The above are part of Richard Misrach’s On The Beach, a series of large scale (six by ten feet) photographs of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii. You can pick still pick up the book (though it looks like it’s become quite expensive), or if you find yourself on the East Coast, you can see the exhibition in person. It was recently on display the National Gallery and is scheduled to be in Atlanta until August of this year. I highly recommend seeing these in person; they are absolutely massive and are truly awe-inspiring viewed full size.
The last image is my favorite photograph of all time. When I first saw it, it affected me like no photograph ever had. I was left speechless, and am still not able to really explain what it is I find so powerful about it. It’s hard to tell on screen, but the little dot in the water is two people embracing. I like that you can’t see the shore; for all we know, they could be floating out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, all of the photographs were taken out of Misrach’s hotel room window, so they can’t be too far out there, but it’s easy to forget when all shoreline indicators are absent. Perhaps it’s this sense of remoteness and potential danger, combined with the serenity of the overall scene, that gets to me. I feel worried and calm at the same time. I would almost fly to Atlanta just to see it again; it’s like a drug.