By 9 A.M. Saturday, the text messages had already started coming: “How was it?”
How was it?
It was amazing. The landscape was magnificent. The Dead Sea water didn’t burn as I had remembered from 7th grade. The people were relaxed and in good spirits. In short, it was an experience of a lifetime.
Although we live in a world in which the brand makes the product, where people go to great lengths to look good and where we live in fear of the appearance of one more wrinkle or a bulge around the waist, there was none of that attitude Satruday when Spencer Tunick did his photo shoot of 1,200 naked people against the backdrop of the Dead Sea.
Everyone was attired the same, wrinkles and all, and no one could care less. They just came in different sizes.
"Everybody was beautiful," said one woman with gleaming eyes who was standing in line for the restrooms. “All the things that bother us so much on a daily basis,” she explained, “just added to everyone’s beauty.” And she was right. It took me exactly five minutes from when the bras and underwear came off to stop staring at everyone.
About 1,200 people took part in the photo shoot and all of them were created equal. They were all naked. And they all came here to draw attention to the sorry state of the Dead Sea.
It didn’t start so ideally the night before, however. Everyone was supposed to be at the Tel Aviv central train station at midnight, in order to depart for the Dead Sea at 1 A.M.
Because everyone had to identify themselves and get checked off a list, the first bus left at 1:30, and the last one a little after 3. Despite the complaints, however, there was something exciting about the sight of all these people, some in their 70s, others, young people of 20-plus and middle-aged folks, aging beautiful people, others in dreadlocks and a few who looked like they worked in hi-tech. I even saw the father of an elementary school classmate, though I didn’t go say hello.
Most of us slept on the way to the Dead Sea. When we got there, Tunick’s assistants divided us into two groups. Tunick got on a ladder and with the aid of a megaphone, thanked us for coming. Then it was explained to us that there would be three different backdrops. One in the water, a second on land and a third featuring Dead Sea mud.
Then things got underway. First people stripped to their underwear. And then it happened. Someone took off his underwear. Then a woman removed her bra. All of a sudden everyone was nude, and it really felt OK.
First one picture. Then a second and so on. And hovering overhead, the buzz of some unexpected curiosity seekers. (See accompanying article). After all the pictures were taken, it was back onto the buses.
If anyone asks you if you would like to undress in front of 1,000 other people, say yes. Things like this just don’t happen every day.
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