Hundreds of naked people pose in front of the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland during a a photo session with U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick. ((Laurent Gillieron/The Associated Press))

Hundreds of people posed naked at a glacier in Switzerland for a photo shoot by New York artist Spencer Tunick to draw attention to global warning.

"The melting of the glaciers is an indisputable sign of global climate change," said Greenpeace, which co-organized the event at the Aletsch glacier on Saturday.

The environmental group said most of Switzerland's 1,800 glaciers will be gone by 2080 if the warming trend continues at its current pace.Alpine glaciers have lost about half their volume over the past 150 years.

Glaciers in many parts of the world, including Canada, have also been receding at an alarming rate.

Greenpeace said it wanted Tunick, famous for photographing nude people in public places, to do the project because it "establishes symbolic relationship between the vulnerability of the melting glacier and the human body."

The organization said the shoot was done in a way that minimized any impact on the glacier.

"I want my images to go more than skin-deep. I want the viewers to feel the vulnerability of their existence and how it relates closely to the sensitivity of the world's glaciers," the 40-year-old installation artist said on the Greenpeace website.

Volunteers had to walk several hours to the site.

Tunick, balancing on a ladder and using a megaphone, directed about 600 people from all over Europe and photographed them on a rocky outcrop overlooking the glacier, the largest in the Alps.

Later he took pictures of them standing in groups on the mass of ice and lying down. Temperatures hovered at about 10 degrees Celsius.

Tunick said his photographs are both works of art and political statements.

"I will try to treat the body on two levels. On an abstract level, as if they were flowers or stones. And on a more social level, to represent their vulnerability and humanity," he told Geneva's Le Temps newspaper.

The event followed Tunick's shoot in May in Mexico City's main square where 18,000 people turned up to participate.

Tunick's mass nude shoots, which he calls body landscapes, have taken place since 1992 around the world including New York City, London, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Buffalo and Montreal.

With files from the Associated Press