Saturday, June 28, 2014

Behold: The Future of School Prayer in Post-Potter America?

[Lately my life hasn't left me much time for blogging. So, sometimes now when I go a whole week or more and I haven't had a chance to write anything at all, I just look through some of my more popular old posts and change the date, add a little prologue, and maybe edit it/add to it slightly. This post was originally prompted (well over three years ago) by a graphic that suddenly appeared in several of my Pagan friends' facebook feeds. I was so struck by the subversive brilliance of it, that I tried to find out who was behind it. I only ever got as far as finding the original photographer and model, both of whom are highly talented in their own rights. But to this day I have never discovered who the genius was that added the captioning to the image. If anyone happens to know, please leave a comment! And now without further ado, here is a little something I posted back on November 20, 2010.] 

Some pictures really are worth a thousand words, but there are times when just the right caption can add something essential to the end result.

This "Motivational Poster" style commentary on school prayer has been making the rounds on teh interwebs. It started as part of a "Student Witch" series by photographer Marcus J. Ranum. You can see the whole series at Ranum's DeviantArt gallery here.

(Ranum's wikipedia entry tells us that he is a computer security expert of some note and that "his hobbies include photography and firearms.")

I would like to find out whose idea it was to add the eleven words to Ranum's already quite magnificent photo, thus taking it to the next level of brilliance!

The book she is holding is Aleister Crowley's "Magic in Theory and Practice", which you can make out if you look at the full size image of the original. The book on the ground is something by Anton LeVay.

Ranum, who is an atheist and a supporter of Richard Dawkin's "Out Campaign", has this to say about inclusion of the LeVay book as a prop in the original photograph:
Someone mentioned (rightly and courteously) that I might have given offense by mixing the word "witch" with LaVey's goofy satanic bible. It's just a prop. I was tempted to fix the title but then I realized that would be inconsistent. As an equal opportunity disrespector of all religion, it would be unfair of me to show wicca more respect than I show any of the other goofy superstitions of the world. So, with all due respect, if this image bothers you - "get over it."
As long as I'm trying to give credit where credit is due, I'm pretty sure the model is Laura Unbound. She also has her own DeviantArt page here (actually that's a direct link to the photo of her to the right by Scott Church, which is part of Laura's own online portfolio).

[Since first posting this I have received direct confirmation from Laura Unbound that it is her. She also left a comment below.]

Here's my other personal favorite from Ranum's "Student Witch" series (Student Witch - 5), as well as some other works featuring the lovely Laura (by photographer Rodney Mickle), just for the hell of it, and also possibly just to jack up my hit count in one of the most obvious and time tested ways: