Taking the Plunge – exhibition review

Time Off – 7 January 2008

From kite-flying in spring and summer picnics on the top of Parliament Hill, to autumnal rambles and wintry dips in the lido, Hampstead Heath is a year-round refuge for nature-starved city slickers. “Taking the Plunge”, a new exhibition of photographs by Ruth Corney, captures the life of the Heath through the seasons and is on display at nearby Lauderdale House.

The title refers to Corney’sfocus on the 791-acre siteswatering holes at the art deco lido and the traditionally segregated ladies, mens and mixed ponds. Among the details captured, the artist picks out the architecture and wonderful reflective qualities of the water at the lido, and the unique stillness of the ladies bathing ponds, from among the 50 or so images.

A shot of a subdued, snow-dusted lido is also particularly striking, while a summer downpour on the women’s swimming corner, and the Christmas Day race at the mens pond illustrate the all-weather commitment of Hampstead Heath swimming fans.

“Women & Health wish to extend their deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Ruth Corney for her generous donation of £855.00 to the Housebound Scheme. The money that Ruth raised has gone towards subsidising 70 home visits, where isolated women in the community will be visited by a practitioner and given treatments in their home. The receipt of this money will enable Women & Health to expand this service by 40%. We would also like to thank Metro Imaging for their contribution.”

Claire Floyd (Centre manager, Women & Health)