HO: Where and when was this photograph taken?

GC: It was taken at the Chadderton Baths, in 2008. It's part of a photographic project called "Absense of Water".

HO: What were the conditions at the site?

GC: Well, some of them were well taken cared of, for example the Soho Baths in London, and Victoria Baths in Manchester. But many of them, even if they were protected by an alarm, were vandalized. The sound of pigeons made these places very spooky,

HO: Are there any particular aspects about the shooting that you want to point out?

GC: Not really. It was important to stay at 3/4 away from the deep end of the pool and make sure the camera - a Hasselblad  503CW - was well centered inside the tank.

HO: How did this project start?

GC: I explored the first site Hornsey baths - now demolished - which was at few steps from my apartment. After that excursion, I started searching for others.

HO: Why did you select this project?

GC: I selected the Chadderton Baths for its beauty deco-style: the white tiles and clear lines made it one of my favorites.

HO: Is there any peculiar story about this photograph?

GC: There is a funny aspect about the permit to photograph these baths. In most cases, the Council rejected the initiative. So, I needed to plan a way to climb inside. In order to find the best access to the building, I would study the planimetry of it, and find myself in weird positions. For once, I did convince the builders to had the access to this particular bath just few hours before its demolition.

HO: What is the most interesting thing about this photograph? What does it reflect?

GC: I have always been interested in memories and in the disappearance of signs that would evoke and testify our history.


Gigi Cifali is an Italian photographer based in Milan and London.

The image and interview selected are part of the editorial project "1 Photo(grapher)".