You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:42 p.m.

Harvey Drouillard pulls off nude photo shoot at Hill Auditorium - with a surprise participant

By Pete Cunningham

Disrobing in the basement of Antelope Antiques with a steady crowd of art fair patrons peeking around a corner, previously uber-confident Derian Kuneman was hit by a sudden wave of self-consciousness.

It wasn't just that the petite 20-year-old with straight auburn hair was completely nude in front of any civilian on East Liberty Street who needed a break from the heat. And it wasn't that she was about to do the same in front of hundreds outside Hill Auditorium, or that pictures of her in the buff would soon be immortalized on postcards.

Her apprehension came after Ann Arbor nude photographer Harvey Drouillard told Kuneman the Chuck Taylors she was so adamant about wearing - along with her old-school Ray-Bans, “Blues Brothers style” - were slowing down her strip-to-redress too much.

She would have to go bottomless for the shoot.

That is, without shoes or socks.

Nonude19 4 of 4 BWS.JPG.jpeg

Harvey Drouillard urges the crowd to chant 'Don't break tradition' after Ann Arbor police threatened to arrest the models during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in 2008.

“I didn’t paint my toenails,” Kuneman said, embarrassingly covering up her exposed cuticles. “I always have my toenails painted.”

No matter. Harvey is a very free-spirited guy - as one would assume of most artists whose calling card is getting shots of nude models in front of city landmarks. But he’s very fastidious about training his models.

“Before we shoot, everyone needs to be able to go from ready position, which is what we call the position they’re in right before getting completely nude, to fully nude and back in under 10 seconds before we go to shoot,” Harvey said. “We need to get it down before we get out there because the last thing we need is for things to go wrong before, during or after the actual shot.”

Matt Lerner, Derian’s friend, had an odd hang up of his own. He said he’s just not comfortable “wearing shorts without my belt.”

“I feel like my shorts would just fall down,” Lerner said.

Isn’t that kind of the point?

“It’s all about whatever makes people comfortable, and this whole process is about being comfortable,” Harvey said.

Well, maybe not completely.

“People always tell me that the rush they get, the self-confidence is incredible, and before a shoot I feel it too,” Harvey said. “Because the fact is the cops could come and break it up, it hasn’t happened often,” three times to be exact, “but it has happened, and you’re nude and there's always going to be that stigma attached to that.”

Harvey hoped to beat his record of 19 models in his shot on Saturday, but only Lerner, Kuneman and her older sister showed up.

Attrition from the initial sign-up is nothing unusual, Harvey said, and he assumed the early morning storms didn’t help. But he aimed to make the most of what he got.

“It’s fine, it’ll still be great, it always is,” Harvey said. “Beating the record at the art fair would be nice, but it’s not a big deal.

Kuneman’s older sister, six years her senior and equally petite with curly red hair, was clearly the most nervous of the three.

She was fine saying she's Derian’s 26-year-old sister, but declined to have her name printed. “Those who really want to connect the dots can,” she rationalized.

With a nervous smile and a glass of white wine in hand - none for the underage Lerner, 19, or Derian, 20 - one moment she questioned aloud what she was about to do and the next minute appeared exhilarated.

“This is something I can say I did before I die,” she said during a brief moment of self-assurance. “I’ll be able to look back and see the postcards and say ‘that’s me, I did it.’”

Derian signed up to take the shot earlier in the week and was featured in an article on Friday. Coincidentally, her older sister bought a postcard from Harvey during the art fair and had the article sent to her from their former violin teacher.

Though it was admittedly out of character, she wanted to join her younger sister.

“She was actually the one I was nervous about telling,” Kuneman said. “I thought she’d scold me.”

The trio was clearly nervous and, though Harvey didn't say it, I got the sense three people was a bit of a disappointment, so I decided to join the party.

I had already asked every question I could possibly ask Harvey and his subjects before the "10 seconds or less" practice. There was nothing left to do but sit around and watch them strip and reclothe for two hours.

Not exactly a bad racquet, but it made me feel a bit creepy.

Lerner and the Kuneman sisters had been more than cooperative with interviews, despite being visibly nervous. When they asked me to join in, I couldn't think of a good excuse to say no. And with the weather the way it's been, there was practically no risk of a cold breeze.

I was in ... and at risk of vomiting. At least it wouldn't get on Derian's shoes.

"That's great, now we can have it look like two couples," Harvey said, the ideas racing through his head.

After we all got over our respective moments of self-doubt, the crew - which included Harvey, four “models” (yes, I'm calling myself a model) and a significant "security" detail - headed to Hill Auditorium, where the sisters had occasional violin recitals growing up, which they found rather amusing.

