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Say 'Cheese'... All Ten Thousand Of You

Art FYI: Spencer Tunick is a photographer with a pretty novel hook-thousands of people, naked. He's been at it for several years now, gathering...




Art FYI: Spencer Tunick is a photographer with a pretty novel hook-thousands of people, naked. He's been at it for several years now, gathering huge crowds to either pile or pose, usually in public places, and the results are often riveting. And, he occasionally gets arrested. Aside from the visual effect of several hundred naked bodies, say, on a glacier, the scale of his endeavor is what many find really charming.

But before Tunick there were the "living photographs" of Arthur Mole. His set-ups incorporated as many as 30,000 people. Without modern-day technology, he had to arrange his subjects so that from whatever fixed point where he stood with his camera, perspective would make the images (the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, Woodrow Wilson's head...) intelligible.

President Wilson's head required somewhere between 18,000 and 21,000 soldiers, all assembled at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1918, in uniform, in the summer heat. Tens of thousands of people. Stood there. In the shape of Woodrow Wilson's head. Depending on how you feel about the Federal Reserve System or America's governance during World War I, this composition is arguably hotter than Tunick's mass nudes.

Tunick has an exhibition coming up in London. For more on the late Mole, try this great Cabinet article or visit Oddee.







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