Sunday 25 January 2009

Les Baigneuses de Boulogne

An unseasonal trip to the sea in the company of this fine group of females, enjoying the hard-won freedom to immerse themselves in seawater. Unintimidated by the climate of prudery represented by the bathing machines encroaching from behind, they confidently make the most of their day in the sun, presenting their best faces to the camera. The bathing machines could be the advancing army of the guardians of public decency, outraged by this display of immodesty. Travelling westwards to le Touquet, we encounter a group of young, smartly dressed, adolescent males taking the air with a certain swagger at the water’s edge. Another group have taken control of a small boat, grounded on the sand, and stare wistfully in the direction of the breaking waves and the open sea with a hunger for adventure. In the postcard universe, the crashing of the waves is silenced and the sea breezes are stilled, but the colour and light, the surface textures, and the sheer sensation of time and place remain marvellously preserved.

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