2015 PROJECT NAKED Chapter 11 – September – Hampstead Heath

Sprawling across 320 hectares, Hampstead Heath is among London's greatest green spaces. It entered the history books more than a thousand years ago when a servant was granted land there by Ethelred the Unready. In the spirit of Ethelred, when 2015 PROJECT NAKED visited the heath we had no plan except to turn up and see what happens.

The weather forecast had been bad for the day of the shoot. Even so, I was joined by 12 people determined to celebrate their bodies and make art together. I'm deeply grateful to them all, and relieved they were spared the worst conditions.

We staged shoots in two discreet areas. The first was in a wide clearing against a big sky of characterful clouds. I asked my volunteers to line up and cast their bodies into interesting shapes that would give a sense of organic flow and connection. We practised a few times while clothed, and then reprodced our haphazard bodyscapes as nudes.

For our second location we moved to an area of high grass with trees for our backdrop. In this setting I wanted bodies to be once more haphazard, either emerging or semi-revealed or perhaps only glimpsed within the grasses. Some lay down while others sat or kneeled. The effect was quite ethereal.

I was 7 years-old the last time I took to Hampstead Heath. The passing years have been barely a moment in the history of this ancient land. The heath remains unchanged and so does my innocent enjoyment of time spent there.

Video documentation thanks to Cy Wol


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