On Saturday, September 15, the Naughty Pagan Project unveiled the latest in their collection of sexy, serious, and silly photos of local Pagans. This year’s themes included feminist re-imaginings of fairy-tales, tongue-in-cheek stagings of famous photos, deities, animal totems, and (as always!) men in kilts.
The project, spanning three years and including nearly 100 Pagans of all shapes and sizes, started out as a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser for Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association. “We wanted to do something like Calendar Girls, y’know – pinups with a sense of humor – but with a Pagan perspective. As far as we know nothing like this has ever been done before,” says EMPPA VP Teresa Cassinelli. It soon became clear that the Project was heading in a different direction than simple fundraising. Says EMPPA Secretary Michele Littlefield, “We started hearing from people about how being in the photo shoots and seeing their photos at the release party was a life-changing experience. They started to reevaluate their self-image and see themselves the way the rest of us see them; gorgeous!” EMPPA Treasurer Merlin Littlefield agrees, “It definitely changed the way I see myself. There’s nothing quite like a room full of beautiful women cat-calling you to help you really believe you’re sexy!”
Promoting healthy self-image and appreciation for beauty in all creatures is part of the Naughty Pagan Project mission statement:
We believe that all life is beautiful. We challenge the notion that gorgeousness must be thin and young; that attractive only comes in a suit or heels or with makeup. The pagans found within these photos are vibrant, sexy, real-life examples of the vast array of shapes and sizes in which beauty can be found. Our models are not professionals; we seek out ways to help every person not only feel sexy, but show that sexiness to the world through the use of creative photographic expression. We purposefully do not use photo-shop techniques on our models. What you see is what you get – and what you get is amazing, natural, magickal photos of real people.
Originally published as a yearly collection of calendars, this year the Naughty Pagan Project has changed formats to full-color coffee-table books. EMPPA President Keri Alley comments on the change to book form: “The calendars were nice, but I don’t think any of us actually used the calendar portion; we just wanted to have copies of the photos. Having it in book form eliminates the date restrictions of a calendar and allows us to include more photos than we were able to publish before. Moving away from calendars allows us to explore other projects, too. We’re working on a Naughty Pagan Tarot deck, and on using photographs as illustrations to Pagan-themed stories.”
If you’re interested in seeing more, or in joining the Project at their next photo shoot, visit their Facebook page: Naughty Pagan Photo Project for upcoming events and links to purchase the books and other merchandise.