A single image of a topless woman inside an Alphabet City restaurant caused quite a stir on the internet this week—doesn't take much, does it?—and now the photographer responsible for the risque photo shoot has come forward. Los Angeles-based photographer Allen Henson reached out to us yesterday to talk about the reaction to the photo shoot, which he says was completely unexpected. He also revealed that this was just the first in a photo series using nude models in a public setting. Getting naked in public for art? Now we've seen everything!

So how did this all come together? I'll say up front that I really had no idea there was a story on this. I woke up this morning and someone was like, "Hey man is this you?" And I was like, "What the hell?" No idea. She'd just come in. It's this five part series I'm doing and I said, "Hey, I've got a great idea. Let's do something crazy." So we went and took a walk and found what made sense. We stopped at Odessa first and no one was there, it was kind of empty. And then we ended up at a sushi restaurant and everyone was super excited like, "Oh this is fun!" The management was plugged in, the patrons were having a good time. It was a really fun attitude, very like the neighborhood. Novelty, artistic. And it came out really cool. We tried it again and obviously it didn't work out too well. [laughs]

You said you didn't plan this, but have you done this kind of impromptu naked photography before? Every now and then I'll embrace spontaneity and if something makes sense we'll be like okay let's do this. I was sitting there and I'm like, "Oh my God. Look at all these people. Look at this very unorthodox location. Hey, take your clothes off. This is going to be wild." We started snapping pictures. Then the second place, that was all of seven seconds. As soon as her shirt came off, by the last frame I took it was a picture of the manager's hand in front of the camera. Which is actually a great image that you couldn't replicate if you tried. It's so funny how much can happen in seven seconds.

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(Allen Henson)

Did they explain why they wanted you to leave? Yeah, and I totally get it. We're not disillusioned or taken aback that we couldn't shoot. It's private property, they own this company, they pay rent. I get it. It's not consistent with their branding and they're like, "Oh great, naked people. Get out of here." So I get that. I know legally women can walk around topless, that's the law. But private property…I get that, it makes sense.

[The manager] said the words Family Restaurant and then after the fact, after reading one of these articles, I didn't realize that oh, wow, roll of the dice. A couple of times we happened to get naked in public and there's a whole table of Jehovah's Witnesses behind us. Awkward! What are the odds? So I get it, I see how that would be a precarious situation.

This is a five part series and this is only the first day and this all occurred. If this is day one, they're going to have helicopters out by day five! It'll be nuts! It's nothing special, it's kind of cliched. But it's that juxtaposition of nudity in very uncommon situations. Obviously you don't go to a restaurant, sit down next to someone naked and say, "Oh what are you having?"

What was the reaction of the diners at the sushi place? Were they weirded out or going with it? What you normally expect, everyone pulled out the cell phones and started taking pictures."Yeah, this was awesome!" Everyone was pretty plugged in. The management…when they first walked over I'm like, "Oh, here we go, we're screwed." But they actually looked at the back of my camera and were like, "Oh that's pretty neat!" They were totally just like, "Yeah, that's cool, let's do this."