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Meet the New Generation of British Nudists

Laura Pannack is a photographer from London who photographed a community of young British nudists. As one of the nudists told Laura, "
I was drawn in by the great equalizing aspect of nudism. All other things are held equal, when nude. A rich person...

Laura Pannack is a photographer based in London who spent some time with a community of young British nudists—people looking to increase their sense of freedom through being naked.

As one of the nudists told Laura, " I was drawn in by the great equalizing aspect of nudism. All other things are held equal, when nude. A rich person appears no different than a poor person, or a really fashionable person appears no different to someone who has to make do with the clothing they have. In the naturist environment, I feel like I’m their equal—I’m not better than them, nor they are better than me, we are just human. By removing clothing, I feel a barrier between people is gone and I’m more able to meet and to talk to others without the feeling that I or they have something to hide.”


I gave her a phone call to find a little more about the country's latest generation of nudists.

VICE: How did you discover this nudist camp?
Laura Pannack: I had just finished my studies and I was looking for new projects, when I came across a club for young English nudists. I attended for over a year and met everyone. The club organizes an annual summer camp, but most of the members were between 30 and 40 years old. I wanted to photograph younger people.

So I researched and found young nudists throughout the UK. I traveled to meet with each of them, all around the country. Then I introduced them to the nudist club. It was quite a mission. But I love knowing that people who have nothing in common except their interest in nudism can get together. In all, the project took me three years.

How many people live in that camp?
About 40 in total. But I photographed about a dozen. In the photos, there are more men than women. Is this the case in reality?
Yes, the club is mostly made up of men. I wanted to add women to make it more balanced and it was hard. But when I thought about it, I realised that I didn't want to mislead people.

What do these nudists do in real life?
There are students, a soldier, a former prison guard. One reason I wasn't able to photograph some of the people was their jobs: One is a teacher, for example.

Turns out nudists still really love tennis.

Do you think they are trying to get a message across through nudity?
They all have their own reasons for being nude. For some, it's a way of life they've developed since childhood—it's completely natural. Others are very invested and see naturism as an ideology. For the majority of nudists, it is a hobby and they find it funny. There are others, a final category, who lead a "double life." This is a total escape for them—some of the people I met are married and their partners still don't know they're nudists.


Did any of them seem particularly proud of their own naked bodies?
What seems common among them is that the feeling of being naked is more important than physical appearance. What I have learned in doing this is that you forget your body. People are there to enjoy the feeling of being naked, not to judge each other. I photographed a young man who was particularly overweight. He was very self-conscious about his body. He decided to become a nudist to attempt to accept himself and be happy.

You yourself got naked. Did you choose to do it or was it compulsory?
A little of both. The first time I wanted to remove my clothes to better understand the appeal. Also, I really wanted to win the trust of my subjects. I wanted them to know that I wasn't there to expose them. But for some naturists, there was no way they would let me photograph them while I was dressed. Also, in a nudist camp, you feel much more vulnerable when you wear clothes. You become the minority. See more of Laura's work at her website. More pictures below.