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June 04, 2000 07:22am
Mass Nude Photo Shoot in New York
Source: AP

(NEW YORK, NY) -- A day after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt to stop them, 150 flabby, thin, tattooed, pierced, pale, sunburned and hairy people posed nude under a bridge.

Photographer Spencer Tunick won the right to carry on the photo shoot beneath the Williamsburg Bridge when the high court rejected the city's request to hear the case.

The mass disrobing, which took place shortly before sunrise Sunday near the East River, was viewed by many as a symbol of artistic freedom.

Tunick, who has been arrested five times since 1995 for staging nude public photo shoots in New York, called it a victory for ``any contemporary artist working with the body.''

He sued the city last summer after dozens of officers showed up at a photo shoot to arrest the participants. Tunick canceled the session and claimed in court that his constitutional rights had been violated.

The city argued that New York law criminalizes public nudity, but Tunick maintained that state law does not prohibit nude photography.

On May 19, a federal appeals court in Manhattan agreed with him, ruling that he had a First Amendment right to take his unusual photos.

Tunick said the photos taken Sunday depict ``a living organism of hundreds of bodies forming a landscape, the relationship between the anonymity of public space and the human body.''

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