This splendid shot of German bathing beauties was taken in 1926 by Josef Bayer at the edge of the Motzener See, a lake in Brandenburg, about twenty miles south of Berlin. This area was the epicentre of German naturism which had really started in 1902 with the nacktkultur movement espoused by Heinrich Pudor in his treatise published that year., Naturism was one part of the back to nature Lebensreform (life reform) social movement in Germany, which began in the late nineteenth century. Different parts of the movement espoused such things as organic food, vegetarianism, alternative medicine, naturism and sexual liberation. If this all sounds a bit hippy culture then it is not surprising as a number of German practitioners of Lebensreform emigrated to California in the first half of the twentieth century and some of them arrived in San Franciso in 1967, taking their back to nature beliefs with them. Other parts of the Lebensreform movement abstained from alcohol and smoking and in pre-WW2 Germany there was a strong anti-smoking lobby which was already pointing out the health risks of the habit. Adolf Hitler was very anti smoking!
The wandervogel movement, which was created in the Steglitz Grammar School in Berlin in 1896 was a similar back to nature movement but aimed at German youth. Encouraging physical activity (including naturism) and, especially after the Great War, nationalism, it merged with other scouting groups until it was abolished by the Nazis who took some aspects of its approach in the formation of the Hitler Youth. The movement was revived after WW2 and continues to this day.
Naturism became increasingly popular in Germany and continued to flourish even in communist East Germany (which was where the Motzener See was located after WW2).
Bayer's photograph is a wonderful, painterly composition which certainly acts as an excellent advertisement for naked, al fresco frolicking.