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Celebrated Playboy photographer loved first visit to Auburn in 1981

Playboy photographer David Chan putting in overtime at—we think—an LCA Playboy Club Pajama Party thing in 1981.

If Auburn has been shown any preferential treatment in the pages of Playboy over the course of the magazine’s 30-year affair with the SEC Coed—and arguments along those lines can be made—it can perhaps be explained by photographer David Chan’s first impression of the Loveliest Village.

Chan’s shot of cute Shari Helton is the only photo of an Auburn girl (there were three) from Playboy’s 1981 “Girls of the SEC” pictorial to make it past the TWER censors. You can see the two other models (with their clothes on) here.

Chan, a rock star at Playboy in the ’70s and ’80s, and the mastermind of the magazine’s college pictorial series, first brought his lusty lens to the Plains in late January 1981, just a couple of days after Sister Cindy, the most devoted disciple of confrontational evangelism superstar Jed Smock (listen to him talk with WEGL here), proclaimed that “about 70 percent of the men in Auburn are whoremongers.” And he really liked it.

In between his auditions at the Heart of Auburn Motel and photo shoots along the debauched banks of Chewacla Creek, ol’ Chan, in his mid-40s at the time, hung out at frat parties, he hung out at the Glom… he just hung out.

Chan consulting on lighting or something at the Glom offices, Feb. 2, 1981.

“I like the girls in the South,” Chan told the Glomerata in 1981. “I had a terrible time in the North trying to make the girls there look good. They were too fat. But here the girls are nice and slim.”

Of course, he probably says that to all the yearbooks.

Photos from the 1981 Glomerata. You can check out Chan’s Auburn work from 1989 here, and from 1994 here.

Related: Here are the first two Auburn coeds to pose nude for Playboy.

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