• A photo from Laid Bare by Andrew Goldie. (Andrew Goldie)Source: Andrew Goldie
"Most of the people who go to the beach don't necessarily fit into that bronzed Aussie stereotype. It's very multicultural these days."
Alyssa Braithwaite

4 Apr 2017 - 2:57 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2017 - 4:08 PM

The beach has long been an iconic symbol of Australian culture and the Aussie way of life.

But for beach-based Sydney photographer Andrew Goldie, the stereotype of the bronzed, muscular, Anglo-Saxon as typified by Max Dupain's 1937 photo Sunbaker needed updating.

"Looking back on the images that have been built up, and that famous Australian shot, it's all about that bronzed Aussie - fit bodies and good-looking people. But really, most of the people who go to the beach don't necessarily fit into that stereotype," Goldie tells SBS.

"It's very multicultural these days."

Goldie spent some of the hottest weekends of summer down on the beach at Bondi capturing everyday Australians enjoying the sun, surf and sand.

The resulting collection of images is titled Laid Bare, and is part of the Head On Photo Festival 2017, taking place in Sydney throughout May.

"It is a reinterpretation of the cultural Australian beachgoing look and trying to reinterpret that in a modern way that is more inclusive, I guess," he says.

"I was trying to find the beauty in normal, everyday people and capture some golden moment on the beach." 

Goldie took lights onto the sand and combined artificial light with the sunset. 

The subjects were photographed in their own clothes, posing as themselves. Goldie says about 75 per cent of the people he approached were happy to be photographed for the series.

He says he looked for "interesting, worthy" people, but admits his selection isn't entirely representative of the make-up of the average beach crowd.

"I wanted to really get a broad cultural demographic in the photos, and I probably cherry picked that a little bit," he says.

"So in a way, it's my take on what I'd like modern Australia to be like. I like multiculturalism, I like people from different cultures, and I would like to get to know them.

"I'd like people to see the beauty in that, and not to want everyone to conform - that's what I'd like people to take away from the exhibition." 

His favourite photo of the exhibition shows two girls in colourful dresses standing together.  

"I really like the look in their faces - they seem to have a connection between them, but the girl in the yellow dress is looking into the camera in a very nice way. It's a real connection," Goldie says.

"For me, the photos are all about capturing a moment, a heightened moment." 

The Head On Photo Festival is one of the world's largest and most prestigious photo festivals, and it runs from 5-28 May.

This year, the festival includes the work of more than 600 photograpers from more than 10 countries.

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