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Spencer Tunick
via Instagram @spencertunick

300 people stripped nude by the Dead Sea to highlight the climate crisis

Organised by American photographer Spencer Tunick, the art installation hopes to raise awareness of the Dead Sea’s shrinking sea levels

Over the weekend, 300 people stripped naked – covering themselves only in white paint – to pose together in the South Israel desert near the Dead Sea. Organised by American photographer Spencer Tunick, the shoot intends to raise awareness of the Dead Sea’s shrinking sea levels. 

The 54-year-old artist has photographed the body of water twice before – each time capturing nude art installations to portray the sea’s “ecological disaster”. “I’m here to raise awareness of the receding waters of the Dead Sea,” said Tunick during the shoot via CNN

Marking the lowest land-based point on Earth and often treasured for its mineral-rich water, the salty lake’s water levels are declining by approximately one meter per year, seemingly due to a fight for water resources on account of the region’s arid climate. Over the past four decades, over 6,000 gaping sinkholes have appeared along the Israeli side of the Dead Sea, making areas around the coast too dangerous to visit.

In 2011, Tunick photographed nude people floating in the sea. This time, the models posed alongside the body of water – painted white to signify the biblical story of Lot’s wife, who was written to have turned into a pillar of salt.

“By connecting an environmental issue to the body, (it) shows the vulnerability of the body up against nature – and also, in juxtaposition, the vulnerability of nature that's caused by the body,” explained Tunick. “Mankind can affect a massive sea. And I think that showing this juxtaposition of the body – very fragile – against the Dead Sea, which is equally fragile, will bring a new energy to the work and people’s conversations.”

While some conservative lawmakers in Israel have opposed Tunick’s projects, Nisan Ben Hamo – the mayor of Arad, which neighbours the Dead Sea – hopes the project will mark Arad as “a liberal city”, bringing new visitors and raising money for a new Dead Sea museum. 

See more from Tunnick’s shoot below.