How One Photojournalist Photographed Nudists Without Nudity

Photographer Beck Diefenbach was tasked with recording the legal battles around nudity in San Francisco — while still keeping his images safe for print

nude protestor
nude protestor
Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

If you're not from the Bay Area you might not have heard, but San Francisco is in the midst of a legal upheaval. The city is set to remove the right for public nudity (except at special events), ending the city's long run of tacit endorsement of people wandering around the streets stark naked. So how does a photographer capture these events (and the ensuing nude protests) without falling afoul of their papers nudity rules? Very, very carefully.

Photographer Beck Diefenbach for Reuters has posted an article about how he dealt with photographing protesters stripping off their clothes in City Hall's legislative chambers, while juggling the dual problems of capturing good and newsworthy shots without showing any frontal nudity that might have gotten him in trouble.

Through judicious use of angles and timing, Diefenbach was able to capture the protestors in various states of coverage, showing their defiance without showing their bits. Especially well done was his shot above of an elderly nude gentleman being slowly escorted away by the police, as he couldn't keep up with the rest of the group being hustled away.

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