Monday, September 19, 2011

Spencer Tunick's Naked Art

A thousand plus naked volunteers flock to the Dead Sea

Last Saturday, September 17, one thousand two hundred people (men and women aged 20 to 60 years old) flocked to the Dead Sea in Israel to get their photos taken in the 'buff.'

Most Photographers are happy to have a camera and a nude model, but 44 year old Spencer Tunick likes his pictures populated by hundreds, if not thousands of naked and willing volunteers.  Referred to as "installations" by the artist, these epic nude photographs often feature an immense number of participants shot on scenic locations.

Photographer/Artist Spencer Tunick

A New York native, Spencer Tunick began photographing nudes in public locations in 1992.  Since then, he has taken his 'installations' all over the world.  According to him, "The body is always beautiful... It is a living entity...  It represents life, freedom, sensuality and it is a mechanism to carry our thoughts..."  His work has been documented in three HBO specials, "Naked States," "Naked World" and "Positively Naked."

Spencer directing his cast of thousands.

The Dead Sea shoot was Spencer's first 'installation' in the Middle-East and probably the only one ever.  The organizers timed the shoot to coincide with the voting of the Seven Natural Wonders of Nature contest, hoping to draw extra attention to the Dead Sea's declining water level.  According to them, the pictures will also give the world a different perspective of Israel, instead the images of war, tanks and terrorism regularly seen on the news.

Tunick directed his models with a megaphone.  There were four predetermined sets:  Models standing on the sea bed, models floating on the buoyant salt water, models waving to the camera and models standing on the shoreline to show how much the water has receeded in recent years.  The shoot took place from 6am to 8am, since the permit was only granted for that length of time.  

Orthodox Jews objected to the project from the beginning on moral grounds, especially since the chosen location is very close the known site of the ancient city of Sodom and Gomorrah.  So the organizers timed the shoot early Saturday morning, since most orthodox Jews will not take motorized transport from Friday night to Saturday Night.  Most of the models were ecstatic to be given a chance to be a part of history and Art -- the only compensation for their effort is a limited edition photograph of the experience.

Here are some examples of Spencer Tunick's "installations" in different cities throughout the years.  Please be aware that there are some graphically explicit images here.  Anyone under 18 should not click through.

Dusseldorf, 2006

Amsterdam, 2007

New York City, 2003

Sao Paulo, 2002

Miami Beach, 2007

Lyon, 2005

Switzerland, 2007

Montreal, 2001

Caracas, 2006

Newcastle, 2005

Dublin, 2008

Barcelona, 2003

Cleveland, 2004

Mexico City, 2007

For more information on Spencer Tunick and his work, go to

--All photographs property of Spencer Tunick.

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