Monday, July 27, 2009

Common Goods: Dutch Beach

I wax ecstatic about The Commons to you all the time, but really, there are few things I find as wonderful about our techy time as the ability to flip through the collective pictorial history of the world on Flickr. It still makes my inner geek go gaga. There's so much to explore. Take for instance the results of a random search of the words "Dutch" and "beach" (the rain was inducing a feeling of nostalgia for sunshine, and anything Dutch is cool):

These photos are from the Spaarnestad and Nationaal Archeif photostream. They are institutions that work together to preserve, catalog, and make public a vast archive of mostly Dutch documentary photos. The shots above are all various beach scenes from their collection. It is amazing to see the variation of dress that people wore to visit the sea over time. Something as simple as dipping the body in ocean water, an activity that has been done since the beginning of time, takes on so many different codes of dress. From the older "bathing costumes" that seem so impractical and so burdensome, to the man's high-waisted swim trunks, and even the nun's religious garb, dressing for the beach has a more complex history than one would think. But, the activity has always been the same. Sometimes I like to imagine the things that would feel absolutely the same even if I were to time travel, and the beach is one of them. There would still be sand between your toes, water lapping at your ankles, and sun shining down on you, whether you were dressed in a full cover bathing outfit in another century, or a tiny bikini. Some things never change, others always do.

Click here to see the rest of the Spaarnestad/ Nationaal Archief photo stream.

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