Naked Muse calendar

Words: Nicci Talbot

I just bought this gorgeous, sexy calendar from Wild Women Press. It’s a creative collaboration between 41 UK-based photographers and poets to raise money towards a cure for type-one diabetes, which seven people are diagnosed with every day in the UK. Wild Women co-founder Victoria Bennett came up with the idea for the project after finding out that her son Django has type-one diabetes. She wanted to fundraise in a way that would also support creative writing and photography.

It is a truly beautiful calendar featuring glossy B&W shots of the chaps who are all male poets aged 20-60. Each pose is an interpretation of attached poems, which have been donated by writers including Wendy Cope, David Morley, Eva Salzman, Pascale Petit, and Angela Readman. The photography was shot on location in the Lakes and at Greta Hall, home of Coleridge and hang-out for the Romantics. There are photos on the ledge where Coleridge wrote his poetry and the front cover image was shot on the opium bed in his study.

Each chap has a bio on the website so you can read about their motivations as a muse. David Morley, poet & professor of writing at Warwick University declined to pose but wrote a poem about his experiences living with type-one diabetes. I love the twist of a male muse and it’s fascinating to read their stories and realise that it’s not just women who have body image issues and anxiety. Poet Andrew McMillan says: ‘I have always had huge insecurities about my body. Daft as it sounds; until about a year ago I would rarely have a shower because I hated my body so much. I felt baths kept it more covered up and hidden.’

I chatted briefly to filmmaker Adam Clarke, Django’s father this morning and he said: ‘There are so many interesting stories that have come out of this project. I think the vulnerability at the heart of it has encouraged a sharing that has been a real gift and joy to experience.’

The exhibition will be shown in Ulverston, Cumbria from December 16th to February 16th, and then move to London to be shown at The Space, Hackney, with the opening night on 21st February. It is open to the public for a couple of days until final close on 24th February. The images will be on sale at the exhibition and on the website too.


Photo credit – Annabel Williams



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