West Leeds: Bramley Baths transformed into photo booth

Underwater photo booth photo by Lizzie Coombes at Bramley Baths - pictured Lola Goddard and Megan Hofman. PIC: Tony Johnson
Underwater photo booth photo by Lizzie Coombes at Bramley Baths - pictured Lola Goddard and Megan Hofman. PIC: Tony Johnson
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The pool at Bramley Baths has been the scene of some creative non-aquatic action in recent months.

And yesterday (May 28) was no different, when it was transformed into a photo booth.

Dozens of families were invited along to have their photos taken in the water by photographer Lizzie Coombes. She is hoping to put together an exhibition of 110 portrait photos to mark the building’s 110th anniversary next year.

And to get a feel for the watery studio, Lizzie decided to invite people along for a half-term swim and shoot session yesterday.

Lizzie, who has already photographed a floating orchestra and held an underwater exhibition at Bramley Baths, said: “This has come out of my love for photography and my love for swimming.

“I did the underwater orchestra photos for the I Love West Leeds festival when I spent 12 hours in and out of the water, and I loved the results that came out of that. I also did the ‘Submerged’ exhibition and all that started me building up this idea.

“Bramley Baths will have its 110th anniversary next year so I would really like to put together 110 portraits between now and then to create an exhibition for the anniversary.

“Today was a bit of a practice to see the best ways to make it work. It’s the start of the process which will see us collecting portraits at the pool.”

The Edwardian Bramley Baths building, which features a pool and gym, is run as a community concern after a year-long battle to save the historic facility from closure.

The Friends of Bramley Baths now run the 1904 Grade II listed building and swimming pool on a 25-year lease.

Since it reopened under the new management, the Baths has been thriving, according to Fran Graham, from the Friends of Bramley Baths group.

The aqua photo-booth is the latest in a series of creative events organised to attract people back through the doors.

Other events have included a floating cinema, with screenings of Jaws and Finding Nemo.

Fran said: “We turned the pool into a playful photographic studio and people dressed up in fancy dress and had their photos taken. We had lots of families turning up. Things have been going really well and we are trying to programme in more kids activities. Half term has been really busy.”

Other activities during half-term include circuit training and Zumba for children. The Friends of Bramley Baths impressed council bosses with their “high quality business plan” and “impressive dedication” to win the right to run the facility. User numbers had plunged in recent years, forcing Leeds City Council to consider closing it completely.

BATHS AND ITS FRIENDS

The Friends of Bramley Baths is a community group comprised of local residents and supported by community organisations BARCA, Bramley Elderly Action and Leeds West Academy, who joined forces to keep Bramley Baths open.

In 2011 Leeds City Council invited expressions of interest in a community asset transfer of Bramley Baths.

It invited the Friends of Bramley Baths to take on a 25 year lease and the handover was successfully completed in December 2012.

Bramley Baths re-opened as a community-led enterprise on January 1, 2013.