It’s summer, it’s an Endless Summer if you’re a teenage surfer on John Van Hammersveld’s iconic poster, so lets kick back, or maybe get moving in classic… Baywatch… slo-mo… and look at 5 iconic images of the Beach.
Charles Atlas advert featuring “Mac”
1. Charles Atlas: Masculinity Redeemed At The Beach 


It’s hard to imagine the scale of the impact of the Charles Atlas cartoon adverts. The cartoons which were the idea of ad man Charles Roman (could he have any other name?) were marketing gold. They were more than ads in boys’ comics, they were defining archetypes of humiliation and redemption, as the character of “Mac” is bullied on the beach for his weakness, laughed at by his girlfriend, but after a Charles Atlas program, returns to kick-ass. Getting “sand kicked in your face” entered the lexicon. Perhaps only because it is a beach story it is ultimately a tale of sunny redemption.  One can imagine darker scenarios were the humiliated psyche of “Mac” traumatized by the experience takes revenge on the world as a Teen Movie serial killer.

John Van Hamersveld
2. The Endless Summer: The Beach As A Simple Graphic 


The man who started the beach myth of heroic escape. Designer and Illustrator John Van Hamersveld’s poster for a low budget 1960s surf movie The Endless Summer. The movie became a smash, the poster became an icon of the decade, and Van Hamersveld would go on to create sleeve art for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (photography by Robert Frank). Van Hamersveld’s clash of yellow and orange defines saturated beach color, the beach as psychedelic, elemental nature. Buy the classic poster here


Beach Culture Issue 4: David Carson’s nod to a classic
3. Beach Culture: No One Kicks Sand In My Typeface 


What is it about designers, the beach and surfing? David Carson, “Father of Grunge”, rode a wave of creativity on six issues of Beach Culture magazine. No one would ever kick sand in his typeface again.

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4. Baywatch: The Beach As Slo-Mo Torso 


Baywatch redefined Beach culture. Once it was about lazing around, soaking up the rays, but David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson and Erika Eleniak gave married fast-action drama with slow-motion running. The Beach became a slo-mo tableau of bronzed muscular bodies. As Joey and Chandler, scholars of the Beach drama, once remarked: Joey: “I love when they run..” Chandler:” I know, they should spend the whole show running…run,run,…”

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The Beach Directed by Danny Boyle
5. The Beach: The End Of Paradise Accompanied By Moby 


Leonardo Di Caprio in Danny Boyle’s movie The Beach brings Beach culture full circle. The mythic innocence of Beach culture, that began with Van Hamersveld’s defining graphic image dissolves into nightmare. This is no post-card beach.




And for more beach images why not check out our beach stock photos?


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