If you believe the nudist lifestyle belongs to a bygone era, say, the Summer of Love, photographer Laura Pannack has news for you. Naturism, as nudism is also known, is alive and well in the U.K. — among young people.
Pannack admits it came as a surprise when she first heard about the Young British Naturists (YBN), a collective of naturists under 30 who would eventually become the subjects of her photography project by the same name. “I was curious as to why, at such a delicate age, teenagers would be interested in being nude amongst strangers, especially in a country where the weather is usually cold, wet, and miserable,” she says. It turns out, each member of YBN followed a very different route into naturism.
Pannack describes one young man who seemed born for the lifestyle: “He would stroll around nude in any temperature, even snow; it was like he didn't feel the elements.” Meanwhile, another man she photographed joined a naturist club as way to reclaim pride in his body, after years of feeling self-conscious. "[Joining] raised his self-esteem and changed his perspective on his body," Pannack says.
Becoming a naturist is a private decision, but the one thing that remained consistent across the people Pannack met was their openness with one another. There was something freeing about interacting with these young people, she says — without clothes, it’s nearly impossible to jump to conclusions about who someone is before you get to know them: “The time I spent was more about relaxing, accepting, and enjoying the company of others without judgement. Nudity leveled everyone.”
Pannack visited YBN members in their homes and at naturist camps; check out a selection of her (obviously NSFW) photographs, ahead.