Photographer Spencer Tunick, who is famous for taking photographs of nude crowds at sites around the world, is planning to bring his project to Israel.
“He has not decided on a site yet, but when there’s a lot of press coverage he is less likely to come somewhere,” Tunick’s producer in Israel, Harry Fruchter, told the Jerusalem Post. “He’d like to work without any outside influences. If he can’t find that kind of situation, when he comes he will probably be less cooperative.”
It’s not clear yet where, or whether, Tunick will stage his Israeli photo shoot. Reports say the likely sites are Tel Aviv or the Dead Sea.
On March 1, Tunick photographed 5,200 nude Australians who had gathered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, one of 75 locations at which he has taken nude photos of crowds.
“It doesn’t feel sexual, it just feels tribal — a gathering of humanity,” said one of the participants, Art Rush, 19, a student who said he was thrilled to be taking part.
The artist called the Australian installation, Mardi Gras: The Base. It title referred to the sameness of people, regardless of their sexual preferences, according to an article in The Age, an Australian newspaper.
Israel’s Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv municipality appeared excited at the prospect of a Tunick visit, calling it good for the image of the country and the city.
But, on the floor of the Knesset, religious lawmakers blasted the idea. Some said a photo of a mass of nude Jews would be reminiscent of the Holocaust. Others called it prostitution.
“I understand that one of the shoots is supposed to take place in the Dead Sea. This is the lowest place on earth, and after this it may sink even lower,” said lawmaker Uri Orbach of the Habayit Hayehudi party.