Hundreds brave cold for naked lowry homage photographs

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The Independent Culture

Hundreds of people stripped off and braved the cold in the name of art today as they posed for American artist Spencer Tunick in a park in Salford, in an attempt to reflect the work of LS Lowry.

Naked figures, male and female, young and old, spread out across Peel Park, as Tunick gave them instructions through a loudspeaker from a stepladder at the top of a bank.

The installation, 'Everyday People', focuses on ordinary men and women, referencing the compositional style of the artist known for his 'matchstick men'.

It was commissioned by the LS Lowry gallery to celebrate its tenth birthday.

Tunick has photographed similar pieces at the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Institut Cultura in Barcelona, Spain, as well as at the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Baltic in Gateshead.

Over 4,000 people applied for 1,000 places for 'Everyday People', which is being staged in eight secret locations around Salford and Manchester - four today and four tomorrow.

For each day 500 volunteers are being used, and are transported by heated buses from between each location.

At 8am this morning, the final shoot of the day, the mass of bare bottoms rushed down the banks of the park, where the sun cast shadows through the blossom trees.

Tunick asked the participants to spread out around 20 feet apart, and at times told individual people to move into certain spaces of grass.

He got the crowd to jump up and down and wave their arms about to loosen up and keep warm.

"Are you OK?," he shouted.

"Yeah!," his naked subjects shouted back.

Then when he was happy with the composition, he told the women to look east towards the sun, and the men to face west.

For another shot he asked them to walk about and then freeze, and for another he arranged them in groups around circular flower beds.

Speaking after the event, Tunick said: "I think it went really well. I think we got it. I think the people here in Salford had the intention to make art.

"I feel like I didn't miss anything. I made some really good works here.

"I really like how scattered the bodies were. It's not so much a covering of bodies, but a sprinkling of bodies.

Asked about Peel Park and the association with Lowry, he said: "This is the only location I'm using which is the same as his."

He explained why he is fascinated by the naked human body: "I think being naked creates a new meaning for the background. It creates a relationship between the concrete world and the real world.

"The real world is us and everything around us is temporary."

Victoria Denning, 56, from Birmingham, was one of the participants.

She said: "It was absolutely amazing. It's wonderful how many different shapes and sizes of bodies there are.

"You get so used to seeing a certain shape of body in magazines, and not one single person looked like that.

"Even the first time it felt normal because everyone was doing it and nobody was looking. It was just amazing."

Sean Hayes, 28, from Cheshire, said: "A few years ago I saw his work in Sydney. I wasn't a participant then but I knew I wanted to get involved in the future.

"I'm normally very shy but I wanted to come to this. You've just got to take the plunge.

"I thought it was better than the Sydney one. There was more nature involved.

"All you had to was look around and realise you were part of something really special."