A coffin manufacturer promotes his product with nude calendars with a motto "In our coffins, you will look alive". Zbnigniew Lindner - who owns the coffin factory - says he does not want to create a scandal, just break the taboo surrounding his product - which he claims is like any other.
WAGROWIEC, POLAND (REUTERS) - A coffin-maker in the small Polish town of Wagrowiec invented an unusual way of marketing his products - every year he publishes a calendar featuring photographs where a grim symbol of death - coffin - is accompanied by beautiful nude models.
This year will be the 5th in a row when Zbigniew Lindner has organised photo sessions where scantily-clad young women were photographed with coffins for the company's annual calendar, bound to raise eyebrows in mostly Catholic Poland.
"We are superstitious, we are afraid of things like this and of what others might say, what people will say. Of course, I am too. When I saw this calendar, I thought: beautiful women, great photographer, beautiful pictures, but it has coffins, it's very controversial," said Agnieszka Orzechowska, a gossip-magazine celebrity known for her controversial appearances, who stars in this edition of the calendar.
The manufacturer produces on average 12,000 coffins a month and is reportedly the biggest Polish exporter of coffins to the European Union.
Lindner says that his intention when making calendars was to dispel the fear of coffins, to prove that it is just a packaging, nothing else.
"We are not necessarily trying to discuss death, but to discuss that coffin is a product as any other. A coffin is really a packaging. Nobody ever runs away from a nice packaging by Dior or an interesting watch or flowers or any other packaging and here everybody is scared and they want it to be schematic, to look this way and not another. We decided that a coffin can be an interesting packaging, it can pay tribute to the departed, it can be an element of bidding farewell. It can be really beautiful and this is the direction we are taking," Lindner said.
When asked about the calendar's potential to upset traditionally conservativePoland and its overwhelmingly Catholic population he said that he stays away from religious symbols and aims to shock, but not to offend.
"An example that we never touch religious symbols or ideology is our calendar from 2012, where we presented and paid tribute to various methods of burial. There is a coffin from the Jewish culture, of course without the Star of David, because we don't use religious symbols. There are also no Catholic crosses, we also did not use Muslim symbols even though we make coffins for Muslim (burial), because we respect the fact that the coffin is a packaging," Lindner added.
And Lindner's calendar raises less controversy due to the fact it is distributed mostly amongst the company's wholesale buyers and is unlikely to reach grieving relatives of the departed - the end users of his product.
The factory employs over 100 people who quietly go about their daily craft, rarely communicating with each other as they skilfully piece together each casket.
The proceeds of Lindner's calendar are reinvested into the small Wagrowiec community through initiatives such as support for a local cultural centre.