The presence of children delayed the shoot for several minutes, which felt more like hours. In hindsight, Harvey admitted planning the shot near a tent passing out free chocolate milk less than 100 yards away was a bit of an oversight.

Harvey called an audible last minute, and instead of ducking behind tents, Kuneman and I stripped down in a relatively wide open area. Lerner and Derian's older sister positioned themselves behind an art fair booth and met us in the middle at a director's chair that had conspicuously appeared in the middle of the sidewalk.

Kuneman took a seat, Lerner and her sister asked for directions, I stared off into space and Harvey got his shot.

“Got it,” he screamed and we scattered.

Harvey wasn’t lying about the rush. Kuneman was ready to go again.

“I want to do more,” she said on the walk back. Her sister felt a similar wave of confidence, and the duo did one more sisters-only shot as I cashed in my chips and bid adieu.

In my defense, I had a story to write and a deadline to meet.

“It’s great isn’t it!” Harvey exclaimed at the basement rendezvous point, clearly excited about the safe getaway - but more so because he thought it was successful shoot.

Harvey’s old school, he only shoots with 35 millimeter black and white film, so there’s no way to tell immediately whether the pictures actually turned out. But after hundreds of shots over 16 years at cities around the country, he’s learned to trust his gut.

And he was ecstatic to see the confidence brimming from his most recent subjects.

“That rush they’re describing is exactly what everybody says,” Harvey said. “That it just overtakes them and the adrenaline is like nothing they’ve ever felt.”

The rush is undeniable but, in the end, like a lot of other first-time experiences in the flesh: a ton of build-up, followed by momentary exhilaration…and quicker than expected.

Pete Cunningham usually covers high school sports (fully clothed) for He can be reached by e-mail at, or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Fri, Dec 3, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

Yes? No?


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 12:21 a.m.

Is there anywhere we can see the shot?


Tue, Jul 27, 2010 : 11:43 p.m.

The shot turned out GREAT!


Tue, Jul 27, 2010 : 9:36 a.m.

Speechless.....I've seen both the appendectomy scar AND the salt in the pepper, they are both authentic. While one is fading, the other is increasing by the day.


Mon, Jul 26, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

Pete, Thanks for providing additional details on Harvey Drouillard's photo shoots in your reply. I know of him primarily through vaguely-remembered past news articles in (probably) the Observer, the old A2 News, and/or the Daily. From what I recall of these, the focus was on setting up outdoor nude shots on or near UM campus using student-aged models, both female and male. Not much, if anything, was written about related projects involving diverse models of various ages and shapes. That limited, incorrect sense of Harvey's wider 'body' of work is part of what prompted my query about whether he ever uses older, out-of-shape models. Also, I wanted to present a sample of intelligent questioning or criticism not driven by conservative religious fears centered around human anatomy. As it turns out, the examples I gravitated toward were not exactly prescient. Yet, by squarely answering those questions, you added helpful background information not only to this story, but also to the previous ones that I read. On a side note, the use of the term 'pornography' in my earlier comment may also have been a weak choice. I wanted to get across the idea that Harvey's nude photos fall into a social context similar to the (former?) UM Naked Mile. p.s.  Will take you at your word on the appendectomy scar, but no amount of squinting at your photo reveals salt in the dark golden pepper. My health-conscious ancestors cut back on sprinkled salt by substituting Grecian Formula.


Mon, Jul 26, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

wow. ya'll need to lighten up. seriously.


Mon, Jul 26, 2010 : 10:54 a.m.

announcer...among those on this thread you contemptuously dismiss as reading/writing challenged are a university administrator and professors and artists ( and im 2 out of 3). a major legitimate gripe with harvey that has been talked around here, and can't be dismissed with snidery, is the same as can be leveled at graffiti artists, overloud boom-box players and smokers...i.e do whatever the hell you want to 'express' yourself but don't do it in public in others' faces.....period. and, contra 'ed murrow', don't push your own standards of p.c. 'prudery eradication' into other peoples' childraising situations,as harvey did with a lady godiva stunt in chelsea some years back...and that he does all the time with his cutesy poo nudie shtick. and again,i like the guy, respect his technical skills and was a co-exhibitor with him for a number of years ( when alot of his work was straight portraiture.)

