Tunick. To arrive in April
Photo: GettyImages Imagebank

Israeli officials divided over mass nude photo initiative

Tamar Regional Council head strongly opposes initiative allowing renowned American photographer Spencer Tunick to shoot in Dead Sea, while Tel Aviv Municipality, Tourism Ministry embrace project

A report published by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily Monday regarding the possible arrival of American controversial photographer Spencer Tunick to Israel sparked both excitement and harsh objection in the Jewish state. Despite the assertion of relevant parties that the initiative is far from being finalized, fierce opposition has been voiced.


Tunick, who is internationally renowned for his mass nude photographs in public areas in major cities around the world has submitted a request to shoot in the Tel Aviv Port and on the Dead Sea beach. The Tel Aviv Municipality, who received the request, embraced the initiative and an element at the municipal spokesman's office said, "This is a wonderful way of telling the world about Tel Aviv and its modern and vibrant nature."

A Spencer Tunick shot (Photo: GettyImages Imagebank)


However, not everyone is equally as excited. Dov Litvinoff, head of the Tamar Regional Council which is adjacent to the Dead Sea said, "I categorically object to this project and have no intention of supporting it neither logistically nor in terms of budget." Litvinoff said that the initiative was a provocation which may offend many sectors in the Israeli society.


"I am a very liberal and open person but as a public official I don’t think that the council which I head should invest in a project so controversial. After all, the Dead Sea belongs to everyone. A nude display of thousands of nudists does not promote the Dead Sea, it promotes the whim of someone who calls himself an artist."


Tourism Ministry supportive

Despite his fierce objection, Litvinoff said he does not intend on hindering the shoot, should Tunick decide to produce it independently. "I won't set up a barrier on Highway 90 to block his arrival or that of all those nudists. If they want they can come to one of the Dead Sea's open beaches."


The Tourism Ministry stated in response, "One has to bear in mind this is an artistic display. Minister Stas Misezhnikov welcomes the initiative for its great potential in improving Israel's image as an enlightened, safe, modern and liberal country. In allowing this, Israel will be joining a long line of respectable countries around the world where Tunick has shot in the past."


The statement further noted that the photographer is slated to arrive in Israel in April in order to check out potential sites. "We believe that a solution will be found which will allow the implementation of the project while considering all sectors of society."


Ilana Curiel contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.11.10, 00:08
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