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Thousands strip naked in Hull for Spencer Tunick photographs

Thousands strip naked in Hull for Spencer Tunick photographs


They came in their thousands, some walking, some leaning on crutches, others wheelchair-bound – but all naked.

Before dawn broke on Saturday, 3,200 people gathered in Hull city centre, shed their shoes and clothes and painted themselves blue in the name of art. The spectacle was arranged by American photographer Spencer Tunick, famous for his ambitious installations featuring crowds of nudes, and was commissioned by the city’s Ferens Art Gallery for Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations next year.

Roads in the city centre were closed between midnight and 10am as the participants, who came in all shapes and sizes, posed in locations that reflected Hull’s maritime history. The New York-based artist had body paints made in four shades of blue taken from the Ferens gallery’s collection.

Tunick, who has just finished working on an installation in Bogotá, said that Hull’s had been one of the best turnouts for a photoshoot and the best in the UK, beating Gateshead in 2005 and Salford in 2010. “I needed around 2,500 to 3,000 [volunteers] to do this work and 3,200 came. I was incredibly lucky to be able to fill up streets into the distance,” he said.

Volunteers, who were unpaid, arrived at a meeting point in the city centre at 3am, where they stripped off and helped to paint each other. The crowds were then ordered into position by megaphone by Tunick’s assistants, who he calls “nude wranglers”, during the three-hour photoshoot.

Tunick said there was something about the human body and how it was juxtaposed with public space that had inspired his work. “The natural, soft vulnerable body that’s up against the concrete world – it creates a dynamic that interests me,” he said… read more at