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Always act natural, said photographer Harvey Drouillard, because it's the nude people who exude power over their situation. Natalia Mustapich, the petite and smiley year-old owner of a Gulfport skin care business, was trying to pull her dress over her head. She was stuck. Thirty seconds. They tried again, and again and again. Drouillard, who has the mannerisms of a spritely film director, showed them how to make their garments into a neat little doughnut on the floor.
He showed them how to stand on top of their shoes while awaiting his al, which for some reason attracts less attention than standing barefoot on a sidewalk. Eventually they could disrobe, pose and dress again in just under 10 seconds. Drouillard, 54, is full of tidbits of public nudity wisdom from his 25 years shooting guerrilla nudes. For a lot of that time, he had different day jobs — restaurant server, commodities broker, butcher. He "went full-time artist" five years ago, he said, and has photographed nude models in prominent public places thousands of times in various cities.
A calendar of his St. Petersburg work features Drouillard's black and white photos of naked men and women walking dogs, watering plants and lounging on benches in front of places like the Hollander Hotel, Sunken Gardens and Sundial shopping center. Often the clothed bystanders in the frame don't even seem to notice what's happening, which is exactly how Drouillard likes it.
He began shooting St. Petersburg inand moved here from his native Michigan a few months ago. He sold his minivan for a few hundred dollars when he arrived, a way of "burning the ships at port" to ensure he'd have to make it work, no possible retreat. Harvey Drouillard's black-and-white photos put the emphasis on the buildings and structures before the models, he said. He only does one take, and never returns to the same spot. He can stage and shoot his photos in such a way that the nudity lasts less than a minute.
So fast that his models are clothed and back in the "getaway car" headed away from the scene before anyone really knows what happened, let alone can make a big deal about it. Drouillard may be an even more prolific networker. He found the models through another photographer he had met on the street a few days earlier. He secured the practice space at Nova after meeting the owner at a weekly mixer for local entrepreneurs. A local cafe donated the pastries on the table. His barber hooked him up with a mechanic at Albert Whitted Airport, to let him shoot next to a vintage plane on the tarmac there.
He spotted a pug mix, Rowdy, at a downtown bar. He thought it would be perfect Women of St. Petersburg Florida nude photos. The owner said sure.
For security, Drouillard enlisted muralist Chris Baez. Before leaving NovaDrouillard, Baez and another security volunteer went over the system. They were to be constantly scanning the area for "kids and cops, kids and cops, kids and cops. A hand near the leg aled. Some high art? En route to the first location, Drouillard explained he no longer pays models.
Using volunteers ensures Women of St. Petersburg Florida nude everyone is dedicated to the project as a work of art. Drouillard does treat everyone to meals and cover travel expenses. Vance, an aspiring actor who had never posed nude before, hesitated to pose for Drouillard at first. Mustapich said yes immediately. After moving to the United States from Argentina, she had had a boyfriend who asked her to stop posing nude.
On her mother's advice, she left him immediately. They took the shots at the airport, pretending to board a vintage plane. The private location made it an easy warmup, but then it was on to the main event, shooting along a public sidewalk full of pedestrians. Drouillard pointed out a no-parking, tow-away zone near Beach Drive and Central Avenue. Everyone hopped out. Drouillard reminded the models not to get too close. Absolutely no arms around each other. Part of the way he's able to skirt indecency laws, he explained later, is ensuring there's nothing about the shoots that could come off as sexual.
The shoots don't violate Florida's lewdness and indecent exposure law, which prohibits being exposed in a "vulgar or indecent manner," because there isn't vulgar intent. The shoots probably do, however, fall under a city ordinance prohibiting public nudity. In the St. Petersburg city codes, that nudity ordinance is listed right after the law prohibiting "expectoration," or spitting on the sidewalk.
It's also about equally as easy to enforce, considering Drouillard's hit-and-run speediness. Security took their spots at opposite corners. They started scanning for kids and cops. The models stood on the sidewalk outside Ceviche restaurant. Vance started pacing. Drouillard set up his tripod right in the middle of the street. He raised his hand to al it was time. People ate their lunch on the restaurant's terrace. The models dropped their clothes to the pavement and walked toward Central Avenue. Rowdy's owner handed off the leash. Drouillard snapped away. The nude couple pretended to peruse a menu posted outside.
Pedestrians kept walking, seemingly oblivious. No cars drove off the street and crashed. Maybe it was like a glitch in the Matrix, so surreal it didn't even register. Maybe it was just that nobody cared. Two guys and a woman crossed the street to avoid Drouillard after noticing he was taking photos, but they didn't seem to look at what he was shooting. A few steps later, the woman spun her head around over her shoulder, wide-eyed, and then looked away again and kept walking. Both models raised their arms, giddy with victory as they headed up the street to do it again.
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