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Getting Naked for Spencer Tunick
Getting Naked for Spencer Tunick
For those who don’t know, Spencer Tunick is a world-famous photographer known for shooting pictures of groups of naked people in public settings or natural settings. He was in Cleveland last summer and 2,700 people got naked for him, then in Buffalo in the fall where I think the count was around 1,200. My friend Kathy and I went to the Cleveland shoot, my wife Carme and I, along with another swinging couple, went to the Buffalo shoot. Both events were fantastic, and if Spencer ever does a shoot in this part of the world again, I will certain try to be there. I never saw the full art exhibit for either shoot, but some friends said I was right up front in several of the Cleveland photos. I suspect I will be clearly visible in some of the Buffalo photos as well.
Here is a little something I posted in my Erotic_Ohio group a few days after the Cleveland event:
I think I can safely say that the Cleveland photo shoot ranks on my top-ten list of the most awesome experiences of my life. Since I am a nudist and an organizer of erotic events, the mere fact of being naked in a group of naked people was not such a big deal to me (although it is always wonderful thing!). But the photo shoot was especially great for me because of the overall atmosphere and meaning of the event.
Most of the people there were not nudists, and most would probably not have been called "erotically adventurous" before this weekend. Most of them were artists, or supporters of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), or people who just thought "Hey, I wanna try that!" For these people, getting naked in a public setting and being in the midst of so many naked bodies was something they would have never dreamed was a possibility in their lives. Several people described it as a life-transforming experience. And THIS is what really got to me ‒ the overall atmosphere and energy made it a profound experience for me as well. It was an atmosphere of teamwork, community, togetherness, liberation ‒ and yes, sensual and erotic exhilaration. Everyone was openly fascinated by all the naked bodies, but with little or no apparent fear or discomfort, which made the experience into an interesting blend of “naughtiness” and “innocence.” It was a bit like being a child again, and exploring the world of sensuality for the first time.
I think that for me, and for most people, the experience tapped into some very deep, powerful archetypes from childhood ‒ that sense of curiosity about seeing other people’s bodies, and the somewhat kinky-yet-innocent joy of being seen naked by others. Most Americans learn to repress this part of their personalities as they became adults. The wide-eyed innocence is replaced by embarrassment, shame, guilt, and disgust. Now, in the name of art, sponsored by a respectable major museum, while police directed traffic nearby, thousands of people were able to revisit the old feelings from childhood, but without the negative energies typically associated with adult experiences of non-traditional erotic sensuality.
For a few hours 2,700 people forgot about the whole prudish world and reconnected with a part of their erotic souls they’d buried many years earlier. It's that part of our souls where we can be naked, caught up in a feeling of erotic freedom, AND yet innocent (or at least relatively shameless) all at the same time. Thus art was able to do, on a massive scale, what truly great art should always do: let us see life from a new perspective, experience the world in a new way, and rediscover new sensual/emotional territory in our own lives.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this was more than just getting naked in a group of people (which is a great deal of fun just in itself), but it was also a transformative event in the lives of a lot of people. My hope is that as Tunick is able to do this sort of thing in more cities around America, we will eventually hit some sort of "critical mass" and see transformation not only in individual lives, but in the culture as a whole. Of course this is exactly what certain entrenched forces in American culture want to avoid, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out.
5/16/2006 5:11 pm
I love his work!|