Bodies of Water

This project started when I couldn’t find a wetsuit that would fit my bigger body. Women’s swimming gear seem to not exist past size 16 – or 18 at a stretch, or to accommodate larger chest and hips, and so after many tries I had to resort to getting a men’s one.

As I was chatting to a lady that rented me this – men’s – wetsuit, she shared that they frequently request larger sizes, particularly for women, but they are often told that “fat people don’t swim” by brand executives.

Yes, still, in the year 2024.

When you search Google images for ‘wild swimmers’ your browser is filled with images of thin, young people leaping into water in the most beautiful swim spots. The same goes for magazines, brand social media accounts and clothing websites: larger bodied people are rarely represented outside of specialist brands.

There is still a lot of oppression and stigma surrounding body size, and insidious message that if you’re a certain type of body, you shouldn’t be seen on a beach or at a pool, that you are unhealthy, or that you don’t like to keep active at all.

So, I became curious: what sort of impact this messaging and barriers in getting the gear you need has on fat swimmers? And despite all of this, how does swimming help them?

With this project, I aim to challenge societal norms and expectations surrounding body size. Through a combination of photography and interviews, I am capturing the stories of plus-sized and fat people who have joined wild swimming groups and found it beneficial for their mental and physical health.

All swimmers photographed for this project self-identify as fat or plus-sized, without any judgement on my part. The project initially focused on women, but is now being expanded to include non-binary swimmers as well. Work in progress.

This is an ongoing project. If you’d like to be part of it, please email me on hello [at]