When you leaf through old issues of Latitude, a few things might . . . ahem . . . jump out at you. We’re not talking about the sepia-colored photos, the big hair or the beamy boats. We’re talking about skin.
Since its inception in 1977, Latitude 38 featured lots of people in the buff, most of which was represented by young women — but more on that in a second. We can’t say exactly when these photos stopped appearing in the magazine, though we can certainly trace the comments that these images stirred. We once received a letter from a teacher who said they wanted to have Latitude in their classroom, but could not because of the occasional picture of sailors wearing only what nature gave them. Conversely, since the faucet of nude photos has dried up, we’ve also gotten comments bemoaning their absence. “You guys are doing an OK job since taking over from the Poobah,” a letter from last year read. “But I miss the pictures of nekked girls.”
The times, they have certainly a-changed. It’s not just the culture at large around us, it’s also culture, attitudes and ethics of publishing. The early editors at Latitude would tell you that most (but not all) of the young, scantily-clad (or not-clad-at-all) women that appeared in the first few hundred volumes sent us the photos in question. We weren’t always out there leering with our cameras, in other words. We could also point out that attitudes about nudity ebb and flow with generations. Many sailing YouTube channels feature buxom women, as well as shirtless dudes (though, again, the women tend to feature more prominently). It’s quite a scoop we’re unearthing here, but, sex sells, especially in the world of self-produced sailing content.
And, oh yeah, as we hinted, it wasn’t just naked ladies and male photographers in those early Latitudes . . .
As always, we’re curious: What do you think?