Laura Pannack is a fine art photographer based in London. In 2010, her work received first prize in the Portrait Singles category of the World Press Photo awards. This work is from her series on Young British Naturists (YBN), a group for UK naturists aged between 16 to 30. She writes:
When I came across YBN, I was fascinated with understanding reasons why these young people wanted to belong to a group exposing such human vulnerability. I wanted to know why they felt the need to be naked or be part of a group where this was not only acceptable but also encouraged. I soon realized that naturism is more than just about being naked, it is a philosophy of life with physical, psychological, environmental, social and moral beliefs. Some would classify naturism as a religion.
YBN arrange camping activities and outings to meet and socialise with like- minded young people. At events, members get to know each other, play sports and relax. The group accepts all types of individuals, there are no rules; members can be any of race, religion, profession, political preference, economic status and need no specific skill or talent; individuals are accepted just as long as one is under 30 and has an interest in naturism. Perhaps this complete acceptance is one of the keys to its success.
Nudity is often associated with sex. However I discovered that this could not be farther from the truth within naturism. The human body becomes almost an irrelevance, something with which they become almost unaware of and is their own norm.
In order to fully understand my subject and gain the trust and respect of the people I wished to photograph I felt it was essential for me to cross over to their side and be naked. By placing myself in a vulnerable situation , the connection with my subjects was one of mutual understanding and equality. This ongoing project consists of young British naturists aged between 17 and 30. I aim to capture them as individuals, not just naturists.