Thousands strip off for world's biggest nude photoshoot

7th May 2007
Daily Mail

It was a sea of flesh almost as far as the eye could see, as 18,000 people stripped off and stood around stark naked.

The hordes bared all for photographer Spencer Tunick's biggest nude project so far.

The US artist's stunt in Mexico City dwarfed his previous record, when 7,000 people stripped off to be photographed in Barcelona.
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Thousands of naked figures lie on their backs surrounding a man in a wheelchair

Standing up to salute, crouching in fetal positions and lying prone on the tiles of the Zocalo plaza, the volunteers formed a sea of flesh that Tunick snapped from balconies and a small crane in the morning light.

Tunick claimed his work showed the world the human body was something to be celebrated.

"What a moment for the Mexican art scene," he asid.

"I think all eyes are looking south from the United States to Mexico City to see how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring."

Bottoms out for the camera as the nudes link arms

The Brooklyn artist has become famous for photographing thousands of naked people in public settings worldwide, from London and Vienna to Buenos Aires and Buffalo.

"I just create shapes and forms with human bodies. It's an abstraction, it's a performance, it's an installation," Tunick said.

"I don't care how many people showed up. All I know is that I filled up my space."

The Zocalo measures 17,500 square metres.

A sea of flash: The participants lie shoulder to shoulder, head to toe. They look more like a giant flock of sheep

Men and women from a broad cross section of ages and social classes began arriving before dawn, although most volunteers were young men.

"The important thing is not that it's your body or someone else's but that you participate in something as a society," said Oscar Roman Munoz, a 25-year-old engineer. "This reflects the need for change and integration in world trends."

For Tunick's first photo, the models stood upright and gave a military-like salute to their national flag.

In another, they lay down to form a blanket of flesh around a naked man in a wheelchair.

Between shots, they burst out into verses of Mexican folk songs.

Public nudity is hardly a novelty in Mexico City, where protesters often march through the streets wearing only their underwear or nothing at all.

The thousands of record breakers salute their flag