Francine Fleischer shows the once creepy sinkhole ceremonial pool, now repurposed for much more recreational pursuits in a series called Swim
Simply called Swim, NY-based Francine Fleischer‘s photographs of people frolicking in a swimming hole truly fascinates. The collection features multiple images shot at a cenote or sinkhole turned into a ceremonial underground pool found in Mexico. Mayans once used the waters of this ancient sinkhole for human sacrifice offerings to Chac, the rain god. Of course those days are long gone. Nowadays, people who visit the Yucatán Peninsula simply take a dip in this 130-foot-deep pool as most of them make their way to Chichén Itzá, the UNESCO World Heritage Site nearby.
Fleischer‘s photographs show lots of assorted people of all shapes and sizes, not to mention different nationalities, sharing in a fun swim in the dark waters of what is these days a leisure local swimming hole. “I’ve been returning to this spot to photograph the ever-changing cast of characters in this immortal pool,” says Fleischer of her series. “The dark waters are deep below the earth’s surface and lit from above by a hole in the ground revealing sky and sunlight…Looking down on the swimmers in these inky waters, is a bit like looking down the rabbit hole into another world.” There is indeed another otherworldly character to the place, as if it were a giant porthole leading to inner earth. Fiction writers could easily put a spin to this place as a gateway to worlds yet to be discovered deep beneath us.
The waters take on an unusual quality, looking a bit odd in its dark murky quality. The people also look more like bathing individuals seeking cures akin to those in medicinal springs. The waters look exceptionally clear, almost crystal-like in some images. Only the extreme depth gives it that somewhat dark hue. However it does not take much imagination to see these waters in the context of ancient sacrificial rites, which brings a whole different vibe to the place. A rather unsettling feeling knowing that people were once offered here to appease tribal gods.