An Interview with the Naked Handstander

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Helen Winter

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Written by: Helen Winter

Saving the World with One Naked Handstand at a Time

There just seems to be something compelling about travelling the world and being upside down. Not long ago, we all marvelled at Alex Wein who photographed himself doing headstands across the United States, but now there’s a new contender in town and he is taking it to another level.  We bring you… the Naked Handstander.

Handstanding Nude Around the World

Photographed on top of the Troltunga in Norway, the Great Wall of China, and a frozen lake in Iceland, the Naked Handstander can be seen bearing all in some incredible landscapes and cities all over the world.  The first naked handstand took place in 2009, and five years later he is still going strong.

“My favourite country so far has been Iceland, the scenery there is spectacular and extreme,” the Naked Handstander told us. “A friend travelling with me usually takes the photos, we try to do it early in the morning or when there are few people around.”

Despite his best efforts though, he explained that his nudity occasionally gets him some unwanted attention from the law. “I have met the Dutch police once and have ridden in an Italian police car. The friendly Dutch police let me go on my merry way and the Italians.. well, that case is still being processed so I probably shouldn’t say too much about it.”

Legal implications aside, the identity of the Naked Handstander remains a mystery.  Like some sort of nudist superhero, he does not reveal where he is from or what he looks like… well the front half anyway… and he’s even fighting for a cause.

Handstanding up for a cause

The Naked Handstander first began to take his intriguing shots as a means of (hand) standing up to Planned Obsolescence. Defined as a process adopted by some manufacturers, Planned Obsolescence is the act of producing an item that will go out of date or fashion, or break easily so that the consumer is forced to repurchase the product.

“I don’t think people understand what it is and how seriously it affects the world we live in,” he explains. “You can see it in practice anywhere in the world, from disposable coffee cups to iPhones. It’s everywhere.”

The Naked Handstander hopes that his photos will encourage people to think about the planet we live on, and the consequences this type of manufacturing is having on the environment. “These days people have such a short attention span,” he says, “so I figured that if I could do something slightly out there and capture their attention then I could use that moment to promote the cause.”

Although he’s not sure where he’s off to next, the Naked Handstander plans to continue his adventures and enlighten people about his message. All the photos are uploaded to his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where images of his upside down quest are posted. For any backpackers wanting to find this mystery man on their journeys, just keep an eye on the ‘last sighting’ to see if you can predict where the next stunt-in-the-buff is going to take place.

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