Jay Allen

Mon, Jul 26, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

"Exploitation of women". Really? Can those of you that type, read? WCC offers Reading Comprehension at the 100 level and a vast majority of you need to take a course like that. You all can type like mad but your reading comprehension is open for debate. The comments by Edward R Murrow's Ghost are simply out of touch with reality. The comic book views that you have are exactly the reason the country is in the mess it is in. The mentality you have is simply a plague. I have met and spoke with Pete Cunningham, mostly around the High School sports he covers. He does an excellent job and this piece is no different. Read what Stefanie Murray has said and then get over yourselves. Robert Fisher and Steven Harper Piziks are essentially the only 2 folks in here that make any sense.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 11:48 p.m.

@Speechless: You nailed it.

Pete Cunningham

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 10:53 p.m.

Mr. (or Ms.) Speechless, About Harvey's "models". In one of our many "on the record" discussions over the past couple of days Harvey said he doesn't ask people to model, that they ask him or "volunteer" as he put it. He said that yes, a lot, probably even a majority of the people that volunteer are in good physical shape, but attributed that to the fact that people who are in better physical shape probably feel more comfortable taking off their clothes on camera. By the way, Im very flattered that you think everyone in his photos are photogenic young people in good physical condition. No, Im not adjusting my tie confidently saying still got it right now, but I wish I was. Harvey said hes photographed people of all shapes and sizes and if you ever get a chance to flip through his book The Spirit of Lady Godiva or see a collection of his work, youll see that this is indeed the case. I can confirm that there are plenty of hanging bellies and facial wrinkles. Gray hair is hard to notice in black and white and I honestly didnt see any surgical scars, but I have some salt in my pepper and an appendectomy scar, so I guess that takes care of that. Mr. Murrow, I can confirm that Harvey has done many mens only photos. He told me (and I did not confirm this with a count of my own) that his book is 55 percent women, 45 percent men and that he would estimate that his work is about 60/40 (women/men). Both these statements surprised me because I notice more women when I look at his photos, but thats likely because Im attracted to women. To each his own. Since Harvey doesnt ask for attractive fit people ages 18-24 to be in his shots, I doubt he would ask people 275 pounds or heavier and at least 30 years old. What I mean by this is, he doesnt lobby for participants. I was around Harvey for close to five hours on Saturday, and for the first hour-and-a-half it looked exactly zero people were going to show up (he had hoped for 20). Not once did he ask someone to participate, and there were plenty of people who approached him asking about his work during this time, many of whom were fit, young, attractive or a combination of the three.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 8:40 p.m.

@Speechless, I like your take on this whole thing, very interesting and quite insightful bringing a "new bend" to the whole "childish" incident. I suggest Harvey have a "men's only" shoot and require that all participants be at least 275 pounds or heavier and at least 30 years old. Do you think anyone would pay attention to this guy then? Of course not, people posting here are asking, "where are the pictures". Does anyone think anyone would want to see that photo-shoot? ROFL


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

Drouillard develops, so to speak, a wider interest and a market for his prank photography by exploiting the exactly the puritanical religious mindset reflected in many of these comments. The very condemnations Harvey gets here is what makes it possible for his efforts (along these lines) to continue. The reactionaries are the ones who actually create and maintain the market for him, as he needs their anger to create attention-drawing shock value. If the U.S. were more like much of Western Europe — a region far less afflicted with extreme religious conservatism and the resulting social phobias — his nude projects would largely elicit yawns from the public. Few people would notice or bother to care. At the end of the day, both reactionary religion and pornography (definition extended here to include on-street nudity) represent flip sides of the same coin. Each one needs the other to justify its existence. They're like highly dysfunctional, close siblings who constantly squabble with one another. The conflict between the two will occasionally overlap and cross-fertilize in the same individuals. There's good reason why the ultra-conservative wings of the Republican Party and the preacher circuit have become notorious for producing some of the more hypocritical sex scandals in recent years. Did Idaho's Senator 'Wide Stance' make anyone feel reverently Haggard? ----------------- A more appropriate criticism of Drouillard's nude photos would include asking whether or not his 'recruits' only include 'photogenic' young people in outwardly good physical condition. Are there ever any hanging bellies, facial wrinkles, gray hair, or surgical scars? Does Harvey ever challenge his audience to rethink these other kinds of social phobias about appearance, ones that are commonly shared by 'progressives' and reactionaries alike? (And, no, I don't ask these last questions out of a wish to be in his photos!)


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

I was in a Harvey shoot at Blimpy Burger about 10 years ago in the middle of winter. it was an amazing experience. the best part was the reaction of the other customers; I heard one say to her friend as 6 of us walked, nude, through the place and out the back door: "Well, I guess they work here"!!


