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The naked truth

Nude photographer Spencer Tunick to again lay bare Dead Sea’s plight

The salty lake’s shrinking waters are focal point for photographer and planned Dead Sea museum

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Photographer Spencer Tunick photographed 1,200 naked participants in the Dead Sea in 2011 to raise awareness of the shrinking salty waters, and will return in October 2021 to photograph a new installation (Courtesy Spencer Tunick)
Photographer Spencer Tunick photographed 1,200 naked participants in the Dead Sea in 2011 to raise awareness of the shrinking salty waters, and will return in October 2021 to photograph a new installation (Courtesy Spencer Tunick)

Spencer Tunick is coming back to the Dead Sea this October to photograph a nude human pipeline in the environmentally troubled salt lake.

The installation will be the Jewish photographer’s third at the Dead Sea. Ten years ago, he brought together 1,200 nude participants floating at Mineral Beach, a Dead Sea beach that is no longer accessible due to sinkholes. In 2016, he returned to shoot a smaller installation.

Sinkholes — sudden, dangerous pits that have been forming in the  rapidly declining Dead Sea, often swallowing buildings and beaches — first began to appear around the Dead Sea in the late 1980s. Now the water level is dropping more than a meter (three feet) per year on average.

The latest photographic installation by Tunick is meant to draw attention to the sinkholes and the Dead Sea Museum, a local institution planned by Tunick’s friend and fellow Dead Sea activist Ari Leon Fruchter for the desert city of Arad, near the Dead Sea.

Anyone interested in participating in the installation can sign up, registering with one clothed photo of themselves, their age (only 18 and up are invited to participate). If chosen, participants will be contacted one week before the event with the time and location of the photoshoot.

Participants in the Tunick installation will also receive a limited edition print from the installation.

An installation photographed by Spencer Tunick in 2016 at the Dead Sea to raise awareness of the shrinking salty waters. He will return in October 2021 to photograph a new installation (Courtesy Spencer Tunick)

Registration for participation in the photoshoot is through a Headstart fundraising campaign page aiming to raise NIS 120,000 (around $36,000) for the museum. Nearly half of the total sum has been raised so far.

It isn’t the first time Tunick and Fruchter have collaborated to raise money and attention for the beleaguered Dead Sea.

In 2011, the two struggled to raise enough money for the first photoshoot, timing the installation with voting for the Seven Wonders of the World designation.

The Dead Sea made it to the shortlist, but didn’t make the cut for the final seven.

Now Fruchter calls the shrinking salt lake the “eighth wonder of the world.”

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