Sketch in the Sand
A poem by Oliverio Girondo
The morning strolls along the beach dusted with sun.
Floating rubber heads.
Tossing the bodies of the bathers, the waves spread their shavings along the sawdust beach.
Everything is blue and gold!
The shade of the cabanas. The eyes of girls who inject themselves with novels and horizons. My joy, in rubber-soled shoes, that makes me bounce along the sand. For eighty cents, photographers sell the bodies of the bathing women.
There are kiosks that exploit the drama of the coast. Moody servant girls. Irascible soda water, with a hint of brine. Rocks with the seaweed breast of a sailor and the painted heart of a fencer. Flocks of seagulls that mimic the weary flight of a scrap of paper.
And above all, the sea!
The sea! Rhythm of digression. The sea! with its spittle and its epilepsy.
The sea! . . . until you scream
like at the circus.
See more on the Beach
A poem by Anne Sexton
A shoe with legs,
a stone dropped from heaven,
he does his mournful work alone,
he is the old prospector for golf,
with secret dreams of God-heads and fish heads.
Until suddenly a cradle fastens round him
and his is trapped as the U.S.A. sleeps.
Somewhere far off a woman lights a cigarette;
somewhere far off a car goes over a bridge;
somewhere far off a bank is held up.
This is the world the lobster knows not of.
He is the old hunting dog of the sea
who in the morning will rise from it
and be undrowned
and they will take his perfect green body
and paint it red.
Here are some breathtaking photographs of the sea/beaches by two highly influential photographers: Richard Misrach and Massimo Vitali. Immerse yourself in the fantastic shades of turquoise.
In his series On the Beach, Californian photographer Richard Misrach studies human interaction and isolation through aerial photographs (taken from hotel balconies) of beaches in Hawaii. Misrach says, “I always thought about it as being a god’s-eye view, looking down and seeing these amazing human interactions.”
Italian photographer Massimo Vitali has been documenting crowds since 1994, studying how and where people gather. Nature vs colonisation. These photographs are taken in Greece and Brazil. “Upon these swaths of water, sand, and sky are people parked and splayed, inactive, passive, disinterested, as neutral as grains of sand in an hourglass or the dots on a box of dominoes spilled out of their box onto a blanket… [Massimo Vitali] illuminates the apotheosis of the Herd” (What the Butler Saw)
“I have tried to avoid behaviour that is too focused on everyone doing the same thing. e.g a football stadium, where everyone is looking and reacting in the same way. I focus on groups of people, but I try to photograph them at times when they are not doing the same thing, in situations where they are free to maintain their own personality and individuality.” From an interview with Massimo Vitali
“I have a preference for introverted people because I feel an affinity with them and therefore I can look at them longer than I do at exuberant people, who are very much focused on their surroundings. I like a particular kind of face, very classical and therefore timeless – the girl in the green swim suit in Kolobrzeg, for example. It’s about a particular kind of beauty that other people might find ugly, but it’s a kind of ugliness that I find beautiful.”
(Quoted in Rineke Dijkstra 1997, [p.38].)
Four beautiful photographs to sum up one beautiful weekend:
Just finished reading Archipelago by Trinidadian writer Monique Roffey. One of those great books that gives you the itchy feet! Now I want to conquer not only land, but also sea. I also learned about a phenomenon I never knew existed, the “moonbow”, or lunar rainbow:
“The moon is high in the sky; there is the disappearing squall, and between the squall and the boat — a perfect hoop. Just like a rainbow, except the seven shades of colour are shades of grey and gauzy light, as though it is a rainbow in negative. A wide delicate arc stretches across the night, each end finishing in the sea…A rainbow before it has dressed itself.”
Here’s a beautiful painting by Trini/Scottish/Canadian artist Peter Doig. I’d like to be in that boat right now.