brad walls photographer

Cool Perspective

Brad Walls’ stunning drone photographs capture the beautiful shapes and contours of swimming pools from above.

Steven Biller Arts & Entertainment, Current PSL

brad walls photographer

Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra, Palm Springs.

the valley


The simple sight of a placid, sky-blue swimming pool, flanked on its deck by brightly colored towels and parasols, can trigger any number of physiological changes in your body and transport you to a more tranquil state of mind. You exhale, your muscles relax, and you begin to feel like you’re luxuriating at a tropical resort.

Brad Walls, an aerial photographer from Sydney, Australia, wants this feeling to last forever. So, he began shooting pools of all shapes and sizes to recall the bliss that filled many of his holiday getaways. In the process, he found unexpected beauty in his eye-catching minimalist compositions. Before he knew it, he was creating a book — Pools From Above (Smith Street Books, 2022).

“The series emphasizes the pools’ less-appreciated elements that I fell in love with — their curves, sharp edges, diverse blue hues, and the way elongated shadows play against their surfaces,” he explains in the introduction. “This is all lost without an alternate viewpoint.”

That viewpoint, as the title suggests, is from above: Walls used Google Earth to scout his subjects and a drone to frame and shoot them.


Le Chacuel, Yucca Valley.

“As much as I’m drawn to their visual features,” he continues, “I’ve come to learn that pools have distinct personalities — some evoking a sense of tranquility, others a more solemn feeling. Pools, often appreciated merely as architectural objects, retain an innate ability to trigger involuntary memories. For me, they can evoke the smell of my favorite food, or resurrect memories of my holidays.”

Walls was initially inspired by his travels throughout Southeast Asia and Australia, but it wasn’t until reading Splash: The Art of the Swimming Pool, by Annie Kelly, that he committed himself to photographing Pools From Above.

“As I turned each page of Kelly’s book, a wave of nostalgia washed over me, taking me back to summer days swimming in my childhood pool. Paying homage to Kelly, I chose to explicitly experiment with negative space, compositional balance, leading lines, and symmetry.”

Patchwork, Palm Springs.

Walls, who photographed the series in four countries over three years, became drawn to unusually shaped pools and keen to crop views to achieve a certain visual effect.

In his other series of photographs, Walls has captured aerial views of synchronized swimmers in formation and runners casting long shadows on a track, as well as dancers with the English National Ballet and New York City Ballet.

Walls says he’ll return to Palm Springs, and other destinations, to deepen the swimming pool series and explore other potential bodies of work. Next time you’re at the pool, remember to look up — and smile!

• READ NEXT: Palm Springs Photographer Gary Gruber Sees Something Amazing in His Own Backyard.