Below is an entry from the Naked
States Tour Journal by artist Spencer
Tunick and his partner Kristin Bowler. The
journal documents Tunick's
five-month, cross-country tour, in which
he convinced thousands of Americans of every
race, shape, and body size to pose nude in
public. This entry was written about the
photo shoot at jam band Phish’s Great Went
event in August 1997 at the former Loring
Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine.
The Phish Experience—huge.
There are so many people here. Hippies galore!
Long hair, hair kerchiefs, granny dresses, halter
tops straight across the front open in the back.
Big pants dragging on the ground, dread locks,
braids, friendly people. Everyone is selling
stuff. Hemp chokers, beads, indian print dresses,
t-shirts, beers, sodas, grilled cheeses, pipes,
pizza. Anything you may need to make a complete
transformation from straight real world type
to free flowing, dancing, smiling, Phish fan.
Complete cultural immersion. What brings
60,000 people from all over the country to this
remote town in Maine to come and create a small,
no—a HUGE culture?
As Phish performs,
everyone is dancing and it seems like the music
goes inside and flows through the mass of fans.
While the fans are pushing their enormous amount
of adoring energy towards the band onstage, we
are up on a platform above everyone. What an
amazing way to experience this whole event. Hope
the weather holds out.
The next day was
all rain and cold. I am so happy to get out of
here. Flooded tents, wet clothes, shoes, soggy
dreads. The mood changes and I am not enough
a part of this to submerge into the hard, uncomfortable
aspect of camping to experience the positive.
Thank god for VIP tags.
We have no idea
how many will show up to pose. This is definitely
the most appropriate place for this project as
so many people are open to the idea and are happy
to get naked! After the show, they put up
a message on the giant screens about where and
when to pose. How many will come?
Spencer has picked
the ideal place to shoot. At last, no police
will bother us. In fact, there are 10 mounted
police ready to help us out, a crew of other
security, various other crews running around
organizing and moving equipment. Spencer and
I are in a cherry picker and Spencer is shouting
to Jonathan P. The people start coming over to
pose and there are A LOT of them.
I can tell Spencer
is a little nervous. The energy and excitement
is high, everyone is high on what is about to
happen, and everyone strips. The models are laughing,
yelling, smiling, walking and jumping. It feels
good to be outside and the sun is shining.
It takes a little
longer to get everyone to fill the frame, but
the models love it. They are doing the wave and
celebrating their nakedness. Finally—thanks to
Jon P., who helped us organize and promote the
tour and who is now naked as well—everyone is
lying down and amazingly quiet for just a moment.
Spencer shoots them lying down, an incredible
moment. Afterwards, no one is in a hurry to get
dressed. Everyone is thanking Spencer.