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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 36

A Very Private Pool

A masterpiece—and mystery—in the south of France.
Words by Harriet Fitch Little. Photograph by Romain Laprade. Courtesy of by Villa Noailles.

A masterpiece—and mystery—in the south of France.
Words by Harriet Fitch Little. Photograph by Romain Laprade. Courtesy of by Villa Noailles.

Romain Laprade’s image of a calm, sun-kissed swimming pool brings to mind the saying “still waters run deep”: The photograph is actually the conclusion of a decades-long mystery. In 1976, Magnum photographer Martine Franck took a celebrated black-and-white photograph of a group of women relaxing on the decking of a sculptural pool in southern France. Franck’s image became famous, but the location faded into obscurity.

A few years ago, curators from the nearby Villa Noailles launched a detective mission to find its exact location using satellite imagery. They reasoned, rightly, that it wouldn’t be hard to spot: “It was a huge pool surrounded by white, ” Laprade points out. Laprade was commissioned to photograph the newly located pool in 2017, and he was fortunate enough to meet its owner and creator, the architect Alain Capeilleres. “He was more than 90 years old and very

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six

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