On Saturday morning, on a private beach in Israel’s Dead Sea resort, over 1,000 people eagerly undressed to pose for a naked group photograph. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t – thousands more people even signed up for the event and were turned down.
All the hype was created by world-renowned photographer of the naked, Spencer Tunick and this time, it was not only about photography, it was all about saving the Dead Sea. The project was titled “naked sea.”
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Tunick is famous of his installations featuring large numbers of nude people around the world. He has photographed tens of thousands of naked bodies in both urban and natural landscapes, everywhere from Sydney’s Opera House to Mexico City`s Zolaco Square, where no less than 18,000 people volunteered to undress.
This time Tunick wanted to shoot in the Middle East and “it could not happen anywhere else in the [region]” he said. The event’s organizer, Ari Fruchter explained: “People think Israelis are religious fanatics and this is a good way to show we’re like everyone else who has been photographed in Tunick’s works anywhere in the world.”
But Tunick`s aim was not to challenge Israel’s delicate religious sensitivities, but to deliver an environmental message about a natural beauty, that is in danger of demise. In 2009, environmentalists, along with organizers Ari Gottesmann and Ari Fruchter, initiated the project.
“Spencer Tunick was already involved in artistic environmental activity in the North Pole with Greenpeace and his works are extremely influential.” said Shlomit Yarkoni, who worked on Naked Sea.
The Dead Sea is one of the most popular touristic spots in Israel and it is the lowest place on earth and one of the most salty ones, meaning it can sustain no life. It was recently nominated to become one of the world’s new seven wonders. However, experts have warned that it will dry out by 2050 unless urgent steps are taken.
Organizers hope that Tnuick’s installation will boost the chances of the Dead Sea in the global new Seven Wonders of Nature contest.
“The photograph will be published before the end of the contest and will help us take advantage of the publicity,” said Fruchter. The Dead Sea has already beaten out 440 sites, and it`s now among the 28 finalists.