Parkour athlete and Frankfurt native Jason Paul photographed world parkour champion Tim Shieff last winter. Eight of the photos are now being sold to raise money for British chef Jamie Oliver’s charity called Fifteen, which helps disadvantaged teenagers, Shieff’s manager, Sebastian Murphy, told ABC News in a written statement.
Coincidentally, Oliver is known to many as the “naked chef” after becoming famous for once striping on a TV cooking show.
Taken with some of London's finest architecture as backdrop, the photos are simply intended “to make something beautiful and unique,” Shieff, 26, told ABC News. “I think that to make art you have to take risks. I have a different perspective on risk than other people do.”
The project started when Shieff and Paul, 23, who both live in London, were traveling in Greece. “During a photo shoot, I thought modern clothes didn’t fit with the antique Greek surroundings,” Shieff said. “So I just took my clothes off. It worked really well, so we decided to do the same in London.”
“I was hanging on my fingertips, naked,” Shieff said.
Such a photo would not have been possible if the photographer had not been a professional parkour athlete as well, Shieff said. “He would sit on top on buildings, and he knew how to position himself,” he added.
Staying long enough in each position was also a challenge, Shieff said. “The longer I was there hanging, the better it was for him,” he said, “but also the more risky it became because I would get tired.”
Regarding the nakedness, Shieff said it was an aesthetic decision.
“People may take offence but it’s not sexual in any way,” he said. “I liked the contrast between the brutal architecture and a statuesque body.”