It might only be the first days of summer (just) but that doesn’t mean we’re not dreaming of hazy, hot days spent in far-flung places. Australian photographer Akila Berjaoui is providing a dreamy visual guide to exactly that with her latest photo book, Last Days of Summer.
No stranger to the photography scene, Akila has been snapping sunshine, sea, surf and scantily-clad bodies for a while now. Inspired by the likes of Juergen Teller and devoted to analogue cameras, her photographs hark back to the 1970’s - think raw, provocative pictures of tanned bodies and palm printed parasols. For this offering, Akila travelled through her hometown of Sydney and to the likes of Italy, France, Brazil and more.
Her subjects are often women, captured in a way that avoids being sleazy (most are beach-side and barely-clothed) but instead sexy, fresh and void of any hint of male gaze. Although that’s not to say men don’t make an appearance - one page features a gaggle of tanned bodies striding through the surf in speedos…
Last Days of Summer will probably make you wish you that a) you were on holiday or b) you lived Akila’s life of travel and tanned torsos. But in a world of retouching and razor sharp images, there’s much to be said for her unposed subjects and their realistic shapes and sizes. For us, the images demonstrate the feeling of total freedom that a holiday brings. Whether it’s a woman crouching topless on a boat, open linen shirt flapping in the wind, or hoards of topless bathers perched on the rocks, they all remind us of heady summer breaks.
Akila’s Instagram is equally as salivating. Featuring snippets from her book and personal snapshots with friends, the photos all have one thing in common - eternal sunshine. From sand-speckled thighs to tan lines, Akila’s images tell a story of fun and frivolity in some seriously beautiful places (not to mention featuring some seriously beautiful people). Whilst we begin to make our summer plans, books like Akila’s are most certainly getting us in the mood. And if you’re yet to plan that getaway, indulge in a little travel inspiration with this timeless photo diary.
Words: Lucy Vincent
Images: Akila Berjaoui