About 2,500 people shed their clothes on Saturday to pose for US photographic artist Spencer Tunick on Sydney’s Bondi Beach in a bid to raise awareness about skin cancer.
Tunick, known for staging mass-nude photo shoots at world landmarks, used a megaphone to address attendees in different poses on the beach before many plunged naked into the ocean.
The New York-based artist has collaborated with a charity on a nude art installation in an effort to raise awareness of melanoma, the fourth most common form of cancer in Australia.
The Australian federal government estimates that 17,756 new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year and 1,281 Australians will die from the disease.
Tunick’s Instagram post explained that the attendees had gathered only in their skin, “watching the first rays of light creep across the Bondi Beach horizon, standing with respectful strength, honoring all who have been killed or fought with our ‘national’ cancer’, knowing we’ll be the generation to stop it.”
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The photographer further expanded on his intentions in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. More than 1.3 million people are diagnosed every year. More than 125,000 die. Unfortunately, these deaths are expected to increase by 20% in the coming years, unless let’s do big brave things to stop it,” he explained. “I hope my recent photographs including many skin cancer survivors will remind people of the fragility of life and the importance of skin checks.”
Tunick has also been personally affected by the disease, explaining that a family member recently had his pre-cancerous skin removed, contracting it in time.
One attendee, Robyn Lindner, said she overcame her nerves to strip down for the shoot, which organizers say involved 2,500 people.
“I was secretly terrified (and) last night I must confess I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’ But it was great, everyone had a really positive vibe, everyone was very respectful and it was really fun,” Lindner said.
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Tunick last headlined a mass photo shoot in Sydney in 2010 when 5,200 Australians posed nude at the Sydney Opera House.
When asked what his next project is, Tunick explained that he’s trying to find a way to do mass nude in Asia.
“Every time a museum in Asia approaches the local government with one of my projects, it gets rejected. I’ve been rejected in South Korea, Taiwan and Shanghai, China,” Tunick explained.
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He suggested, “Perhaps a remote island off the coast of Japan?”
Reuters contributed to this report.