12/01/12 My Daughter The Teenage Nudist, C4

Before Xmas I went to the Clothing Optional Tea Party/Body Positive Photo Shoot at Islington Mill, and the subsequent art exhibition at Kraak Gallery. This was billed as a celebration of positive body image:

In day to day life we rarely see non-sexualised naked people. The times we do see people naked or semi naked tends to be on TV and in adverts, and these images are mainly airbrushed and unrealistic. This leads to us all having unrealistic standards of beauty and what bodies should look like. It’s time to be proud of whatever body you have, and kick crash diets and holding your stomach in once and for all. Love your body! We will be making banners with positive body image slogans, taking photos, sketching nudes and creating art inspired by the above themes. All the art made on this day will be displayed in a free art show and clothing optional tea party on September the 26th. Clothing is optional, some guests will be fully naked and some will be fully clothed with everything in-between. Undress to whatever degree you feel comfortable. A film crew from Channel 4 will be present, they are filming for a new documentary about nudity and body image. Nobody will be filmed or photographed without their consent. All shapes sizes and genders welcome.

Well, Channel 4 did film the event and the subsequent art show, and some of the footage was eventually used in “My Daughter The Teenage Nudist”. But they cut almost all the shots of the body positive tea party and only used the footage taken at the art show. Somewhere in the production process the idea of making a documentary about positive body image and welcoming all shapes sizes was dropped and instead they focused on the attempts of Young British Naturists to recruit Mollie (age 18) and Alex (age 25) to the naturist movement

Mollie and Alex are part of a growing group of teens and twentysomethings embracing the world of public nudity – a contemporary phenomenon that’s been driven by social networking sites such as Facebook as well as niche websites like Naked Vegan Cooking. They are on a quest to normalise nudity, question the media’s obsession with the body beautiful, and encourage other young people to liberate themselves by simply going naked – in the streets, in cafes or at art shows. The new nudists are keen to take the nudist lifestyle beyond the old fashioned naturist clubs. So why is this pastime increasing in popularity and what do the parents think about their child revealing all in the most public of places?

I didn’t notice any attempt to answer C4’s own question “why is this pastime increasing in popularity” although Mollie and her mum were seen discussing Mollie’s desire to be nude in public

My FB friend Sean nicely summed up the program:

It could have been simply an excuse for a tits and arse fest (nothing actually wrong with that, per se, just not here), but they did a pretty decent job. The individuals and their personal journeys came across very well as did many of the social and political issues, albeit to a lesser extent.
Huge kudos to my lovely new friends Jess Luke Alexandra who acquitted themselves beautifully.

As for my part in the program: although my car is clearly seen parked outside the art gallery,  I only appear briefly in the program towards the end! (at Kraak Gallery talking to one of the artists who sketched the models at Islington Mill)

Body Positive art show, Kraak Gallery, Manchester (I’m on the right)

Clothing Optional Tea Party/Body Positive Photo Shoot!

Together with several other Spencer Tunick veterans, I attended the Clothing Optional Tea Party last Wednesday at Islington Mill, Salford. The event was organised by members of Naked Vegan Cooking, “a blog full of delicious, easy to cook vegan recipes and beautiful, naked bodies and not an airbrush in sight. We believe in tasty food and positive body image.”

I’m not sure, but I think the person directing the poses for the life drawing and photos may have been Agata Alcaniz (apologies if I have this wrong). We began with some body painting, then created some Spencer Tunick-inspired poses for the artists to sketch and photograph. Specer is renowned for his mass-nudes installations often arranged in geometric patterns or with bodies arranged in waves or curves. For our first set-up the men lay down on their sides on the floor, packed close together, with the women in rows behind us. In the second set-up, we arranged ourselves into rows with the tallest in the rows at the back and the shortest at the front, then we held each other shoulder-to-shoulder leaning forward at right angles.

As I took part in the set-ups I dont have photos but one of the artists let me copy her sketch of the first set-up (I’m in the centre)

Mass nudes, reclining

 For the third set-up, we stood in pairs or small groups as if in converstaion. As I was with my good friend Karen, I forgot we were meant to be posing and had a lively discussion with her! Here is a sktetch, by the same artist as the one above

From l-r: me, uknown, Karen, unknown

During a lull, we went upstais to another studio where I posed for a few photots:

Some of the art created at the party will be displayed in a free art show and clothing optional tea party on September the 26th, at Kraak Studio