Environment

The Bold Way This Instagram Page Gets People Excited About Nature

March 1st 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

The popular Instagram page @getyourassintonature is as primal as it gets.

The account posts images of people stripping down in nature to embrace the outdoors — a surprisingly challenging endeavor in today's technologically obsessed culture — and desexualize the naked body. People seem love this idea, as the page has nearly 27,000 followers as of writing time.

Photographer and Montana State University student Aidan Weltner is behind the page, which has been a project of his for years but only recently manifested in the form of @getyourassintonature on Instagram. People who are 18 and over may send in their photos to become contributors, but due to the high volume of interest, Weltner has implemented specific standards and guidelines for pictures that make the final cut onto the Instagram page. He only accepts photos that include exceptional back stories or lessons because he is constantly flooded with submissions.

Weltner told ATTN: over the phone that he was inspired to launch the project after looking at photos of his friends goofing off with no clothes on at Yellowstone National Park. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that they had done something brilliant.

"Everybody in the world has a butt, except for a couple people," he told ATTN:, adding that media sexualization of nudity has created a taboo and lack of freedom surrounding the body. "I kind of thought about all of these social problems that are going on and how they can be [addressed] with going outside and getting naked. I'd never done it myself, and the first time I did it, I thought, 'holy shit, that was really cool.' I'd lived my entire life thinking that it was so weird to be naked. Everything kind of revolved around money and social praise, and you go outside and there's nobody around to judge you. You feel confident, all of these great things came out of this one moment."

Though he was worried that family and friends would judge him for the project, he said he "took the leap" and it felt "really good to be rebellious" and go forth with his plan. At times, he worries he is "exploiting" the people who submit photos, but says he tries to ensure the page is focused on people's personal stories, not just their rear ends.

"Despite what people may say, everyone has an urge to be outside and everyone has an urge to not wear any clothes," he told ATTN:. "So using a platform that instantaneously connects people and [uses] pictures, the feeling is inherently understood and it really relates to a lot of people. I get a lot of stories from people who say, 'I never, ever, ever thought I'd enjoy being naked in a public place, but it was the most invigorating experience of my life and I've never felt so alive. [I get] all of these clichés, but still, it relates to a lot of people."

Weltner added that he has noticed some of the women he posts face more backlash for their appearance than the males, a common form of social media body shaming.

"I can post a picture of a pretty overweight guy and he gets a lot of [likes]," Weltner said. "I'll post a picture of an overweight woman and it doesn't get nearly as many likes as everything else. There will be negative comments."

Many of the photos of Weltner's Instagram page depict gorgeous natural landscapes and sites such as Mt. Whitney and Death Valley, among other places. Many of the images include more than one person, showing that the Instagram page gives people an opportunity to connect with nature alongside loved ones as well:

The Instagram page has sparked a lot of conversation on social media for providing a major platform for people who want to get in touch with nature on a physical and spiritual level:

Instagram

Instagram

Late last year, when the Instagram page garnered 10,000 followers, Weltner celebrated in the proper fashion by posting a photo on his personal Instagram page of himself and 35 friends enjoying nature in the nude:

"[T]hank you to the 10,000+ people who have joined me in turning the human body into a tool to connect with each other and the natural world around us, I love you all too," Weltner wrote. "Cheers to many more connections and many, many, many more butts."

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