A naturist who bared all for a coronavirus-themed artwork orchestrated by Spencer Tunick has revealed participants were naked for an entire hour during the shoot – and he enjoyed every second.
More than 200 volunteers stripped naked – apart from their face masks – for a socially distanced art installation by the American artist at London‘s Alexandra Palace, with the images unveiled today.
The artist, who is known for his images of groups of naked people taken all over the world, said creating the ‘Everyone Together’ work to mark the Sky Arts channel becoming free from September 17 was ‘liberating and life-affirming’.
Meanwhile a couple who posed for the installation – after meeting on a previous Tunick shoot in Norway – added that the dawn shoot was ‘a little bit chilly but not enough to give anyone hypothermia’.
More than 200 volunteers stripped naked – apart from their face masks – for a socially distanced art installation by the American artist at London ‘s Alexandra Palace, with the images unveiled today
Spencer Tunick, known for his images of groups of naked people taken all over the world, said creating the ‘Everyone Together’ work to mark the Sky Arts channel becoming free from September 17 was ‘liberating and life-affirming’
Naturist Krzysztof Czapski, 41, a warehouse manager originally from Poland but now living in Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire, told FEMAIL he ‘loved every second’ of taking part in the shoot.
‘I took part in an installation in 2016 in Hull, when everyone was painted in different shades of blue,’ he explained.
‘That was my first time. I loved any second of it, so I knew if there was to be another occasion I would do it again. What I enjoy most is the feeling of freedom. Once people are naked, no one judge anyone by their clothes. And it gives me more confidence.’
The installation, assembled in the early hours, was ‘about breaking down barriers’, Tunick said.
Naturist Krzysztof Czapski, 41, a warehouse manager originally from Poland but now living in Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire, told FEMAIL he ‘loved every second’ of taking part in the shoot
Krzysztof, circled in the shoot, said being naked around other people ‘gives him confidence’, adding that he enjoys the ‘feeling of freedom’
‘The reality of masses of people close together – shoulder to shoulder, skin touching skin – may be something of the past for now, but still the desire is there for that natural connectivity, perhaps more so now than ever,’ the photographer added.
Krzysztof recalled: ‘We started very early, so it did get cold during the time we spent outside! But it was a good atmosphere – we survived! There were jokes and laughs, everyone encouraged everyone.
‘There was an option to leave at any point if you were too cold. It took around four hours all together, and we were naked for about an hour or so. Couples were a little longer as they stayed for another set up.’
A total of 220 people posed nude as they stood at least one metre apart and had their temperature checked on arrival to ensure they were Covid safe.
Krzysztof said he felt very secure taking part due to the strict procedures in place to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
A couple who took part in the shoot, but did not wish to be identified, added that anyone who felt uncomfortable was able to leave the shoot at any time
‘It was done according to government guidelines,’ he explained. ‘[There was] social distancing, staggered arrival times, hand sanitiser and everyone had to wear a face mask all the time.’
Retired psychiatric nurse Pete Stone, who took part in the shoot with his partner, added that anyone who felt uncomfortable was able to leave the shoot at any time.
‘A runner gave his jacket to a woman who was feeling the cold,’ they told FEMAIL, adding that he describes himself as a ‘fair weather naturist’.
‘We had to arrive at around 4am to register which meant at least half an hour queuing up outside in the dark. Most of us had not slept much so you tend to feel the cold sitting and standing for long periods.
‘The actual shoot starts just after dawn and takes a little under an hour for four set ups. The final set was couples only.’
No arms done: The models lie on the grassy bank overlooking central London as US artist Tunick photographs them
Back in the wild: Spencer Tunick has been creating nude installations on the internet during lockdown but has now returned to photo sessions in public places
‘We get a signed limited edition print for participation. Everybody has their own reasons [for taking part]; a personal confidence challenge, bucket list experience, a few exhibitionists, some who participate in [Tunick’s] projects all round the world as their hobby.’
Pete, who has taken part in naked shoots ranging from 3,500 participants to 120, both body-painted and bare, said each one is a ‘unique experience’.
‘Some are better than others,’ he added. ‘It is great to be a brushstroke on the artist’s palette. You meet all sorts of people; all ages, sizes, nationalities, some remain friends long after the event.
‘The first time might be a bit nervy for some, especially in the hours travelling to the location then waiting in this crowd of strangers. Eventually Spencer gives “permission” to get undressed.
‘Some people are a little shy walking out naked with people they don’t know but that evaporates in minutes as you realise that you are surrounded by people older, wrinklier, fatter, thinner, more scarred, of every body and skin type: nobody is looking at you.’
Tunick is best known for bringing hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of participants together to pose for striking mass nude photographs.
Crack of dawn: The volunteers got up early for the photoshoot on the grassy banks in front of Alexandra Palace in London
Previous installations have seen him transform sites like the Sydney Opera House into seas of exposed bodies, all in the name of art.
The latest project is the first major participatory work of art for the US artist since lockdown in March.
It saw him asking groups of face mask-wearing participants to strip down and assume coordinated poses before he captured them in single collage-style screenshots.
With Covid-19 sending him into lockdown in New York, Tunick has had to find a new medium for his work: video conferences.