Richard Misrach – On The Beach

Posted by Alex

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.

10 Comments Leave A Comment


Ahmed says:

March 17, 2009 at 2:07 am

absolutely cool photos! it has the special ability to take us away to that particular situation!
now I want to go to the beach! :)


Matthew says:

March 17, 2009 at 10:30 am

Stunning. I think if I had that view and a nice set of lenses, I’d never leave my hotel room. Thankfully I always get cruddy views and only have a 50mm.


mdoane says:

March 18, 2009 at 8:07 am

If you have the chance to see this series in person make sure you go. I saw them in DC and the prints are amazing. Huge size and stunning quality. There’s something about the size of the prints that makes it even more beautiful.


Adam Sjoberg says:

March 18, 2009 at 1:49 pm

so glad you wrote about misrach. i saw an exhibit of his a couple years ago at the frankel gallery in SF. so good. and where are they displayed in new york? i live in NY and am trying to find online where they’re at.