Captivating pictures show naked models disappearing into nature – but can you spot them?

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Acclaimed body painter, Trina Merry, paints illusions of models who seem to be disappearing in nature. Credit: Mediadrumimages/ Trina Merry/ Magazine Features
Acclaimed body painter, Trina Merry, paints illusions of models who seem to be disappearing in nature. Credit: Mediadrumimages/ Trina Merry/ Magazine Features
  • The breath-taking series of images featured painted people as they appeared to blend effortlessly into the beautiful backdrops of some of America’s most stunning National Parks.
  • In the mind-bending collection, models who have had their bodies expertly painted by hand can be spotted as they camouflage into the likes of the Reflection Lakes at Mount Rainier National Park, Biscuit Basin Thermal Pools, Yellowstone National Park and Oxbow Bend in Grand Tetons National Park.
  • The incredible displays are the work of acclaimed body painter Trina Merry (40), who is currently based in Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • For her latest project, Trina was inspired by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic lockdowns that have seen many people spend more time in nature.

Trina has travelled the world painting people into famous landmarks and locations, but after shielding since March, she yearned to get outdoors and indulge in her talent and passion for body painting whilst visiting places she had never been able to explore before. Trina and her 11 models, who wore KN95 masks for the shoot, braved freezing temperatures and early starts – arriving at the location before sunrise to start painting, which took around an hour and a half - to make her vision a reality. The shoots took place over one month.

naked models, body painting, art
Acclaimed body painter, Trina Merry, paints illusions of models who seem to be disappearing in nature. All images by Mediadrumimages/ Trina Merry/ Magazine Features

“During the lockdowns, people have spent more time outdoors and in nature. And the more that we encounter nature, the more we want to care for it,” said Trina. “This year has been an interesting one. Humankind has been fragile - the very air we breathe could be dangerous, but then again, nature has also been incredibly fragile this year due to climate change. “I had to cancel my pieces at Yosemite because of the intense wildfires, and we couldn’t even see the mountain at Mt. Rainier because of the wildfire smoke and fog.

naked models, body painting, art

READ MORE | This artist purposely ruined R1.3 million worth of Chanel purses, Rolex watches and other designer items - the reason will intrigue you

“I’ve self-isolated in my house since March, and I just wanted to get out and make some art. I’ve had moments where I just haven’t felt like myself because I couldn’t express myself like I normally can. I’m used to travelling and being on the street, body painting nude people, so having a pandemic hit where I can’t be within six-feet of another person has had a big impact on me," said Trina.

“As the COVID-19 case numbers dropped, and parts of the country had less than five active cases per county, it felt like the right moment to do this outdoor, masked series. I’ve dreamed about doing something like this for years but am usually so booked up in the fall with commissions. Having this break has allowed me to bring this art idea to life, and I’m grateful for the experience. Because of COVID-19, I had to be selective about who I worked with. Some exceptional moments were getting to have a Washington State art adventure with Ann Marie Ogle, my ride or die, who I’ve known since the first grade."

naked models, body painting, art

READ MORE | Meet the hairstylist who's used her career as an artist to weave the most extraordinary stories about black women

We both turned forty this year, so it’s been epic. I painted her at Mt. Rainier and Hoh Rainforest, the quietest place in North America. “My boyfriend Matthew Simmons came to most of the locations, and he even stripped down at Yellowstone’s Biscuit Basin and got painted.” Trina went onto discuss the extensive preparation and research that went into the project.

naked models, body painting, art

“First, I just did some dreaming and researched different parks. I printed out images and turned my wall into a giant vision board,” she said. “Then I started virtually navigating all the logistics of casting, travel, accommodations, survival gear, finding where I would actually shoot and directions to hike there without cell reception. It was challenging to do this all remotely, but we did our best. “When we got to most of the parks, we would take time to scout the locations I researched to see what they looked like. For example, there’s a beautiful image Ansel Adams took at Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park.

READ MORE | PICS: These breathtaking body painting designs from an African festival will leave you inspired

“However, because it was taken eighty years ago, the trees have grown up and covered the river, so you don’t see the same through lines, but since I’m a body painter, I thought it would be cool to reimagine that place as Adams saw it and paint the river on the model but still reflect what the place looks like today merging art history with this contemporary happening."

naked models, body painting, art

Some of my research on the locations really paid off, and the most memorable was at Artist Point. I had read that on a sunny day, we’d see a rainbow around nine-am, and it was so magical to see in person. “[On the day], I would start to paint thirty minutes before sunrise and do everything we could to keep the models warm using emergency blankets, hand warmers, clothing, blankets, hot beverages. “This was challenging because some mornings it snowed or my body paint would freeze up, but overall, we had models with the absolute best attitudes who did various breathing and movement exercises to keep their bodies warm. I could not have done this series without them. “Each painting took around an hour and a half, then I’d take the final photo, and we’d go grab brunch or run back to check out of a hotel. “Overall, the experience felt fun and free and was a healing experience. I think we are all so excited to have something positive we could focus on during this time.”

Do you have a story to share with us. Get in touch with us here.

Credit: Mediadrumimages/ Trina Merry/ Magazine Features

Follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE