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The shoreline — of the sea, lakes, and rivers — is a dynamic interface of civilization and the natural world. It exerts a powerful draw on us. That transition space holds beauty and carries risk, the zone where we at once embrace and battle the environment in which we exist. The shoreline provides food, recreation, breeding grounds, commerce, peace, and even primal fear. Two thirds of the world’s largest cities lie in low-elevation coastal areas, vulnerable to sea rise even as population trends show us increasingly dwelling in urban areas. Gathered here are images exploring our attraction to the water’s edge. — Lane Turner (46 photos total)

Christian Tio of the Philippines freestyles during day three of the KTA Bintan at Argo Beach Resort on February 23, 2013 in Bintan Island, Indonesia. (Xaume Olleros/Getty Images)