For a photo series about a backyard swimming pool that proves I’m not a total prude or landlubber, I present Charles Johnstone’s The Summerhouse Pool, featuring Lea Simone Allegria.

No NSFW warning here. Allegria wears a red bathing suit throughout, and even then only makes scant appearance in the pool. Not only that, The Summerhouse Pool shows some of the surroundings: the concrete edge; the grass; the green hedge; the white picket fence and trees, house and poolhouse behind it. We see the pool in its environment and alone, with its edge or without, sunlit or partially shaded, empty or invaded by Allegria.

And we see Allegria underwater some, with some bubbles even, and also floating on the surface. We see her out there in the pool, and looking up at us from the pool. She sits on the steps, mostly out of the water. And, really, the series only needs her to provide some movement and humanity: she’s not the subject. The pool at Johnstone’s summerhouse is the subject.

For a single subject photobook, The Summerhouse Pool is pretty much perfect. Shame that it was limited to 100 copies. Bookfinder has no listings at time of writing, BUT at time of writing, SUN seems to have some number of copies remaining, and I’m shocked. Maybe it’s too simple for your average photobook connoisseur. Maybe it’s too tame for Johnstone collectors.* I don’t know, and if you have any interest in photobook possibilities and sequencing, do yourself a favor and jump on it while you have the chance.


Overall, I rate it a solid 4.33 stars.

*His Escape with Heather Maleson, review forthcoming, is one of the sexier photobooks in my collection, not because of the nudity, but because of the suggestion in it, because of the fantasy it somehow shows. It too is a master class in sequencing and all, and unlike The Summerhouse Pool, I have to beg God’s forgiveness for Escape

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