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The Water Rats

The freezing, moody waters of London’s Hampstead ponds bring together a diverse and fascinating group of Londoners, who find companionship and joy together during the Covid 19 lockdown. What is it about this group that makes it so special? Young, old, men, women, many Jewish, a Palestinian and a recovering addict discover connections with one another that verge on the spiritual. “In the water it doesn’t matter what your views are.” South African-born Jillian Edelstein, who photographed the swimmers, has won several international photography awards. Although London-based, her work has included several projects in South Africa. The Water Rats was a very personal project, as Edelstein was one of the swimmers. As her projects began to slow down during the Covid 19 lockdown, Jillian said “It seemed timely to look at togetherness at a time of separation”.

Awards: Sold Out Run at London Lexi Cinema, Impact Doc Awards: Merit Awards for Originality/Creativity and for Documentary Feature


Jillian Edelstein


Jillian Edelstein, Greig Coetzee


Jillian Edelstein


Greig Coetzee


Interviewer: Andy Durbach – Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law and Justice, UNSW Sydney
Interviewee: Jillian Edelstein – Photographer Hon FRPS, Documentary film maker

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