Life’s a Beach: Vintage Summertime Photography

Life’s a Beach: Vintage Summertime Photography

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
– Sam Keen

 Summertime has long been the season of fun and relaxation. Driven by the heat to wear fewer clothes and retreat to the sea (or nearest body of water), people find time to read, frolic and find romance.

As this most beloved of seasons arrives, we take a look at our wonderful vintage photography of beach life.

 

Victorians/Edwardians by the Sea

The Victorians can never be accused of being under-dressed in any situation, especially when on the beach. Enjoy these images of Victorians enjoying summertime by the sea.

Family in the sea baths, ca. 1910 - Antoine's Autochrome. / Photo © Selva / Bridgeman Images
Family in the sea baths, ca. 1910 – Antoine’s Autochrome. / Photo © Selva

 

Holiday Romance

Summer is the season for romance.Take a look at our selection of love-struck couples on the beach.

Couple Walking in the Water at Coney Island, New York City, Untitled 46, c.1953-64 (b/w photo), Herz, Nat (1920-64) / Private Collection / Photo © Barbara Singer
Couple Walking in the Water at Coney Island, New York City, Untitled 46, c.1953-64 (b/w photo), Nat Herz, (1920-64) / Private Collection / Photo © Barbara Singer

 

Beach Fashion

Looking good on the beach has always been a major concern throughout the decades. Hems have been progressively getting higher since the modest beach dresses of Victorian times, The group of Victorian gentlemen below were definitely ahead of their time (and our time). Take a look at our vintage beach fashion photographs.

Brighton Swimming Club, West Sussex, England. c1863 (photo) / Brighton, UK / Prismatic Pictures / Bridgeman Images
Brighton Swimming Club, West Sussex, England. c1863 (photo) / Brighton, UK / Prismatic Pictures

 

The Crowded Beach

If you build it they will come, but if the sun comes out people will go to the beach instead, and in very large numbers.

Check out these pictures of insanely crowded beaches.

Every seat was taken at Hastings, and plenty had to stand. But they didn't mind that one little bit! August 1960 (b/w photo) / Hastings, East Sussex, UK / © Mirrorpix
Every seat was taken at Hastings, and plenty had to stand. But they didn’t mind that one little bit! August 1960 (b/w photo) / Hastings, East Sussex, UK / © Mirrorpix

 

Beach Activities

Some people are content with just sunbathing and reading on the beach, some need to come up with inventive ways to keep themselves occupied. Check out this selection of fun beach time activities.

Four Women Playing Mah-Jong in Water at Bathing Beach, Washington DC, USA, 1924 (b/w photo), American Photographer, (20th century) / Circa Images
Four Women Playing Mah-Jong in Water at Bathing Beach, Washington DC, USA, 1924 (b/w photo), American Photographer, (20th century) / Circa Images

 

British Seaside

The British seaside has a particular atmosphere of its very own, faded glory combined with extreme optimism. The sun doesn’t come out that often in the UK but that doesn’t stop people from braving the sand and the sea. Get a flavour of the British seaside with this selection of images.

Fortune teller, Blackpool promenade, Lancashire (photo), by Alan le Garsmeur
Fortune teller, Blackpool promenade, Lancashire (photo), by Alan le Garsmeur

 

Coney Island

Some called it “Heaven at the end of a subway ride.” Others called it “Sodom by the Sea.” Coney Island in Brooklyn New York is an iconic seaside resort, full of character.

Coney Island, New York, 1964 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Coney Island, New York, 1964 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

 

Beauty Contests

Back in the days before political correctness, beauty contests were all the rage, especially during the summer months. Take a look at these vintage beauties from the archive.

Beefcake Contest, at the Daily Mirror Week in Blackpool, August 1958 (b/w photo) / Blackpool, Lancashire, UK / © Mirrorpix
Beefcake Contest, at the Daily Mirror Week in Blackpool, August 1958 (b/w photo) / Blackpool, Lancashire, UK / © Mirrorpix

 

Surfing

Why surfing? Because surfing is cool. Especially when you can do it while standing on your head. Enjoy our super cool selection of vintage surfer images.

Surfers at Waikiki Beach (b/w photo), Hawaiian Photographer, (20th Century) / Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art
Surfers at Waikiki Beach (b/w photo), Hawaiian Photographer, (20th Century) / Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art

 

Families, children, sandcastles and ice cream

Crying babies, moody teenagers, inclement weather – the family holiday can produce a rollercoaster of emotions in all participants. Yes, they can be stressful but they are also joyous. Enjoy our selection of joyous family holidays on the beach.

Three young girls sitting on the beach enjoying an ice lolly, 26th June 1979 (b/w photo) / © Mirrorpix
Three young girls sitting on the beach enjoying an ice lolly, 26th June 1979 (b/w photo) / © Mirrorpix

One Comment

  1. Christophe von Hohenberg

    Beautiful !

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