Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SF Chronicle: Standing naked among the trees

Protesters sans clothes to have picture taken in embattled Berkeley oak grove

Carolyn Jones

Dozens of naked people are expected to converge on an embattled oak grove in Berkeley on Saturday for an artistic photography shoot.  San Francisco photographer Jack Gescheidt plans to take pictures of naked people posing with the oaks, redwoods, laurels and other trees next to Memorial Stadium. About eight protesters have been perched in the trees since Dec. 2, hoping to derail the University of California's plan to remove some of the trees to build an athletic training center.  The photo will be part of Gescheidt's Tree Spirit Project, a collection of mostly black-and white-images of naked people draped across, climbing, dancing around, reclining on and otherwise worshipping trees. His work has appeared in numerous galleries and publications.  Gescheidt approached the tree-sitters last week about including the oak grove in his Tree Spirit Project.  "It's his thing, but we're happy to participate in his vision," said protester Mike Kelly, noting that some protesters might disrobe for the photo.  The naked people are volunteers who support "Tree Spirit's mission to deepen our connection to and reverence for nature," according to Gescheidt's Web site.  The naked people might encounter more than tree-sitters, however. In 1992 UC banned nudity on campus in the wake of the highly-publicized au naturel jaunts of student Andrew Martinez, also known as Naked Guy.


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