Exhibition Dates: June 21 – July 26, 2003
This body of work began in the late 1980's when Ruth Kaplan became intrigued with the steady tension between the communal setting and the private atmosphere of public pools. Taking her camera into a local YWCA, she experienced the effect that a photographer can have on such a situation, tipping the balance from intimacy to conspicuous discomfort. Most of the women fled the scene, leaving only her friends remaining to be photographed.
Ruth was intrigued by this response, and determined to delve further into this corner of our collective psyche. She moved away from the self-conscious environment of the change room, towards the more naturalistic lifestyle of spas and nudist camps in California. There, the appearance of a naked woman with a medium-format camera was more easily accepted within a setting that is part therapeutic, part hedonistic, part exhibitionist. The resulting images evoke a sense of tranquillity and introspection, as well as the suggestion that we are witnessing a method of healing that reaches far beyond the treatments that they depict.