The Naked World of Spencer Tunick
July 31, 2012 9:36 AM   Subscribe

 
That's a lot of white.
posted by etc. at 9:50 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The people in Sydney have such a huge variety of tans and tan-lines that the patterns created by them are art-within-art.
posted by tempythethird at 9:51 AM on July 31, 2012


Some of these people could do with less Tunick and more tunic OH GOD I KILL MYSELF.
posted by Decani at 9:54 AM on July 31, 2012


I love Tunick's work. I'm kind of bummed that his Cleveland shoot from 2004 wasn't pictured here. I was in that shoot, and it was a lot of fun. That was also my wife's birthday, and the day I proposed to her. A great day all around.
posted by starvingartist at 9:58 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was in that shoot...

What was that like?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:00 AM on July 31, 2012


lol...that parking building in Amsterdam looks like nothing other than 2 toilet paper rolls...they should be facing IN :P
posted by sexyrobot at 10:00 AM on July 31, 2012


. That was also my wife's birthday, and the day I proposed to her. A great day all around.

Where did you hide the ring?
posted by Forktine at 10:01 AM on July 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


Does he screen for skin color? Because those are some awfully monochromatic crowds.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:04 AM on July 31, 2012


I would be interested in reading about the logistical challenges of photographing 5200 nude people at once.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:05 AM on July 31, 2012


Naked States is a great documentary on Tunick.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 AM on July 31, 2012


I was part of the Newcastle (UK) shoot in '05 - one of the more surreal experiences of my life. Shame there's no pics from that one either - seeing my penis on Metafilter would be almost as cool as seeing it in BBC3's coverage at the time.. (and man, the 5am North Sea breeze cold..)
posted by anagrama at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2012


*is
posted by anagrama at 10:09 AM on July 31, 2012


Where did you hide the ring?

He had a little bag.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:09 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher, the shoot was on the East 9th Street pier downtown, near the Rock Hall and the Browns stadium. There's a park there, and that's where they asked everyone to gather. We were asked to arrive at 4AM, because Spencer wanted to use the dawn light for the shoot. So mostly we all stood around the park shivering. It was the end of June, but it was still kind of cold. They specifically told us that we could keep our clothes on right up to the moment of the shoot, and then we would all strip down, go to our places, do the shoot, and then come back and get dressed again until the next photo.

He did some shots of everyone lying down the length of the pier, then some of just the women at the end of the pier (scroll to the end of the page), and then some of just the men on the field with the stadium in the background. The final print was the one with all participants lying down on the pier - like this.

I thought it would be uncomfortable, but really, it wasn't. I was there with some friends, and we were all being very supportive of each other. There was one guy in the crowd who decided he would be naked the whole time, rather than just when we were shooting, and pretty much everyone else thought he was a jerk. I saw a lot of tattoos, a lot of C-section scars, a lot of mastectomies, and a lot of pre- and post-op transgender people. I don't remember anyone in a wheelchair, like the photo from Barcelona (I think?), but I do believe there was even one or two amputees. Everyone was very brave, I felt, and after about 5 minutes of "Oh my god, everyone's naked!", it really wasn't a big deal. I would totally do it again.

As for the proposal to my wife, that was later on in the day. She did not come to the shoot with me.
posted by starvingartist at 10:22 AM on July 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


gimmick
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bet at least one of the volunteers had an anxiety dream where they showed up for one of the shoots and realized sinkingly too late that they'd forgotten to undress.
posted by Drastic at 10:48 AM on July 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


As I scrolled through the photographs, I was thinking that its not really an NSFW kind of thing so much as a moment of common humanity, and wondering what it must have felt like to have been on of the crowd there.

Thank you for sharing starvingartist, did it feel a 'bigger' experience as it comes across in the photographs?
posted by infini at 10:48 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Absolutely. Like I said, after about 5 minutes I didn't notice that we were all naked (except that we were cold, and we were lying on rough pavement). The photographs look like landscapes to me.
posted by starvingartist at 10:52 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there just an assme about this?
posted by orme at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


This and this brought tears to my eyes, but for completely different reasons.

