US Water Polo: Wet Drills

Photographer Luke Gilford Goes Poolside at Team USA's Los Angeles Training Camp

Sporting regulation stars and stripes speedos, lathering on sunscreen pre-game and carving their way through mid-match action, the hunky players of the United States Olympic water polo team were shot in training by photographer Luke Gilford during several pre-Games matches. Developed as an aquatic version of rugby, water polo has been an Olympic sport since the Paris 1900 Games and tonight marks the much-anticipated match between the US and Great Britain teams. A member of the United States swim team up until 2004, Gilford created the series as a personal project exploring his own relationship to the water. “Our main goal was to show that the game exists in two worlds, both above and below the surface of the water,” explains the LA-based photographer. “We wanted to create something that gave a player’s perspective of the sport.” Filtering and distorting live recordings made during the practice matches, composer Jeremy Lingvall created an original score to accompany the stills. Obsessed with the Games for as long as he can remember, Gilford  is looking forward to tuning in to the remainder of the Olympics. “I am drawn to the ritual and ceremony that exists around all of the athletes and their teams,” he says. “Not to mention the spectacle of the Games in general, when the world assembles, essentially, to worship the human body.”

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