JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first image from American artist Spencer Tunick’s nude photo installation at the Dead Sea can be seen online.
More than 1,000 Israelis modeled nude last month for the installation, initiated in Israel to draw attention to the environmental plight of the Dead Sea. The volunteers modeled in the sea, on the shore and covered in Dead Sea mud.
In the photo, the volunteers floated in unison in the Dead Sea. It was released Wednesday to support the global campaign to promote voting for the Dead Sea as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature. Tunick’s website directs viewers to vote for the Dead Sea in the New7Wonders of Nature contest.
“Israel is not a theocracy, it is a democracy and the only place in the Middle East that I could create this art,” Tunick said. "Thanks to the participants’ efforts, the world has a new image of Israel as an open and vibrant democracy. Israelis are some of the most beautiful, warm, educated, open minded and peaceful people that I have ever worked with.”
Several other images were taken on the shores of the Dead Sea, and later in the day at the Ein Gedi springs and the Ein Bokek waterfalls. There were also individual portraits taken in Tel Aviv later in the week of Tunick’s visit. The full range of artwork from Israel will be prepared for a future museum exhibition.
Tunick has photographed installations of large groups of nude people in 75 locations throughout the world.