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In a society so fixated on appearance and a tendency to hide imperfections, it’s a common paradox that most people are willing to bare all on the beach. In his recent series Comfort Zone, photographer Tadao Cern explores this contradictory behavior as he captures candid, unsuspecting sunbathers, partially exposed, as they lie asleep on the beach.

Unaware their beach habits are being photographed, Cern’s subjects lie with arms and legs spread, scantily clad, in tiny bathing suits and speedos. Their faces hidden from the sun and the camera lens that hovers overhead. A sneaky move? Some may think so, but a beach is just as public as the street or the sidewalk. In any other circumstance, a partially naked human asleep in a public place would be deemed socially unacceptable. Yet, maybe it’s the sun, the sand, and because everyone else is doing it, that makes it seemingly okay to flaunt our fleshy bits on the beach. Why is it we are so comfortable in our own skin on a sunny seaside vacation, but no where else?

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