Pools have a special kind of allure. They are the watery sites for play, leisure, romance, respite, submergence, frat party baptisms, Hockney paintings, class markers… The pool in the 1967 film The Graduate serves as a kind of locus upon which the whole film pivots - a site for contemplation. Jay Gatsby of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is found dead in his pool. In the 1968 film The Swimmer (based off the John Cheever short story of the same name), Burt Lancaster plays a good looking middle aged man that tries to map a river of pools across his Connecticut town so that he may swim his way home, a sequential baptism and fruitless journey to regain his moral, financial, and familial standing. Tony Soprano’s pool in The Sopranos shifts as a signifier of dubiously acquired wealth to become the place where his son attempts suicide - a new, more intimate kind of morbid association. Pools are iconic, and can work  - like many bodies of water - as floating signifiers, holding any number of different metaphoric implications. The SVA Pictures Collection’s Pools folder contains some particularly enchanting images. Some highlights: an impossibly crowded public pool, one packed with blow-up toys, one decorated with palm trees, an oasis in the middle of a barren landscape… take a look for yourself!

Bean-shaped outdoor pool in a jungle setting. A marble bust sit on the side.
Large outdoor pool seen from the edge of the pool. Several swimmers and large sun umbrellas in green, red, yellow and blue stripes.
February 1953
Ornately designed classical pool with marble sculptures and columns around it.
Time Magazine August 26, 1957
A woman in a yellow bathing suit prepared to dive into a pool on a cruise ship.
Several people enjoy swimming and sitting by the side of a small outdoor pool which appears to be a part of a large building complex.
National Geographic
A long outdoor pool is populated to the point of crushing crowds both within the water and poolside.
Ornate indoor pool surrounded by large arched windows.
An outdoor pool is surrounded by a large assortment of brightly coloured plastic pool toys and other objects.
Bird's eye view of a few people floating in a large hot tub.
Photograph by Linda Trueller, Italy
Bird's eye view of several people sprawled on orange and yellow pool chairs beside an outdoor pool.
A circular pool in midwestern landscape.
National Geographic