To raise awareness of skin cancer, American photographer Spencer Tunick photographed nearly 2,500 nude Australians at Sydney’s Bondi Beach. The photo shoot/art event—part of the “Strip Off for Skin Cancer” campaign—also paid homage to lives lost to skin cancer last year in Australia.
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On November 26, Tunick, a New York–based artist known for staging mass nude photo shoots around the world, guided sunscreen-soaked participants into various poses before many took to the sea for a cooling dip. It was a clear Saturday morning, just days before Australia’s first day of summer, December 1 .
In collaboration with the Australian charity Skin Check Champions, the naked art installation aimed to raise awareness of melanoma, Australia’s fourth most common type of cancer. It is estimated that 17,756 Australians have been diagnosed with skin cancer in 2022 and 1,281 will die of the disease.
“We have an opportunity to raise awareness about skin checks, and I’m honored…to come here, make my art and just celebrate the body and protection,” Tunick told Reuters.
“We gathered in nothing but our skin, watching the first rays of light creep over the horizon of Bondi Beach, standing with respectful strength, honouring all those who’ve been killed or done battle with our ‘national cancer,’ knowing that we will be the generation to stop it,” Tunick wrote in an Instagram post.
Participant Robyn Linder admitted to Reuters that she felt “secretly terrified” the night before the photo shoot, thinking to herself, What have I done? She bravely cast aside nerves, Linder recalled, adding: “But it was great, everyone was a really good vibe, everyone was really respectful and it just felt really fun.”
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Cancer Health’s Melanoma Basics offers more information on this type of cancer:
The main risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. People who spend a lot of time outdoors and individuals with blond or red hair and pale skin are at greatest risk. Blistering sunburns at a young age increase the lifetime risk of melanoma. Avoiding the sun, wearing clothes that cover the skin and using sunscreen can reduce the likelihood of developing melanoma.
Melanoma is most likely to appear on the chest, back, arms, legs, neck or face. It may also develop on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, under the nails, on mucous membranes or in the eyes. If it goes untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, lungs, and brain; the process of spreading is known as metastasis.
The most common sign of melanoma is an unusual mole or dark spot on the skin, but most moles are not cancer. New or changing moles should be reported to your doctor. Look for moles that have these characteristics:
A: asymmetrical moles
B: moles with irregular or ragged borders
C: moles that contain different colors
D: moles that are more than a quarter inch in diameter
E: moles that are evolving, or changing in size, shape or appearance
To learn more, click #Melanoma. You’ll find headlines such as “The Changing Melanoma Landscape,” “FDA Approves At-Home Therapy for Melanoma Patients With Vitiligo,” and “Artificial Intelligence & Melanoma Detection: Closing the Gaps.”