Thousands strip for Sea of Hull mass nude photograph

Media caption,
Spencer Tunick explains why he got people to pose naked, painted blue

More than 3,000 people have stripped naked and been painted blue to mark Hull's City of Culture next year.

Hull City Council said the art project, named Sea of Hull, was the largest of its kind ever to be staged in the UK.

The work by renowned photographer Spencer Tunick involved 3,200 participants from 20 countries posing in front of various landmarks.

Commissioned by the Ferens Art Gallery, the images will be exhibited during 2017's UK City of Culture events.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Participants braved the chilly summer weather for four hours to take part in the photo shoot
Image caption,
Alfred Gelder Street was a sea of blue nude bodies as 3,200 participants posed for Tunick's project
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
People from all over the UK and 20 other countries joined local participants to pose for Tunick

Thousands of volunteers gathered just before dawn to be daubed with four shades of blue body paint which represented water.

They posed at a number of locations across the city including Queen's Gardens, the Guildhall and the Scale Lane swing bridge, for a photo shoot that lasted about four hours.

One of the participants included 80-year-old Stephane Janssen, from Brussels, who has posed for Tunick on 20 previous occasions.

"It's just aesthetically fantastic. It's beautiful, we are little strokes of paint. Everybody is equal - no race nor sex difference - I mean, everybody is the same, naked...and that's what I love," he said.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Scale Lane bridge, off High Street, was one of the locations
Image caption,
Eighty-year-old Stephane Janssen has posed for Tunick on 20 previous occasions

Sarah Hossack, from Hull, said it was "absolutely fantastic" to be part of the artwork.

"I've been naked since four o'clock this morning. But it was so much fun, so inclusive and just brilliant, like a festival atmosphere. We've all got closer together as people over the last few hours.

"It's just fantastic and just what the city needs."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The blue paint represents water
Image caption,
Volunteers gathered at Queens Gardens just before dawn

The local authority said the installation had attracted "the largest number of participants" in any of Tunick's previous UK artworks, beating Gateshead in 2005 and Salford in 2010.

Tunick said: "The Sea of Hull installation was one of the most fantastic projects I've ever done, and it was inspiring to be able to intertwine the city's maritime heritage against an urban backdrop throughout the whole piece."

Kirsten Simister, curator of art at Ferens Art Gallery, said she was "overwhelmed" by the number of people who took part in the project.

The New York-based artist has created more than 90 similar human installations worldwide, including at the Sydney Opera House, the Place des Arts in Montreal, Mexico City and Munich in Germany.

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