There is something very Borg-like about some the others.
posted by Tchad at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are very few visible tattoos (in fact, I think I only see one), which strikes me as odd nowadays. Does he specify tattoo-free models?
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:55 AM on July 31, 2012


I was in the Sydney shoot, and it was similar to what starvingartist describes. Logistics were handled extremely well. We put our clothes and other belongings in bags when we undressed, right before the shoot. After the photos on the Opera House steps, the group divided into two (we'd all been given tickets with one or the other designation on them on the way into the site, which was entry-controlled) and one group had a further shoot in the Botanical Gardens, the other in the concert theatre inside the Opera House. I was in the indoor group. We collected our bags, got dressed or not depending on personal preference (I did, my girlfriend didn't), and filed into the theatre. All of the seats were covered in plastic bags. Most people sat in a seat, and some were on the stage. I had been apprehensive about it, but it really wound up not being a big deal at all. I never got my print because I moved around the time they were mailed out. That's the only part of the experience I regret!

The most awkward moment was probably the shot where he asked everyone to kiss the person next to them. Even though I was with my partner, it was weird to kiss naked in the middle of all of these other people kissing naked. I can't imagine being there alone and having to kiss a stranger naked, and it was obvious at the time that many people did indeed have a problem with it, as he had to try a few times and I think eventually rephrase the instructions. (I don't know if that photo is on the page; I'm at work and can't look.)

He doesn't specify tattoo-free; you just probably can't see them well in the mass. I tried to find myself later based on a landmark hairstyle I'd kept track of at the time of the shoot, and wasn't able to see myself at all.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


(except that we were cold, and we were lying on rough pavement).

Oooh I thought about that when I saw people lying down on the glacier!
posted by infini at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tunick is a fantastic artist. Thanks, I don't remember a lot of these. I like the happy baybay in the bottom photo.
posted by dgaicun at 11:28 AM on July 31, 2012


Cutline writer humor: "Photographer Spencer Tunick (clothed)..."
posted by underthehat at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2012


Does he screen for skin color?

Definitely.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:48 AM on July 31, 2012


As I scrolled through the photographs, I was thinking that its not really an NSFW kind of thing so much as a moment of common humanity.

Yes, but then, common humanity is not safe for work.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:04 PM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting that the cutlines below most of the photos stress that these are "volunteers" -- otherwise we might think ... what?
posted by fredludd at 12:08 PM on July 31, 2012


I think the point is that people line up to volunteer for Tunick's work. He does not need to pay people to take their clothes off for his work.
posted by starvingartist at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2012


Has Spencer Tunick ever posed naked himself?
posted by plep at 12:15 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


He does not need to pay people

Thanks, starvingartist. Obviously there's something wrong with my view of the world: somehow these photos reminded me of pictures from Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka.
posted by fredludd at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tunick's full catalogue is available on his website, if you are missing any pics. I think the whiteness of it is partially illusion. The mass of flesh looks kinda white, but there are clearly people of colour there when you look at individuals. Contrast the Mexico shoot with, for example, the Dublin one for whiter than white. Then again, he's shot in a lot of majority white places; maybe the paleness provides greater visual contrast for bits and bobs at a distance? A friend did the Dublin one and there was an Indian guy who was participating, but feeling a little nervous that he would "stick out" and be very identifiable, which may have been an issue for others too.
posted by Iteki at 1:19 PM on July 31, 2012


starvingartist, I was also at that Cleveland shoot. The pose that I recall made the most people uncomfortable I never saw a finished shot of. This was also in the field with the stadium in the background. He had each person laying on the leg of the person next to him. I got the feeling at the time that part of the point of that pose was the discomfort, but I may have been wrong.

Even though I do like the shot of us Clevelanders bowing to the stadium, this kind of nudge nudge comment on the location isn't what I like most about the best Tunick photo. What I like most is how the bodies from afar so closely resemble the texture of paint pushed around on a canvas.
posted by Hubajube at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2012


Please, please, please do one in front of the Vatican.
posted by anothermug at 5:01 PM on July 31, 2012


« Older If it weren't for those medaling kids...   |   Makes No Difference Who You Are Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments