The results of the International Photography Awards 2018 have been released, with Stephan Zirwes being named as architecture photographer of the year. Originally from Germany, Stephan was awarded the title for his series called, “Pools 2018”, a project that saw him travelling across Europe to capture the unique views of public swimming pools from above.

Geovillage Kinderbecken, showing a public pool in Italy. Image by Stephan Zirwes

“I started taking pictures for this series in 2015, shot by helicopter at a height of a few hundred meters, and Pools 2018 is a continuation of that work. This time, the series was shot by drone, only by a height of a few meters,” Stephan told Lonely Planet Travel News. The photographer wanted to use the project as a way to discuss the importance of water being made available to everyone, and used the theme to create striking architectural travel images.

A piece titled Iceland Highlands. Image by Stephan Zirwes

The project was also fuelled by nostalgia, with Stephan having spent much of his younger years visiting public pools in the summertime. “In Germany, there are not so many private pools – people are more used to public ones. It is a part of the social-cultural life, open for all kind of social classes where people spend a lot of time, especially in their childhood and which leaves pleasant memories. Everybody can afford the small amount of the entry fee. I like this way of thinking,” he said.

The photographer used the tiles to create a type of mount for each image. Image by Stephan Zirwes

A jury for the International Photography Awards 2018 chose winners in a number of categories from a total of 12,000 entries from 105 countries all over the world, and Stephan was named this year’s architecture of the year photographer for his idiosyncratic style. In the post-production stage, the original tiles from each pool are copied and enlarged to create a type of mount made up of patterns, with the tiles becoming like a frame and the focus being on the pool. The collection features pools in Germany, Italy and Iceland, and shows the different styles and designs on offer to the public in each location.

Stephan used the project to discuss the importance of water for communities around the world. Image by Stephan Zirwes

More of Stephan’s work is available at his official website.

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