Spencer Tunick to photograph nudes in Folkestone

Residents held an online campaign to win the photoshoot

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Spencer Tunick, the internationally renowned photographer of mass nudes, is to visit Kent to create a new work.

Folkestone beat off rival bids from Hastings and Brighton to host the event in May as part of Culture24's Connect 10 Museums at Night Festival weekend.

The three seaside towns staged a series of publicity stunts in their bids to win the competition.

The photographer said he hoped those taking part would have a great time and that he would not be arrested.

Start Quote

I have no idea if the police are going to stop me, or arrest me, or if I'll get permission”

End Quote Spencer Tunick Nude snapper

George's House Gallery in Folkestone was up against Hastings' Jerwood Gallery and Brighton's Royal Pavilion and Museums in the competition to host the photoshoot by Tunick.

In January about 30 Hastings residents took part in a nude flash mob on a wet and windy beach in their bid to attract the photographer to the East Sussex town.

But the Folkestone bid's online campaign featuring residents holding up signs reading "I'm ready for Spencer!" - including a placard with the logo placed next to the statue of a mermaid in the town's harbour - apparently proved more eye-catching.

Hundreds to strip

Folkestone facts for Spencer Tunick

Beach huts in Folkestone
  • One of the Cinque Ports since the 13th Century
  • The Channel Tunnel links Folkestone with Calais
  • Former Conservative leader Michael Howard was the town's MP for 27 years
  • Birthplace of Jimi Hendrix's bass player Noel Redding
  • Folkestone was hit by earthquakes in 2007 and 2009
  • Average May temperature 15C

Mr Tunick said: "I have no idea what the folks of Folkestone look like, I have no idea what the streets are like.

"I have no idea if the police are going to stop me, or arrest me, or if I'll get permission."

Up to 250 people will strip to have their photos taken by Mr Tunick, with each person being in front of the camera for about 30 seconds, he said.

Each shot will be displayed in a key fob viewfinder and a fast-moving slideshow of the naked images will be projected onto a mirrored mosaic wall at the gallery.

Brigitte Orasinski, director of George's House Gallery, said: "He makes such democratic artwork.

"It's instantly recognisable, even those who aren't as interested in the arts as others know his works."

Mr Tunick said: "I just hope everyone has a great time, and lots of people sign up to participate and be part of this traditional, but quite novel, portrait."

Mexico City Thousands gathered in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza in 2007 for a mass naked photo shoot with Tunick
Nudes in Ohio "Nudes in Ohio", photographed in 2004 for the the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, Ohio
Mexico City Spencer Tunick was born in New York but has been refused permission to snap his mass nudes in the city

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