To the editors:

I read with interest your article about nude beaches in the Midwest [“Heliotherapy,” September 7]. Why is it that the same people appear in most of the pictures that accompany the article?

Could it be that there are a lot less nudists at the various beaches than the “couple hundred naked people” that the author claims are there? Or could it be that most nudists are afraid to be “exposed” to the non-nudist world? Or is it a combination of these two things?

I believe that it’s true, contrary to what the author states, that nudism does not result in immediate sexual stimulation. At the various nude beaches I have enjoyed in Jamaica, I do not recall ever seeing or having an erection; however, memories of healthy nude females remain etched in my mind years after seeing them.

Nudism is a real kick, but unfortunately given the conservative times we live in, it will continue to be viewed as an aberration by so-called middle America. That’s really a pity.


River North

Mike Tappin replies:

When I was there, perhaps 40 people were on the beach. But:

A. I arrived quite late, and I suspect there were more people there earlier in the day.

B. They knew ahead of time I was coming with cameras, which undoubtedly thinned out the attendance for that particular day.

C. I only shot those who consented to be photographed, which cut down the number of subjects a lot. I didn’t feel the need to show throngs of people; I prefer to go in close and take portraits of individuals, couples, or families.

Finally, I agree with you about the layout. I think too many shots were used of the same people and locations. Three or four of the strongest shots, used larger in the same space, would have been preferable, but I am not involved in that part of the decision making.