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Madeleine Waller: East London Swimmers

"I'm a countryside girl, I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Devon and always swam in the sea. Being in London can be very intense. Swimming in winter in an outdoor pool feels like reconnecting with nature."

"No-one taught me how to swim, I just watched other people and got on with it. I have a few hours off between shifts of driving the bus and I find swimming helps me relax. The thing about driving in London is that no one seems to care. Swimming is about taking pride in yourself. You have to have discipline."

"I got into swimming after getting caught up in the tsunami in Thailand. I was on a family holiday when the wave came in and I managed to grab my son from his pram and leg it up a hill. I looked back and saw the pram disappear. When I returned home I had a fear of open water so I entered a race in Lake Windermere and my passion for long distance swimming was born."

Madeleine Waller's work focuses on identity and examines the complex relationships between humans and the environments we inhabit. She specialises in intimate natural portraits and aims to draw out the in-depth and noteworthy of everyday life.

She has worked for a range of editorial, commercial and private clients and her work has been published and exhibited in many places, including The V&A Museum of Childhood, The National Portrait Gallery, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, Portrait of Britain, Portrait of Humanity, The Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph.

She has several books of portraits published including East London Swimmers by Hoxton Mini Press, Sister Brother by The Wind in the Trees and Portraits, by the Swedenborg Society.

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