Freedom of nudity celebrated in new photo exhibition of naked festival goers

Where have all the flowers gone exhibition
From Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Image credit: Tom Hunter)

A makeshift photo booth had been set up at Glastonbury Festival in the summers of 2017 and 2019 by artist Tom Hunter. Inspired by the esthetic of the 60s summer of love spirit, Hunter asked festival attendees to embrace the freedom of nudity.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone is the title of this nudity project and was published as a photo book by Hunter in 2017. The series will have portraits exhibited next month at the Martin Parr Foundation from 23 June until 10 July 2022.

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Do you recall posing nude in a photo booth at Glastonbury festival during the summer of 2017 or 2019? Too intoxicated to remember? Well there's a chance that you may be featured in a new upcoming exhibition titled Where Have All The Flowers Gone. But don't worry - we've included the censored images in this article, though, the fully nude versions of these portraits will be the ones on display at the exhibition.

Artist Tom Hunter is based in East London and uses both photography and film to create his portraits. He's an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society with an Honorary Doctorate obtained from the University of East London, so don't worry, your nude portraits are in safe respected hands.

From Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Image credit: Tom Hunter)

 Hunter has been known for his interesting social documentary projects, investigating alternative communities and contemporary music scenes with experimental cultures both in London and across Europe. His nude portrait series Where Have All The Flowers Gone was said to be inspired by his mum’s photographs that she had taken at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 on a Kodak Box Brownie. 

A selection of Hunter's mum's (Sheelagh Hunter)'s images will be included in the exhibition with an aim to create a contemporary vision of today’s festival culture whilst evoking the same nostalgic and historical view of that first Summer of Love that Sheelagh experienced.

From Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Image credit: Tom Hunter)

The small photo booth that Hunter had constructed at Glasto was made using MDF sheets, and the artist is said to have used a medium format camera in the classical tradition of 19th Century portrait photographers. Hunter's assistant, Hannah Wiebe, ventured into the festival crowds to invite participants into the booth when it was installed in 2017. Two years later in 2019, Hunter returned with another assistant, Claire Loussouam whereby the pair set up the booth in the Lost Horizon sauna, a nudist area in the Green Fields of the festival. 

Although, this time around, both Hunter and Loussouam were naked themselves in keeping with the environment and spirit of the project. Having set up the camera and tripod in the field, freshly steamed festival goers were supposedly driven to the camera and "photo booth" by sheer curiosity.

From Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Image credit: Tom Hunter)

‘I’ve never made photographs naked before, but it had to be done in the Lost Horizons sauna field, where everyone else was naked, it would have been unnatural to be wearing clothes." Shares Hunter himself, "The only drawback was the harsh Somerset sun, which meant no mad dogs and English men at midday."

Martin Parr of the Martin Parr Foundation where the exhibition is to be held shared that: "We have seen many photographs taken at Glastonbury festival over the years, but none as memorable as Tom Hunter’s nude portraits. They are literally quite revealing, but also convey a great sense of dignity, pride and joy in those they depict".

From Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Image credit: Tom Hunter)

Tom Hunter will return to Glastonbury Festival once more this summer, and shoot a new series of portraits which will be incorporated into the exhibition.

Be sure to check out the exhibition when it arrives next month in Bristol, UK, at the Martin Parr Foundation. Entry is free between the opening days of Thursday to Sunday. The exhibition will run from 23 June until 10 July. 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.