Patrik Giardino Jumps In with Nike Swim
Patrik Giardino comes from a long line of rescue divers, so when he was a kid he always thought he would end up in that career. But life had a different plan for him. He picked up a camera along the way and started shooting, but always wanted to see if he could combine his original love of the water with his new love of photography. When he started, underwater photography was unruly and expensive so he didn’t get to do it very often, until a big call came about a decade ago. “One day Nike Swim called me, 10 years ago or something, to see if I could do some work for them and I did one job and since then I’ve done tons after that,” says Patrik. “It just opened up a different world.” Since that shoot he’s continued to shoot for Nike, as well as a host of other brands like adidas, New Balance, Vitamin Water and many others, always coming back to his love of water. In fact, this month he’s back with Nike Swim again in a campaign that highlights competitive swimmers.
“Water does its own thing when you shoot,” Patrik explains. “It’s like shooting smoke. That’s what I like about it: it’s hard to control.” In front of the camera, whether he’s under the water or using water on land, the natural movement of the water has its own life. Its unpredictability adds a whole new element that could not be pasted on top of whatever he’s working on; it’s totally wild and impossible to fake. It’s almost improvisational, almost intentionally random. “It’s like art: you never know what you’re going to get. When you throw paint on the wall, it drips in all different kinds of directions,” he explains.
Having the unique set of skills that Patrik has permits him to create incredible campaigns, like the latest with Nike Swim, with some of the best athletes in the world. Because of the wily nature of water, it’s always changing but Patrik finds that when everything else is in chaos the athletes he works with hold stillness. “Around an athlete it’s actually very calm. It’s funny how the chaos of underwater… it’s like a still life feel around it,” says Patrik. This unique environment allows Patrik to show us aspects of human experience that we wouldn’t get to see otherwise. It’s like peering into a totally different world.