in Newsweek, Monocle and Wallpaper*, is currently putting the finishing touches to a photobook study of distance called Somewhere, due out this fall, before migrating to Mexico for the winter to shoot butterflies.

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