Well, it’s high summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means young girls are out playing in the water, on the beach, or in the yard. In some parts of the world they are even doing so (gasp!) partially or fully nude. Others are wearing swimsuits or thin summer outfits. The beauty and innocence of a child frolicking under a blazing summer sun, free of guilt and bodily shame, is a sight we could all use more of, frankly. And so, in honor of those children who are out there enjoying the rays this summer, here is the first in a three-part series featuring little girls doing precisely that, all perfectly captured by an assortment of painters and photographers from around the world. So look at these images and smile, because someday, if the morality thugs and environment polluters continue to have their way, it may be a rare thing to behold.
The first image is in honor of the holiday Americans just celebrated, the Fourth of July. I don’t recall where I obtained this image, and a search of the artist’s name reveals nothing. It may have been mislabeled at the site I got it from; that kind of thing happens a lot on the internet, unfortunately. I also wish it was a wee bit larger, but this will have to suffice. I intended to post this on the Fourth but didn’t get it out in time.
Carol Lauren – (Title Unknown)
The next image is from Indian journalist and photographer Sebin Abraham Jacob, who goes by Sebinaj on DeviantArt. It’s called Rejoice, and I can’t imagine a better title. I love the texture of the stone walkway behind the girl and how nicely it contrasts with her softness. I also love her fancy shoes, which seem almost out of place and slightly too large for her feet.
Sebin Abraham Jacob – Rejoice
Karl Jóhann Jónsson is an Icelandic painter, primarily of portraits. I really like the unique perspective on this little girl, Emilia. There are other paintings of the same girl, whom I presume is his daughter, on his site, so take a look around.
Karl Jóhann Jónsson – Emilía í sundi
Karl Jóhann: Portrett og fleira (official site)
These next two pieces are actually English travel posters from early to mid-20th century. The first is for Burnam-on-Sea, a coastal town in Somerset, England. At first, all I was able to glean from the web on the artist was that his last name is Durmon. It looks to be from about the 1940s. If anyone else can provide more information here, it will be greatly appreciated. Although there is no text provided, the second image is a poster for another English coastal town, Clacton-on-Sea, dating from 1953, with art by Mervyn Scarf. I’ve included these for the express reason that they both demonstrate that it wasn’t that long ago when the English followed the general European trend for little girls’ bathing costumes. As you can see in both examples, the little girls are topless. There are other examples out there showing the same, but these two should suffice.
Alan Durman – Burnham-on-Sea (poster)
Alan Durman (1905-1963) did a number of idyllic pieces that appeared on posters and examples are sold at auction from time to time.
Mervyn Scarf – Clacton-on-Sea (poster) (1953)
This next photograph is by Sally Mann. Although I have a couple of Mann’s books, this image was actually taken from a small compilation volume I have called Love and Desire. That is, of course, Mann’s daughter Jessie striking the pose on what appears to be a boogie board of some sort. I have never seen this image in any other source, so I was quite happy to discover the book had a Mann photo in it.
Sally Mann – Venus Ignored (1992)
Sally Mann (official site)
This image is by the painter Rafael Concilio and dates from 2001. That’s really all I can tell you.
A few of this artist’s paintings can be found here.
Rafael Concilio – A Toy Ship (2001)
Here is a photograph by Oleg Itkin. I do not recall where I pulled this from, probably a Russian photography site. Such sites were a goldmine of beautiful images of children back in the early ’00s, and I discovered a lot of fantastic new photographers this way. This piece reminds me a lot of the work of Jock Sturges in its simplicity.
Oleg Itkin – Vintage
And speaking of Russian photographers, one of the best is Dolphine (a.k.a. d’elf), who mostly shoots images of little girls (and occasionally little boys) doing gymnastics. If you are interested in child gymnastics, you will find more images than you could ever want at Dolphine’s website. Be sure to check the links at the bottom of her page for more beautiful work. Here are two pieces from Dolphine.
Dolphine – Small Pantheon
Dolphine – Summer 2
d’elf (official site)
This next one is somewhat different from the theme of this post, but I quite like it and wanted to include it anyway. It is a painting by Jimmy Lawlor called, appropriately enough, The Height of Summer. Lawlor has several lovely surrealist/fantasy paintings featuring children, so don’t forget to peruse his site!
Jimmy Lawlor – The Height of Summer
Jimmy Lawlor (official site)
Wai Ming is an Asian painter of some renown, noted for his beautiful and sensitive portraits of children, especially girls. Here is a perfect example.
Wai Ming – The Lovely Summer
Wai Ming (official site)
Nikolai Filippov is yet another Russian photographer who tends to focus his camera on the young girl, though his specialty is ballet. This image of a nude boy and girl walking down the beach is all kinds of charming.
There is a large collection (23 pages worth) of his work here. However, the nude images have a warning and one would presumably need to establish an account to view those. A number of images can be found here as well along with some biographical information.
Nikolai Filippov – Game Beside the Sea II (1972)
And now we move on to Russian painters. Anna Lebedevna (not to be confused with Anna Ostroumova-Lebedevna) is a contemporary academic painter, and that’s about all I know of her. She doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online, unfortunately.
Anna Lebedeva – Summer (1999)
Svitlana Galdetska is a contemporary Ukrainian painter who specializes in paintings of her own daughter. This image is one of several lovely ‘girl on beach’ images from her series Space Around Me.
Svitlana Galdetska – My Summer
Svitlana Galdetska (official site)
Contemporary photographer Frank H. Jump mostly focuses on vintage and decaying signs and murals, but here he trains his camera on an adorable little girl at the beach.
Frank H. Jump – Girl on Beach, Ft. Tilden, Queens (2002)
Fading Ad Campaign (official site)
I don’t know the photographer of this next image, but it is a page taken from the magazine Marie Claire Italia. I do know that the adult woman in the image is French actress and model Laetitia Casta.
(Photographer Unknown) – Marie Claire Italia, June, 1995
Stanley Goldstein is a modern painter with a photo-realistic style. There are some beach and other outdoor images at his site that could’ve easily fit here, but I preferred this painting of children frolicking in a water fountain.
Stanley Goldstein – Fountain I (2008)
Stanley Goldstein (official site)
Here’s an unusual photo by Luiz Cavalcante, whose work I have featured here before. This little girl looks like she’s having a blast, doesn’t she?
Luiz Cavalcante – Little Jumping Girl
Our final piece is by Shannon Richardson. I’ve posted this once before, but I want to post it again. Ah, what was better when you were a kid than playing outside while eating ice cream, eh?
Shannon Richardson – Grass Skirts
That’s it for this batch. Stay cool out there, people.
Shannon Richardson (official site)