Summer Memories

Summer Lovin’ also features work by Julie Blackmon (b. 1966). In Flatboat (2022), from the series Homegrown, children gather around a platform in the centre of a picturesque lake. Balanced on a box, a girl stands tall in the centre of the frame and gazes up at the clear sky. In an interview with KCUR 89.3, Blackmon explains that her photograph was inspired by a piece from American painter George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846). The resemblance is immediately noticeable. In the painting, a group of men watch a figure dance on a box in the middle of a near-identical platform, on a similar body of water. These comparisons reveal the careful staging that goes into making scenes that look effortless and carefree. As i-D’s Emma Russell describes, Blackmon’s photography only seems spontaneous. In reality, it is “meticulously planned, thought out and orchestrated”. Thin Mints is from the same series, showing a band of youngsters walk in single file across the road – reminiscent of The Beatles’ Abbey Road cover. In Stock Tank, five children swim inside a container usually used as a drinking place for cattle and horses. Cheeky, joyful yet bittersweet, these images present summer as a backdrop for growing up.

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