All Books Masters of Photography Quotes

André Kertész | Underwater Swimmer, 1917

Underwater Swimmer Esztergom,1917, André Kertész

Underwater Swimmer Esztergom,1917, André Kertész

After I was wounded [in WWI] I was in the hospital for almost nine months. We went swimming in the pool every day, and I realized the distortions in the water. When I photographed them my comrades said, ‘You are crazy. Why did you photograph this?’ I answered: ‘Why only girl friends? This also exists.’ So I photographed my first distortion in 1917 – others followed later, especially the nudes in 1933.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész


  • Hi Doug,
    I’m a reporter living in London and I’ve just been to Paris to see the Kertesz retrospective – which was brilliant. In the exhibition, two prints of Underwater Swimmer are on display. The original 1917 one, and a recropped version from much later (after Kertesz, living in the US, was given a box of his own negatives that had been stored in Paris for years.)
    At least, I think it’s the same negative – re-cropped. Is the one you have on your website the earlier or later version. One of them has the ledge of the pool visible in the upper left hand of the frame.
    I’m just curious – and wondered if you could help with the facts.
    I’m enjoying your website. It’s very elegant. All the best. Elizabeth

  • Hi Elizabeth,
    That’s amazing that you saw the original 1917 print. This scan was from the book Kertesz on Kertesz and the date for the print was not listed. Sorry I couldn’t help more. And thanks for the compliments!


  • A long-time admirer of Kértész, I just discovered your blog this morning. What a delight! I sent a link to all my friends at the Light Factory in Charlotte, NC. As an aside, my daughter-in-law is Hungarian, and I am fascinated by the tenacity of Hungarians, expertly illustrated by Kertész and his
    Landing Pigeon photo. Thanks for making my day!

  • Hi Patty! Thanks for the New Years compliments! I like what you’re saying about Hungarian tenacity and I think Kértész’s perseverance throughout his career proves this point!


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