MELVILLE, Saskatchewan—ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue is a celebration of the fine-tuned bodies of elite athletes. The pictorial spread is on news stands now and it’s awash in rippling muscles and taut skin, while also completely devoid of clothing. The images are so impactful, they gave local car salesman Joe Shammel an idea. “I thought to myself, these are awe-inspiring pictures of athletes at work. Why not celebrate the average Melvillian in the same vein?”
Speaking between shots, Shammel said the only way to get the rest of the town on board was to lead by example. “Melville has a lot to be proud of and I think it’s okay for us to show off a little,” said Shammel as he stood with his back to the camera, feet planted wide while extending his arms to the CHEAP CARS banner above his head.
“Oh, it was a bit embarrassing at first,” conceded June Alan, owner of June’s Putt Putt. “But this project has really made me appreciate what it takes to strategically cover your private parts.” Alan credits her weekly yoga class for helping her get into just the right positions. “Also, the photographer said I had some natural overhang that worked as suitable coverage.”
There are twelve set-ups in all, representing the diverse community. Local restaurateur May Perry stands behind the counter at her café, smiling as she holds a pair of flapjacks aloft. Harry Tub of Harry’s Roofing can be seen perched on the peak of a roof, hammer in hand. Even the town’s mayor, Karen Essy, is taking part. “I thought to myself, it’s a fun idea. Why not?” Essy is shown jumping in the air, the green and gold flag of Saskatchewan waving across her torso.
The pictures are earmarked for use in a calendar, available in time for Christmas. All proceeds will be donated to the Melville SPCA.