An artist who is famous for photographing mass crowds in the nude is continuing his risqué shoots via video conferences amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With people around the world being urged to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick has been having face mask-wearing participants pose nude over video chat for his new project, ‘Stay Apart Together.’
‘My work is getting nude people as close as possible to form an abstraction. And I’m not able to do that for the foreseeable future,’ the 53-year-old told CNN. ‘Every year for the last 25 years I’ve done a group nude, and I didn’t want this to be the first time that it didn’t happen.’
Art: New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick has been having people pose nude on video conferences amid the coronavirus pandemic for his new project, ‘Stay Apart Together’
Who needs a gallery? Tunick, who is best known for photographing naked crowds, has been sharing the images on his Instagram page
The provocative project features screenshots of people around the world striking coordinated poses from their respective homes.
‘When it’s a group of people and they’re being directed into different positions and there’s a uniformity to it, I think it takes away the sexuality — even though it is sensual in nature,’ he said.
Tunick believes that this project is an important reminder that we are still human amid the global crisis.
‘I think that connecting with the body during these times reaffirms that we’re not turning into robots, that we’re not in a fascist state and that we’re free thinkers — online bohemians — who are making art as a community and going up against the grain.’
Group project: The provocative series features screenshots of people around the world striking coordinated poses from their respective homes while wearing face masks
Plan: Tunick’s goal is to feature a ‘full rainbow’ of skin tones while including models of all shapes, sizes, professions, and nationalities in his new series
In just a matter of weeks, Tunick has photographed people from all over the globe, including Lebanon, Thailand, Mexico, and France.
He is still looking for models and was happy to report that someone from Syria contacted him about participating in the photo project.
Tunick’s goal is to feature a ‘full rainbow’ of skin tones while including models of all shapes, sizes, professions, and nationalities in his new series.
The photographer, who was supposed to host a nude photo shoot at Australia’s Brisbane Airport before coronavirus struck, said he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with some people that he might not have been able to before the global crisis.
Progress: In just a matter of weeks, Tunick has photographed people from all over the globe, including Lebanon, Thailand, Mexico, and France
Living on: Tunick hopes that his project will start an entire movement that will continue on even after the pandemic has passed
One of his models, Chiffeni Rofe, admitted that she probably wouldn’t have been willing to participate in one of his expansive outdoor shoots, but this project felt less ‘confronting.’
The 30-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, told CNN that she volunteered to take part in the photo series after years of battling an eating disorder.
‘Coming to terms with who I am, what I am and how I appear has been really empowering,’ she said. ‘So to be able to share that in such a unique and historic way through Spencer’s work has been really quite liberating.’
Tunick has also been reunited with some of his former models. Lee Smyth, a 29-year-old lingerie manager from Australia, signed up for the shoot after joining 549 others for a mass photoshoot on Chapel Street in Melbourne in 2018.
‘It will be a really beautiful way to capture what is a very unusual time that we are all living through,’ she told Perth Now.
Throwback: Tunick gathered hundreds of people to post for a collective group nude shot on Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia, last November
Looking back: Australians of all ages posed nude for the photo shoot. Tunick was supposed to host a nude photo shoot at Australia’s Brisbane Airport before coronavirus struck
Tunick is known for photographing large crowds, with his shoot in Mexico City featuring a record 18,000 nude people. But there are limitations to what he can do on video chat, his new artistic medium.
His video conferencing service limits group calls to 50 people, including himself, meaning he can only feature up to 49 participants at a time in his photos. The artist told CNN he plans to produce a 98-person diptych while using two screens at once.
Over the past few weeks, he has been sharing the images on his Instagram account, though he has to blur some of the nudity to keep himself from getting ‘kicked off the platform.’
Tunick hopes that his project will start an entire movement that will continue on even after the pandemic has passed.
‘I hope people take off their clothes and make their own with their own friends. I hope this continues and doesn’t start and stop with me,’ he told Esquire. ‘It’s really great to have platonic intimacy on video chat.’