On 8th March 2020 we filmed the gathering of over 350 women at Portobello in Edinburgh for the International Womens’ Day Swimrise event. International Womens Day has its origins back in the early 20th century in the US & Russia, but really became an established global event in 1977. However, a trend which seems to have become more and more common these days is the connection between cold water swimming and the celebrations of women, or rather celebrating each other and the bonds between them. I don’t know why this is specifically, and perhaps you need to go and ready Taking the Plunge by Anna Deacon & Vicky Allan to find out, but this year that connection was on a vast scale.
Having filmed some swimming events a few times at Portobello these past 6 months, firstly filming for Adam Towler’s social media advert, then at the Dip for Oz which he organised and then again for the final swim of Gilly McArthur’s charity month of cold swims, it was no surprise that I found myself wading about in my boxers in thigh deep freezing water once again.
On this occasion, I was invited along by Anna to film the Portobello leg of the Swimrise, a sunrise dip for women to take part in a huge, collective show of solidarity and community. Organised by Anna, Vicky and Danni of Chachi Power Project, last year they had one swim, in Granton, with about 60 participants. This year there were around 80 connected swims worldwide, with the Portobello one attracting around 350 women. So many in fact that no lens I had, and barely even the drone lens of Chris McIntyre, could fit them all in one frame.
This was almost exclusively filmed on the 70-200mm 2.8 lens (except the timelapse and one wide shot) just because the pace of it all happening, and scale, and desire to get a range of frames, meant that anything else was impractical.