Honestly, when we first brainstormed the cover for the Sex Issue, we were thinking of having only five or six people. I thought most of them would have to be people I knew who would be fine getting naked. But I put out the call on Facebook anyway, just in case.
My inbox was immediately flooded with people wanting to have their naked bits on the cover. All up we had over 50 expressions of interest. That is far too many naked people. I decided we weren’t going to turn any away and, after the inevitable no-shows, we ended up with 24 naked strangers in a room.
We assigned partners completely randomly, putting everyone’s name into a pile drawing them out one by one. As anyone who has ever been assigned a random partner knows, there’s an unavoidably high chance that the awkward chat will peter out quickly into a deathly silence while you wait for the lecturer to end your torture. But it turns out that people who volunteer for naked photo shoots actually have a lot in common. Who knew?
It was a frantic shoot, full of remembering essential things, like ID-ing everyone to make sure they were over 18 (no child pornography charges for me, thank you very much). But everyone was free and accepting and made it easy.
After the shoot, the nude models highjacked the group chat I’d used to organise it all. They decided that they should get naked with each other again, and made plans for a BYO the following week. There was brief talk about finding a restaurant that would let them book a private room and eat naked, but eventually they decided to have a BYO clothed and then have an afterparty at someone’s flat. Which is how I ended up naked in a big group of other naked people all trying really hard not to start an orgy.
Critic has created a nudist community and I am very proud.