Spencer Tunick, 43, one of the world's most famous photographers, has decided not to hold a mass nude photo shoot in Tel Aviv for budget issues, but is sticking to his plan to shoot thousands of naked Israelis in the Dead Sea. Tunick is using the opportunity to raise awareness to the fact that the site is under a major threat and is rapidly drying up.
Since 1994, Tunick has been shooting hundreds and thousands of people in their "birthday suits" on the backdrop of unique sites and landscapes. Countries are lining up to invite him to shoot in their territory. His visits usually are usually accompanied by a resounding media buzz.
The photographer's special interest in Israel might stem from the fact that he's Jewish. His father and grandmother both reside in Netanya. Over the years he has visited Israel a number of times.
Several months ago Tunick expressed interest in shooting a mass nude scene in the Tel Aviv Port and had even hired an Israeli production company to carry out the plan. However, he dropped the project after encountering difficulty in raising funds for the complicated shoot. A total of $700,000 would have been required to close down the port compound and arrange the shoot.
Last April, the controversial photographer visited Israel in order to find an appropriate location for his shoot and eventually opted for the Dead Sea. He explained his choice by describing the natural connection between the human body and its natural environment, the Dead Sea with its healing power.
Scientists and experts have lobbied over the years to raise awareness for the Dead Sea crisis. The site is currently competing for a place in the New 7 Wonders competition.
Various elements including artists and environmentalists are working to raise the necessary sum to bring Tunick to Israel – a total of $250,000.
Shlomit Yarkoni from the Ben-Or production company said: "Spencer Tunick was already involved in artistic environmental activity in the North Pole with Greenpeace and his works are extremely influential."
No date has been set yet for the photo shoot but it is estimated to be held in the spring.
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