Eszter Sára Cseh’s fantasy photos are gaining more and more international popularity. The Swimmers series is one of the best-known of Eszter’s fashion photos with characteristic aesthetics, designed in every detail. The concept is expanding: a quarantine issue and a self-portrait have already been born, and after Milan they will be exhibited next time in Paris.
How did the Swimmers series begin, what inspired the watery concept?
I don’t consider myself a particularly good swimmer, but the sight of the blue water has always impressed me. As a child, there was always something solemn when we went to the swimming pool, beach or Lake Balaton. I first saw the sea at the age of fifteen, which was a defining experience, and I have been attracted to large bodies of water ever since. I made the first series in the camp of the VM Model agency in Croatia, after the official photoshoots. Weeks before the trip, I saw a series photographed in a realist style where the models wore swimming caps, hence the idea for me to get some too, and everything else was improvisation. The second series was already more thoughtful with the sand dunes. Then came the pandemic and with that the idea that a swimmer who should be at home illustrates this absurd situation well.
How did you experience the pandemic period as a creator?
My husband and I were just in South Korea at the start of the coronavirus epidemic. Back then, from home, it all seemed like a distant problem, there was already fever measurement at the airports. Then during the quarantine, it turned out that I was pregnant, which is why I was very picky about what jobs I would undertake. My own projects were pushed into the background, I feared for the baby, I didn’t want to take any extra risks. Plans were and will be made, but right now my thoughts are completely occupied with my little boy, maybe that’s why I didn’t experience isolation and restrictions as a tragedy either. Traveling, on the other hand, is very much missed already, I feel bad that I can’t be there at any of the exhibitions where my picture is presented.
Your swimming cap images were selected for the event of Imagination, a Paris-based international contemporary photo exhibition in September in Milan, and for its Paris exhibition next month. In addition, you were also asked to create a self-portrait of yourself with selected artists for the Adobe MAX 2021 virtual conference. You made a swimming cap job for this as well. Can we say that this is already your trademark?
When they approached me with this opportunity from Adobe, I didn’t want to do it at first. I had to take a selfie and I only had three weeks until labor. I was approached based on my Behance profile, where I’ve only uploaded swimming cap materials in recent years. It was clear to me that they would expect something like what they saw there, and I had no objection to hiding behind the swimming cap. While I don’t think of it as a trademark because I photograph a lot of other subjects, I don’t shy away from continuing it in any way.