Kovalam in Kerala, India, 2016""This for me is a very good illustration of the contradictions around a modern tourist beach, such as Kovalam, one of the most popular beaches in Kerala. The traditional fishing industry is now in decline, with overfishing, but still the locals pull in their nets twice a day. Often they can earn more cash by asking the tourists for cash, than for actually selling their now, rather depleted fish catches. This particularly early morning tourist lies on the beach oblivious to the scene behind her."
Kovalam in Kerala, India, 2016."This for me is a very good illustration of the contradictions around a modern tourist beach, such as Kovalam, one of the most popular beaches in Kerala. The traditional fishing industry is now in decline, with overfishing, but still the locals pull in their nets twice a day. Often they can earn more cash by asking the tourists for cash, than for actually selling their now, rather depleted fish catches. This particularly early morning tourist lies on the beach oblivious to the scene behind her."Martin Parr—Magnum Photos
Kovalam in Kerala, India, 2016""This for me is a very good illustration of the contradictions around a modern tourist beach, such as Kovalam, one of the most popular beaches in Kerala. The traditional fishing industry is now in decline, with overfishing, but still the locals pull in their nets twice a day. Often they can earn more cash by asking the tourists for cash, than for actually selling their now, rather depleted fish catches. This particularly early morning tourist lies on the beach oblivious to the scene behind her."
Hassid and Jewish Bodybuilder, 1980"The man showed up on Riis beach when there still was a nude bay and all the people started gathering around him. A nude man walks up to him and says take my picture with him becuase I am Jewish too!"
Abir, Munir, And Sullman Jaffa, 2002. From Testimony Series."When I made this photo in 2002 it felt like the beach is where the country came to escape the daily turmoil. This remains one of my favorite images I made at the beach because of the unbridled joy these children exude. A day before I made this image, a suicide bomber killed and injured many people. The innocence and rapture here makes me momentarily forget the reality of what happened down the road."
Blayze#2 (Filipino, Chinese, Irish, Spanish), 2012"Hawai'i's varied shores provide an ideal backdrop for my portraits of the Islands' young men, who embody not only the layered identities of this place but also an inclusive vision of masculinity. It's meaningful to return again and again, even to the same beach, to discover that, much like people, the same place is never exactly the same on a different day, let alone a different season or year."
Priscilla, 1969"Priscilla is my favorite photo taken at Jones Beach; Priscilla seems to embody strength and determination and the quality of a timeless image."
02.07.10 #8 from the series Sea/Sky, 2002"I began a series of large-format photographs of the ocean surface, titled 'Ocean Details.’ I was interested in an abstracted view of the sea where I would basically set up the camera and just let the picture take itself. I trekked out to the bluffs of Montauk, NY to photograph year round, in all weather conditions. Inspired by memories and drawings of the sea, I considered my subject matter a theater, a skin, a blank screen on which I could project an array of emotions."
USA. NYC. Coney Island. 1982. Woman on beach pointing at a man near her."The reason is simple—I do long personal essays that are self-assigned."
Man wearing bow tie, 1970."QUOTE."
Kovalam in Kerala, India, 2016."This for me is a very good illustration of the contradictions around a modern tourist be
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Martin Parr—Magnum Photos
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A Day at the Beach: The Photographs That Moved Them Most

Aug 12, 2016

Beach day is more than an activity; it's an event, a summer tradition. From the era of layered Victorian bathing suit to today's bikini and speedo days, the timeless weekend activity continues to entice outdoor lovers to kick off their heels and ditch the suit and tie for some prime sand time. And for photographers, the beach is a captivating place.

"I keep returning to shooting beaches all around the world," the British photographer Martin Parr tells TIME. "I am tantalized by the similarities and differences in how each country regards their beaches. I love the spatial aspect of how a beach works, it has become my favored shooting location, and like a lemming I keep being drawn back to this subject."

Over the years, photographers have returned to the bustling beaches to frame some of the world's most charming human moments: photographer Arlene Gottfried's humor in contradiction at Riis Beach framing a nude body builder with a jew, at Coney Island; Harvey Stein's iconic man in a bow tie nods its head to a disappearing way of life; Parr traveled to India, capturing a quiet woman catching early morning rays, oblivious to the hustle of fishers behind her. Joseph Maida's Hawaiian beaches examines the varied shores of layered identities, while Gillian Laub turns nostalgic to the childlike whimsy of beach play.

As summer reaches its final months, we take a look at the work of these photographers.

Rachel Lowry is a writer and contributor for TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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