Bare Beach Babies Pt. 3: The Modern Age

(Last Updated On July 9, 2022)

The last of our Bare Beach Babies three-parter.  We can’t really have a proper discussion of this without including Jock Sturges, and so we’ll begin with him.  Now, there are simply too many images by Sturges that fit this description to include them all here, so I’ll provide a few examples.  Sturges’s modus operandi is to focus his camera on nudist and naturist girls starting when they are very young and following the blossoming of their bodies from prepubescence, through adolescence, and finally to the young women they become.  His photographs, taken with a large-format camera, have been controversial from the get-go, capturing the changing female body in plain but elegant terms.  That anyone would equate Sturges’s work with pornography seems to speak more about the minds of his critics than it does about his photographs.  Like the girls themselves, these images are holistic and stripped bare–stripped of pretentions, semiotic cues, and the language of modern sexuality.  Unless one equates nudity with sexuality across the board (an odd notion to be sure, because it would mean that any image of a naked child is de facto pornography) if there is any eroticism to be found in these pictures, the fault lies clearly with the viewer rather than the pictures themselves.  Perhaps in the end the real “problem” then is that these pictures force us to confront an uncomfortably reality about ourselves.


Jock Sturges – Girls on the Beach, Montalivet, France


Jock Sturges – Fanny, Montalivet, France


Jock Sturges – (I’m not sure about the title, but I do know the girl in the foreground is Misty Dawn.)


Jock Sturges – Iris, Montalivet, France (1991)


Jock Sturges – Fanny, Montalivet, France

And a clear admirer and follower of Sturges:


Hervé Szydlowski – Vetu de nu – 2006, Montalivet (1)


Hervé Szydlowski – Vetu de nu – 2006, Montalivet (2)

A modern Impressionist:


Charles Warren Mundy – Little Girl at the Beach


Holger Frohlich – Am Atlantik


Holger Frohlich – Am Antlatik – Frankreich


Jean Marie Drouet – Bain bleu


Jean Marie Drouet – Bain bleu brassards jaunes


Nils-Johan Norenlind – Title Unknown


Andrew Pashis – Title Unknown


Joseph Sherly Sheppard – Nude Beach


Mastadont – Lady Mary


Paul Roberts – On the Beach


Tsur Pelly – Naked Bedouin Children Bathing in the Red Sea


Sally Mann – Punctus (After the Swim)


Tierney Gearon – Untitled (2000)


Ilse de Wit – Meisje aan zee


Zorgy – Road from the Beach

Wikipedia: Jock Sturges

Amadelio: Jock Sturges interview (archived)


Charles Warren Mundy

Jean Marie Drouet Andrew Pashis

Joseph Sheppard

Paul Roberts Paintings

Wikipedia: Sally Mann

Tierney Gearon

Wikipedia: Tierney Gearon

6 thoughts on “Bare Beach Babies Pt. 3: The Modern Age

  1. When I revisit a post here after not seeing it for a long time, very frequently new ideas occur to me.
    I am sure that I am NOT the only fan of this site who appreciates the beauty of girls and boys alike. Therefore I feel that some of the most beautiful images on the site are those relatively few images of a boy and a girl together.

    On this page, those are the Tierney Gearon picture and the Tsur Pelly picture.
    Another example is the Jean Francois Bauret picture on the post concerning the
    Bauret photo / Koons sculpture matter.

    Are there other people here who feel the way I do about girl-and-boy pictures?

    • P.S. I had intended to also mention some of the pictures on
      the “Playing Doctor: Herbert Rogge et al” post.

  2. re Zorgy’s picture. The tan lines on the older girl are so distinct they seem almost etched. Now that she is leaving the beach she can take the swimsuit off. When I see this picture, I can’t help but think about that Tom and Jerry cartoon where they wear swimsuits on the beach, but are naked the rest of the time. I love this one so much I made a jigsaw puzzle of it on my computer.

  3. About the Tsur Pelly picture of the Bedouin children:

    Notice how customs of appearance vary so much among different cultures.
    The girl’s hair seems to be shorter than the boy’s hair.

    • Frequently I revisit an old post here, and either I notice something in it that I had not previously noticed, or some other idea occurs to me. This comment is in the latter category.
      The Tsur Pelly picture of the Bedouin children has the special charm and beauty of depicting a girl and a boy, happy together. Even though the focus of this site is girls, there must be many visitors to the site who also appreciate the beauty of little boys.
      Another picture in that category is the one by Tierney Gearon found later in this post.

      • Yes, Gearon is on our radar and a full post needs to be done about her. This particular image is a well-known controversial one and Gearon received a lot of flack for it. Being the object of ridicule has a chilling effect and although there is nothing really to object to in Gearon’s work, I do have to fault her for not standing up for other artists who receive similar criticism. When Betsy Schneider was going through this, Gearon was one of many artists who could have stepped up to at least object. I know that Sally Mann and Polixeni Papapetrou did make statements, for example. Also interesting is the fact that artists who are able to get a studio gallery to represent them learn to stay under the radar on topic like this to avoid losing such sponsorship and the financial security it represents. -Ron

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