Prerow, Germany nudist beach

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Reporting Dilemma: Should I Take My Clothes Off?


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What you wear as a reporter matters. You want to blend in. You don’t want your clothes to get in the way of your reporting. When you interview the prime minister, you might wear a suit. When you interview rioting youths, you definitely don’t.

But what do you wear — or not wear — when you’re reporting out a story on nudists?

I was still pondering this question when I arrived for my first appointment at a nudist camp south of Berlin. To my great relief, the guy who gave me a tour, a retired diplomat from former communist East Germany, was fully dressed. (He later admitted that after some deliberation, he had decided to put on clothes because I was a reporter from a United States publication. “I know Americans are a little prudish,” he said with sympathy.)

Things briefly got awkward when my guide introduced me to a fellow nudist, who was sweeping outside his cabin naked and promptly offered us a cup of instant coffee. I had never shaken hands, let alone had a cup of coffee, with a naked stranger before. When I interviewed him, I kept my eyes firmly fixed on his face.

My dilemma then came to a head in Prerow on the Baltic coast, Germany’s most storied nudist beach.

After interviewing a few nude swimmers while still fully dressed myself, I spotted a large family — grandparents, parents and children — running into the water together. They were perfect. Three generations. Naked in the sea.

I really wanted that photograph.

But it felt creepy to shout at them from the shore, fully dressed: “Excuse me, um, can we take a picture of your naked children?”

There was only one way to do this.

I stripped, dived in, swam over to the family and explained to them what we were doing.

Would they be open to being photographed?

“No problem,” said Astrid Lorenz, 39, who comes to this beach every year with her two children and her parents, who are in their 80s. And then she asked me, “Are you a regular here, too?”

I had done it. I was blending in.

Continued… Read full original article…

Source: New York Times

Original publication 1 September, 2019

Posted on NatCorn 25th October 2021

Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.

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