This morning at 4am I arrived at the Sydney Opera House, expecting Sydney to be all cynical (a bit like me perhaps) and to have not shown up for the Spencer Tunick photo shoot. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out, a couple of hours later as I walked up the steps of the iconic building, to realise that 5,200 people had turned out of all kinds of body shapes, sizes, ages, genders and sexualities.

The organisers expected 2,500 people so we more than doubled their expectations and it was an amazing and liberating experience. Some would say that my nude body doesn’t need any more liberating, but to have over 5,000 other naked bodies around me was fantastic. Some have said it felt tribal and completely non-judgemental and I would have to agree. They guys would probably argue that the cold weather was doing nothing to help a lot of us and that’s true too, but we were all in the same boat.

It was quite an emotional moment when I realised that, even though this was a Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras event, about 50% of participants were straight (my estimation) and that not a single one of them was concerned about being nude with gays and lesbians. Most people were nervous, some were not. I couldn’t help but think, how many friends were seeing each other nude for the first time? How many people were running into acquaintances unexpectedly at their most vulnerable and how many of them might be more confident in their bodies after the experience.

I’ll happily admit there were people I knew there that I’d been curious to see nude and now I’ve ticked that curiosity off. It’s human nature to have a look I think. I’m glad I took the plunge and joined in. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I loved it.