A Playboy model has been photographed diving naked with man-eating sharks in a bid to ‘challenge taboos’ about both the marine predators and nudity.
Marisa Papen, 28, shared the dreamlike images from a shoot from earlier this year off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The Belgian model is known for posing nude at famous landmarks around the world, with the stunts often making headlines in the process.
She was imprisoned along with a photographer in 2017 after a photoshoot at the Karnak Temple Complex near the Egyptian city of Luxor.
The pair had stayed in the complex after closing time to attempt to get the photos and were eventually let off with a warning from a judge.
Papen has courted controversy for stripping off at famous religious sites including The Vatican and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
She once posed in Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia where she lifted up the front of the abaya she was wearing to reveal her genitals.
The image was made the more provocative by Papen’s choice to wear cover her head and wear the abaya – an item of Islamic dress that is more conservative than what the majority of women in Turkey choose to wear.
On her latest shoot, the model said she was more frightened about baring all in conservative countries like Egypt and Israel than she was about jumping into the sea with the sharks.
‘It was one of the most peaceful experiences of my life being with the sharks. Being in their presence, I felt complete serenity. People ask me if I was scared, but actually, I was not scared at all,’ she told Real Press.
‘They were Galapagos sharks. There were also a couple of reef sharks around and one tiger shark that swam up to us, we didn’t get to photograph him though, he was in and out.’
Papen said she hoped to challenge taboos by making people rethink their ideas about nudity and sharks.
‘The message is all about breaking stigmas and taboos, nudity is seen as bad in our society, and so are sharks.
‘Over the years, sharks have gained a bad reputation because of the film industry. I wanted to challenge viewers by looking at these magnificent creatures with a different eye.’
The model said she dived around 20 times over the 45-minute shoot, adding that the water was warm and pleasant as it was the end of the summer.
She explained that she prepared by ‘meditating on the environment and preparing myself to tap into [the sharks’] energy.’
‘I had no clue what that would feel like since I had never swum with them before,’ Papen said.
‘I wasn’t going to wear any goggles because I didn’t want to be able to read their movements, I just had to trust I would be okay. After a couple of dives I realised that their energy is actually so subtle, they are so at one with the ocean, I could barely feel their vibration.’
The artistic snaps are for Papen’s Earth Family Calendar which she described as showing ‘an intertwining of two completely worlds, co-existing in harmony’.
‘I’m inspired by everything I observe in nature. And being in my natural state makes it so much easier to connect with the natural elements. I’m driven by a will for a better planet, one of unity, equality and beauty.’