While posing for a secret photo shoot inside one of Egypt’s ancient temples, nude model Marisa Papen and photographer Jesse Walker were caught by security guards and ruthlessly hauled off to a police station.
Papen, who is from Belgium and describes herself as a “free-spirited and wildhearted expressionist”, traveled with Walker to Egypt for a spectacular photo shoot in and outside some of the country’s most famous landmarks, according to a report in The Sun.
“The last two years, I have walked wild and free in at least 50 countries. Rarely do I end up in precarious situations … until April this year, in Egypt,” she told reporters.
Hailing from the Flanders region of Belgium, Papen met up with Walker, who flew in from Australia to do the shoot in Cairo.
The pair said that they were aware of the cultural, political and religious differences between Egypt and the West, but they didn’t expect to be arrested and treated so brutally.
It was near the famous pyramids of Giza that the two got into trouble. They reportedly bribed a security guard to begin the photo shoot, but soon, two young men suddenly showed up.
“I was suddenly completely awake, like a cold shower at 5 a.m. in the morning,” Papen recalled. “We tried to explain [to] them that we were making art with the highest respect for Egyptian culture, but they could not see a connection between nudity and art. In their eyes, it was porn or something like that.”
Papen and Walker managed to stay out of trouble by bribing the young men with £15.
After Giza, they traveled to Luxor to visit the vast temple complex of Karnak and shoot pictures with the theme of “dance.”
However, Karnak employed many more guards than the pyramids at Giza did, so Papen and Walker had to think of another plan for their photo shoot.
They decided to hide in the complex just before closing time and to start the photo shoot, “making pirouettes in Cleopatra’s footprints,” after the other people had left.
“But you can guess what happened next,” said Papen. “Busted, once again. And, yes, this time we were in some serious trouble.”
Four security guards caught the two and brought them “like two beaten dogs” to the local police.
“Without being able to share words, I made it clear to Jesse that he had to delete the images if he saw the tiniest opportunity. Otherwise, we would be screwed, big time,” said Papen, adding that the Egyptian cops did not believe the two when they told them they were “just testing the light” and “hadn’t taken any pictures yet.”
The cops forced Walker to strip down to look for a second SD card, but could not find anything.
The duo was brought from one police station to the other and from court to a local cell and back.
Here’s how Papen described the scene to Sun reporters:
The first cell we encountered was packed with at least 20 men, some were passed out on the floor, some were squeezing their hands through the rails, some were bleeding and yelling. I had never seen something like this before in real life. Jesse kept telling me, “Marisa don’t look,” but there was no way not to look.
After several hours in horrendous conditions, the two were brought in front of a judge.
Papen recalled, “We kept playing the role of stupid tourists who had no idea dancing in skin-colored underwear — we had to change up the story a little bit because otherwise we probably would have never gotten out — on Egyptian ground … it wasn’t allowed.”
They were eventually let go with a warning, and they got some great pictures, to boot.
“I do think we created something Cleopatra would have been proud of,” said Papen.
The photos of Papen posing nude in Egypt can be viewed here.
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