Spencer Tunick is one of the world’s most celebrated and controversial photographers with no fewer than 75 large-scale nude photo shoots under his proverbial belt. The New York-based artist has amassed thousands of volunteers to pose nude in dozens of symbolic locations across the planet, from Brazil to Ireland and most recently in Israel.
To the horror of some and delight of thousands, Tunick’s latest shoot brought the Dead Sea’s shrinking state to the awareness of 15 million people around the world. And now it’s possible for collectors to place bids on an 11×14 C-print of his remarkable images, which are valued at $2,000 each.
On 17 September last year, 1,200 Israelis stripped naked just after the crack of dawn at a secret location at the northern edge of the historic lake. The lowest and saltiest place on earth, the Dead Sea is shrinking at a rate of one meter a year as a result of the dried up Jordan River up north and chemical works further south.
Some scientists worry that without intervention, the lake will be completely dry by 2050.
Religious Jews were deeply opposed to the project, which Tunick claims could never have happened elsewhere in the Middle East. There is a direct relationship between a country’s openness to this form of art and its democracy, he claims, though many Green Prophet readers citing the Palestinian question claimed this statement is not entirely accurate.
Nonetheless, art is naturally provocative, and Tunick has never shied from the controversy his nude photography so often inspires.
“Thanks to the participants’ efforts the world has a new image of Israel that is not connected to terrorism or religious extremism,” Tunick said of the project, adding that “Israeli’s are some of the most beautiful, warm, educated, open minded and peaceful people that I have ever worked with.”
Own your own Tunick photo
Those interested in owning their own photograph of naked Israelis can register with Paddle8, an online auction house that allows international collectors access to a coveted selection of works from renowned artists.
Co-founders Aditya Julka and Alexander Gilkesjoined forces with design firm TENDER Creative, Managing Director Osman Khan and Managing Editor Andrea Hill to form Paddle8’s core team and launch the site on May 18th, 2011. Today, Paddle8 has a team of over ten art and technology professionals, which handles everything from insurance to shipping.
Tunick has yet to announce where his next major shoot will take place, but we’re waiting with bated breath.
Image via Paddle8
More on Naked Israelis and the Dead Sea:
1,000 Israelis Strip Naked to Save the Dead Sea
As Israel Chemicals’ Profits Soar, the Dead Sea Suffers
Naked Dead Sea Picture Released by Spencer Tunick