Best Photo Locations — The Forgotten Spots [Swimming Pools]


© Jonathan Haeber | Catskills, NY

If you’re an on-location photographer or filmmaker, then you know how much value a great location can add to the shoot. I like to find and feature supercool locations around the world. Stuff I discover, stuff that others send me, places I’d love to shoot. If the location makes you scratch your chin, laugh aloud or the hair on your arms stands up… it might be a good location to shoot something original. Keep your knees bent and be ready – because these opportunities are ALL over. No matter where you live. You just have to be looking.

Case-in-point, these photos of abandoned swimming pools. Once a place full of people laughing and playing, abandoned pools have an eery, haunted quality. A story is formed through the ornate tiling, ironwork, balconies, and staircases. Through time these old recreational facilities are reclaimed by the hands of graffiti artists and the ever powerful force of nature. This is urban decay at its most photogenic. Some look straight out of Dog Town and Z-Boys – ready for Tony Alva to shred. Others look like a great place to shoot a horror flick. Check out the images below.

These pool images led me to discover photographer, J Bennett Fitts, who traveled 20,000 miles around the USA to photograph barren pools attached to deserted hotels in beautiful locations.  Check out Fitts’ desolate pools here. These structures present an interesting look at American history.  The wasted hotel pools reveal a quiet demise.  They reveal a fundamental change in our mode of migration. These hotels were the nighttime safe-havens when we traveled mostly by car over long distances. These old pitstops were necessary and profitable.  My million + miles on United (they gave me 10 free drink tickets for that achievement. Wow.) are proof that the blue highways are not quite as traveled as they once were.  Road trips are more nostalgic than necessary and these ghost hotels are the result. There’s a rich story of Americana in these photos. The past, the future, transportation, technology, family — all fodder for photos.

Sometimes you have to go looking a bit. And that can be the fun. Try jumping into the deep end of a forgotten spot. Figuratively, of course.


© Cari Ann Wayman | Two Guns, Arizona


© Troy Paiva | San Jose, CA


Thomas Hawk | San Francisco, CA


© Saaty Photography | Northern Arizona


© Phill D | Harpurhey Swimming Baths, Manchester


© Laura H | Govanhill Baths, Glasgow


© Julian Ratel | Isere, Rhone-Alpes, France


© hkvam | Eyjafjörður, Iceland


© Corman Phelan | Dun Laoghaire


© Cari Ann Wayman | Chicago, Illinois


© Troy Paiva | North Shore Marina, the Salton Sea

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Sam says:

Its sad for a pool professional to see swimming pools in such condition.

Cool swimming pool photos you got here.

pools says:

We can never deny the fact that most us really loves to go to beaches and pools with families to be relax and enjoy the sunset. For those families who wants to have a vacation that is worth it , I’m encouraging you all to visit an Island called Camiguin in the southern part of the Philippines.

Click to know more about the pools and beaches of the island that you will surely love.

Cool places, I had also expected the Chernobyl swimming pool (although that’s of course a very well known one and therefor less special :) )

fevi says:

pools really changes from time to time =)

Myo says:

These are some exquisite shots of disused pools. I particularly like the pool in Arizona, I think it would be great for skateboarding. The Eyjafjörðu one also looks great as it would be amazing to swim surrounded by a great landscape, looks very cold though.

Jeremy says:

These images remind me of of an article I read a few days ago about urban explorers in Toronto and I have to say that their activity immediately caught my attention. Even though I never visited such places in order to take photos it really seems very exciting to me now and as an amateur photographer I have to admit the pictures are really very impressive with a particular atmosphere I’d like to experience.

faisal says:

Why empty pools make more attractive a photo opportunity?

AdventureRob says:

Great locations certainly make taking a good photo easier. I live in Japan and there is some very atmospheric abandoned places outside of the big cities. The latest Bond film featured the villain living on an abandoned island here.

I wonder how research goes into finding the locations though. People often won’t want to spoil them so keep a lot secret from when I looked into abandoned places before.

Julia Agnes says:

WOW! awesome photos!

nice. there’s something about pools that evokes more from such images than the ruin porn often associated with abandoned structures.

anyway, it would be great if you’d link to the photographers you used pictures from – I’d love to check some of them out, and a direct link would be so much nicer than having to google them. and nothing says ‘thanks for letting me use your image in my hugely popular blog’ better than a link back! well, maybe cash does, but I wouldn’t go that far :)

Ashley G says:

These feel like lost and forgotten dreams. Great post, great photos.

Heather says:

These are beautiful, and what an original idea! I got to your site through Chase Jarvis’ G+ post. Do you happen to know if that Manchester pool was used for some of the scenes in the BBC series Sherlock? I think I recognize it from the show!

yogi says:

Ya really nice picx ;)

Jon says:

Much better way to post pictures than the slideshow!!! Thank you!!! Love the photo sets, keep em coming!

CSA says:

Your best photo locations suggestions are awesome. Thanks for the latest one. Sounds cool but not my type of thing. :)

That last pool from the Salton Sea isn’t there anymore- by the way.

200 page BMX book featuring photos and stories about searching for 100 empty swimming pools that I published with producer Dean Dickinson.

sherri says:

these are so sad. i love beautiful swimming pools. some really good photography.

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