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1,200 go naked for sake of Blarney art shoot


Participants avert their gaze and look instead at Blarney Castle

Participants avert their gaze and look instead at Blarney Castle

Roses provide little cover

Roses provide little cover

Fr Ted fans stage a mock protest outraged by the indecency of it all

Fr Ted fans stage a mock protest outraged by the indecency of it all


Participants avert their gaze and look instead at Blarney Castle

AS photo-shoots go, this one was not for the shy, retiring or faint-hearted.

The job went as follows. First, gather near Blarney Castle at 2am. Shake off sleep and take off all your clothes.

Then stand around in the chill morning air with more than 1,200 similarly naked souls.

Finally, lie in the damp grass alongside all the other nudes clutching a single red rose while US photo-artist Spencer Tunick takes pictures of you.

To the participants, all this is perfectly reasonable behaviour -- art, if you like.

The photo shoot was part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and proved a stunning success with the turnout taking even the most optimistic of the organisers aback.

Radio and television personality Ray D'Arcy was among those who decided to dedicate his body to art. "People were saying 'good luck' before it, but it wasn't like playing a football match or anything. How much luck do you need to remove your clothes? You do it a couple of times a day."

Another participant, Sean, said: "It was great craic -- sure, why wouldn't you take part?

"It was a bit cold all right and we were standing around for about an hour before the whole thing was finished. But it was great fun."

Tunick is a world-renowned contemporary artist who specialises in what he terms "site-specific nudes".

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He is best known for his elaborately-posed still and video images of multiple nude figures in public settings.

He has taken mass nude photos around the world including Montreal, Melbourne, Lyon, London, Newcastle-Gateshead, Santiago, New York, Mexico City and Barcelona.

Tunick gathers volunteers to participate in his work which has involved from 100 to more than 18,000 participants.

Arguably his best known work was a photograph taken for Greenpeace on the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland. The shot was critically acclaimed and named 'Time Magazine' Picture of the Year for 2007.

Cork Midsummer festival director, William Galinsky, said they were delighted with the project. "Taking part in a Spencer Tunick installation is a life affirming and, perhaps, life changing experience," he said.

"There are few contemporary artists who have so managed to capture the spirit of our age. Spencer's work is a celebration of the human body, of the landscapes which surround us and of the power we all have to change the world," he added.

The great nude extravaganza moves to Dublin this Saturday, for a similar photo shoot in Dublin Docklands.

Executive arts manager Mary McCarthy said: "Dublin Docklands is looking forward to hosting this creative art project which will create fresh perspectives on the new urban fabric of the Docklands.''

The last few remaining places in the Dublin event were snapped up yesterday evening.

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