Using nudity to highlight a looming crisis ahead
Using hundreds of nude volunteers for a giant photograph, Tunick recently completed the shoot in a Bourgogne (Burgundy) wineyard near Macon, central-eastern France. The photo shoot was done in association with Greenpeace.
Tunick has worked with Greenpeace earlier too. On August 18, 2007, Tunick used 600 nude people in a "living sculpture" on the Aletsch Glacier in an installation intended to draw attention to global warming and the shrinking of the world's glaciers in a collaboration with Greenpeace. The temperature was about 10°C. The Aletsch glacier retreated by 100 m between 2005 and 2006.
He followed this installation with one at the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach on October 8, 2007.
He had done one installation in a vineyard before, again for Greenpeace. On October 3, 2009 Tunick performed an installation in collaboration with Greenpeace to draw attention to the affect climate change is having on French wine production. Over 700 volunteers turned up at a vineyard near Macon, France for a number of poses among the vines.
Says Tunick: "A body is a living entity. It represents life, freedom, sensuality, and it is a mechanism to carry out our thoughts. A body is always beautiful to me. It depends on the individual work and what I do with it and what kind of idea lies behind it -- if age matters or not. But in my group works, the only difference is how far people can go if it rains, snows etc."
In his latest installation in Bourgogne, the naked volunteers were clicked in various themes and poses amidst lush green vineyard. People voluntarily shed their clothes for a cause. Though not a large gathering at Bourgogne, Tunick holds the record for clicking the largest group of nudes - 18,000 of them - in one sitting in Mexico City.
While most of Tunick's backdrops are the urban landscape, this was the second time when a vineyard was used. Normally, nothing intervenes between nudity as an art form and the landscape. The landscape is put in the background making an awesome setting in which nude figures form a pattern.
But in Bourgogne, the nude volunteers were photographed with the greenery around, sending out a remarkable message on climate change on wine production.
The issue for which Tunick is currently working deals with one of humanity's greatest and most pressing challenges -- and one that requires an urgent response: Climate change. While science, technology, economics, and finance can guide collective action, the window of opportunity on climate is closing.
The Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA) is a task force of world leaders committed to addressing climate change through international negotiations. A joint initiative of the UN Foundation and the Club of Madrid, the GLCA consists of former heads of state and government as well as leaders from business, government and civil society from more than 20 countries.
The leaders would be meeting in Copenhagen in December this year to thrash out a treaty on climate change. An agreement to begin negotiation to address climate change post-2012 has remained elusive. GLCA is working to help galvanize the international action and mobilize the political will necessary for a new international agreement on climate change.
But this is not the first time that Tunick has used nature. Though Tunick's installations are often situated in urban locations throughout the world, he has also has done some "Beyond The City" woodland and beach installations and still does individuals and small groups occasionally. Tunick is the subject of three HBO documentaries, Naked States, Naked World and Positively Naked. His models are volunteers who receive a limited edition photo as a reward.
Born in the United States in Middletown, Orange County, New York, he visited London in 1986 where he took photographs of a nude at a bus stop and of scores of nudes in Alleyn's School's Lower School Hall in Dulwich, Southwark. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in 1988.
In 1992, Tunick began documenting live nudes in public locations in New York through video and photographs. His early works from this period focus more on a single nude individual or on small groups of nudes. These works are much more intimate images than the massive installations for which he is now known.
By 1994 Tunick had organised and photographed over 65 temporary site related installations in the United States and abroad. Since then, he has taken his celebration of the nude form internationally, and has taken photos in cities that include Cork, Dublin, Bruges, Buenos Aires, Buffalo, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Melbourne, Montreal, Rome, San Sebastián, São Paulo, Caracas, Newcastle/Gateshead, Vienna, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Santiago, Mexico City, and Amsterdam. In August 1997, Tunick photographed a large group of nudes at The Great Went, a festival hosted by Phish in Limestone, Maine.
In June 2003, Tunick photographed 7,000 naked people in Barcelona. On June 26, 2004, he completed his largest installation in the United States in Cleveland, Ohio, with 2,754 people posing. In August 2004, a photo shoot was completed in Buffalo of about 1,800 nudes in Buffalo's old central train station. On July 17, 2005 he photographed almost 1,700 nudes on the quaysides at Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. On September 11, 2005, he shot 1,493 nudes in Lyon on the Rhône quaysides and footbridge resp. between containers. On March 19, 2006, Tunick photographed 1,500 nudes in Caracas, having people standing up, lying down, and on their knees beside the main Simon Bolivar statue.
On May 6, 2007, approximately 18,000 people posed for Tunick in Mexico City's principal square, the Zócalo, setting a new record, and more than doubling the previous highest number of 7,000 people who had turned out in Barcelona in 2003. Male and female volunteers of different ages stood and saluted, lay down on the ground, crouched in the fetal position, and otherwise posed for Tunick's lens in the city's massive central plaza, the Plaza de la Constitución. Here, the specific problems of photographing great numbers of people outside became clear: as Tunick could only shoot from buildings located west of the square (the three other sides of the square are government buildings and the cathedral), there was a rush to take the pictures before dawn to avoid getting sunflare in the lens.
Tunick's first installation with 2000 people was in a car park; the following installations were with 250 men at a nearby gas station and 250 women on bicycles on the Lijnbaansgracht - Lauriergracht. Tunick's final installation was made with a small selected group of participants on a canal called Leliegracht. For this installation a special bridge construction was made to create the illusion that the people were floating over the water.
Source: India Syndicate