Portraits of Awkward Adolescents Posing on Beaches

Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra — who has a major retrospective opening at the Guggenheim later this month — came up with the idea for her fascinating Beach Portraits series after breaking her hip. She had snapped some self-portraits at the pool following her physiotherapy sessions, when she realized something. “I was fascinated by capturing something unconscious and natural in a photograph, something that was miles away from the boring and predictable businessmen I had until then mostly photographed,” she has previously explained. “I was interested in photographing people at moments when they had dropped all pretense of a pose.”

This is also the reason why she tends to focus on younger subjects who, while awkward, are generally less guarded in front of the camera than their adult counterparts, and for the most part, unconcerned with (or perhaps incapable of) projecting a certain image. The vulnerability in the resulting photos, which are shot in front of stark, seaside locations around the world, is simply breathtaking. Click through to check out a selection of intimate, evocative portraits from the series, and if you’re in New York, see her stunning work in person beginning on June 29.


Odessa, Ukraine, August 4, 1993. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York & Paris; © Rineke Dijkstra