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 3:59 p.m.

edward r..stunshif seems fairly commonsensical from what ive seen...and actually so do you...although this latest riff, not so much... im a regular commentator and neither reactionary or humorless...although i do not suffer fools glady, especially some our locals who hide behind the 'progressive' label while supporting ultra right-wing things like jihadism.. but back to the art world...i actually know harvey the photographer slightly from when we exhibited at the same gallery and he's a nice guy and good photographer...but also a bit of a scamster as all artists sort of are ( myself included), in that they ask for alot of money and attention for things that are not exactly essentials of life. @all, re all this stuff: check out the great 'documentary' ( which itself may be a scam by the ultimate underground britsh artist 'banksy') "EXIT THROUGH THE GIFTSHOP".


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 3:04 p.m.

A column is not a top story. I would've actually liked it though if at the end you all got arrested. At least you had the decency to wait for the majority of children to leave, although you could not have been positive they were all gone and I feel bad for the innocent passersby.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 2:52 p.m.

This is pretending to be progressive. If they were truly progressive there would have been pictures of this art.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

Ya know what I think is awesome? Derian Kuneman recently graduated from Pioneer High School! Way to make your hometown paper kid!


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

This guy is not an artist and is supporting illegal activity. Have you nothing better to do than cover this raunchy and lewd behavior?


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

Where are the pics?


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

My question is this: What is this story doing in the "Top Headlines" section of the daily email (4th), and in the "Top Stories" section (2nd) of the home page? Surely there are more important stories for top billing. The story should be in the Entertainment or Community section. Just gives a tabloid feel to Ed: You do a disservice to all who are seeking serious discourse by throwing out a label like 'reactioinary' to describe commentators. It says more about you than about anyone else. And I don't understand your comment about election results - the AA city votes overwhelmingly democratic. Maybe those are the reactionaries in your view?

Marshall Applewhite

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

Pictures, or it didn't happen.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 9:54 a.m.

@Stefanie Murray: It obviously doesn't make it clearer since commenters frequently mistake columns for articles. Does have any plans to address this issue? Including the word COLUMN in the html and article titles would be much preferable to simply making bigger/bolding the "eyebrow" class you use for the word.

Steven Harper Piziks

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

Amazing how conservative Ann Arbor has become! (Or maybe it's just the people who read @xmo: You're complaining that young women are being exploited; where's your complaint about the men? After all, two males were photographed in the shoot here, and many elsewhere. The lack shows that you aren't truly worried about exploitation; you're just looking for a way to make the photographer look bad.

just a voice

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 8:49 a.m.

I'm so glad the supports its staff breaking the law and writing about it. the true story is what harvey does is about thrill seeking, not art.


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 7:55 a.m.

Soooo..when do we get to see the pictures?


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

next logical step...a show on BRAVO network, where all the "15 minutes of famers' go, no matter how silly. i can see it now: "THE REAL COMPULSIVE EXHIBITIONISTS OF WASHTENAW COUNTY"....move over 'houswives'.

Robert Fisher

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

Only you Pete get the best assignments, don't pay attention to Macbre. Congrats on the engagement. Bob


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 6:43 a.m.

For such a liberal (Progressive) town, I am stunned how a young women could be exploited here and people think it is hip? I thought that this was exactly the kind of thing that the women's movement tried to stop! Where is the National Association of Gals?


Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 5:53 a.m.

If Mr. Drouillard is a "very free-spirited guy" than I'm sure he's walked nude in public while someone has taken his photo, right?

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 10:54 p.m.

Paring this down further... The ethical problem is becoming the story rather than reporting it. If he doesn't understand why that's a problem, I can only blame his employers. The phone-number dig is just a dig. As for the titillation factor, I'm fully in favor of Drouillard's rights to express his artistic vision in any way he sees fit, as long as no one gets hurt.

Ron Torrella

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:46 p.m.

Way to go, Pete! I'd have dived on an opportunity like that, too. Almost sounds like there was a dare going. All the better. Macabre: it ain't always about titillation. Asking for numbers - even if he were single - would've just sullied the experience. I'd hope you'd have more class than that. I've heard about these cards but I've never seen them. Where are they sold?

Geek Chick

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

Pete - if you're truly daring, you'll update this story with photo after Harvey's developed the film.

Pete Cunningham

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:29 p.m.

Mr. Sunset, I didn't ask for either of the two cute redheads' numbers because I recently got engaged. Ethical enough for ya, Macabre?

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 9:22 p.m.

Well, these days journalists are encouraged to make themselves the story rather than covering (no pun intended) what's happening out there. This may be why newspapers are steadily dying. Journalists are simply bloggers and have no sense of ethics, neutrality or the seriousness of the profession. And people don't pay to read blogs. Did you at least get the cute redhead's phone number, Petie?