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Berkeley...getting naked to save tree grove.

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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-18-07 01:53 AM
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Berkeley...getting naked to save tree grove.
<snip>

Seventy-eight performance artists, models, protesters and their supporters stripped down for the camera in a grove of oak trees at UC Berkeley that could fall to make room for an athletic training center.

<snip>

Only five nudists actually climbed the trees. Everyone else found it more prudent to lie on the ground.

San Francisco photographer Jack Gescheidt arranged the nude photo shoot as part of his "Tree Sprit Project," a series of photos showing naked people in and around large trees.

"What I do is show people at the most vulnerable -- naked -- with trees to illustrate the relationship and beauty of nature," he said. "I hope to do a quiet, reverential photo of people and trees. . . . Humans are drawn to trees. They are important to us in ways that can be difficult to describe in words. My work is all about recognizing and capturing the power of that connection."

His photos tend to have an artistic, even reverential, tone, and this is the first project to be so overtly political.

"The people up in those trees are not crazy, they are doing something beautiful and important," Gescheidt said. "They don't need to destroy this grove."

<snip>

Adriana Echandi, 18, said she was excited but nervous about her first foray into public nudity -- so much so that she would not say where she lives or where she goes to school.

"I didn't know what to expect," she said. "I'm glad it's warming up."

<snip>

Shawn Alexander, who came from Fresno to visit her daughter Madison at Cal, was a bit surprised to see naked people in trees.

"I can confirm there is nothing like this going on Fresno," she said with a laugh.

Her daughter could only shrug and say, "This is the perfect 'only in Berkeley moment' to show to your mom."

<snip>

"I'm having too much fun," she said. "This is liberating. I feel totally free. I recommend that everyone try getting naked in a big tree sometime."

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/17...





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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-18-07 01:59 AM
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1. Florida keeps trying to be the "crazy state" and California keeps blowing them away
Of course you don't want to see an all nude protest in Ft Walton Beach. It would not be pretty.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-18-07 04:27 AM
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2. I think these photos are beautiful and moving!
And I think the artist has accomplished is purpose: "What I do is show people at the most vulnerable -- naked -- with trees to illustrate the relationship and beauty of nature. I hope to do a quiet, reverential photo of people and trees. . . . Humans are drawn to trees. They are important to us in ways that can be difficult to describe in words. My work is all about recognizing and capturing the power of that connection."

He's right--the attraction of humans to trees is difficult to describe in words--and his use of the contrast between vulnerable, naked human flesh, and the sturdy, supportive branches of trees, and that ripple of bodies in photo #3--like a layer of autumn leaves--expresses this feeling brilliantly. Trees feel like protective spirits. There is something so comforting about them. In olden times, people believed that the trees spirits in the forest were responsible for the fertility of the farm lands--a belief that may reflect early human knowledge of the connection between forests and control of water (holding hillsides in place against flooding) and attracting water, actually creating a moist climate. And now we know that they are also "carbon sinks"--essential parts of the lungs of the planet, a bulwark against pollution and global warming. But I think it is more than a practical thing. The Druids believed that there as a "Radiant Door" to enlightenment within oak trees. In the redwood forest, the trees grow to 300 feet tall--amazing giants--but have very shallow roots and no taproot. How do such giants remain upright at all, but especially in wild winter storms? They hold each other up by a vast system of horizontal connecting roots--a network of mutual support. The comfort and security you feel in a redwood forest, with these giants soaring above you, some of them thousands of years old, is enhanced underground, by what is beneath your feet, the whole thing--the forest--holding itself together. And then there are the sweet little trees--apple trees, lemon trees, almond trees, that feed us--and all the other kinds of trees, which acquire strength over a long period of time, adding layer upon layer of bark. Maybe they represent time to us. We plant a tree that will mature for our children or grandchildren. Trees speak of the future, but also of the past--and in the case of the redwoods, the far past. A tree that began growing at the time of Christ! What is a home without a tree? They go together--the home and its protective spirit. And, deep, deep in the past, we lived in that spirit, and had no other home.

It seems right somehow to see naked people in a tree, or beneath one, like a forest carpet. Why? I do not know. But the photographer has caught that...whatever it is.
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