The artist recruits 200 for nude photography near the Dead Sea in Israel

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A group of 200 male and female volunteers have stripped naked and taken white body paint for an artistic installation near the Dead Sea

JERUSALEM – A group of 200 male and female volunteers took off naked and dressed in white body paint for an artistic installation designed to draw attention to the shrinking Dead Sea.

They posed on Sunday for American photographer Spencer Tunick, who has done similar installations in other exotic locations around the world, including French wine country, a Swiss glacier and a beach in South Africa. The shooting was promoted by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

“My visit to Israel was an experience for me and I am always happy to return here and photograph in the only country in the Middle East that allows art like this,” said Tunick. He made a previous installation at the Dead Sea in 2011.

The volunteers gathered early in the afternoon on Sunday. They disturbed themselves and smeared their bodies with white paint in the desert outside the Israeli city of Arad. The shooting lasted for about three hours, with the artist placing the volunteers and the camera.

The organizers hope that the installation will draw attention to the importance of preserving the Dead Sea. The saline water mass at the lowest point of the earth has been steadily declining in recent decades as Israel and its neighbors have diverted upstream water sources for agriculture.

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