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Posted on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

Photographer Harvey Drouillard plans public nude shoot for Ann Arbor Art Fairs

By Brian Vernellis

Matt Lerner’s philosophy in life is to wear as few clothes as possible.

So when he and his friend, Derian Kuneman, saw photographer Harvey Drouillard’s exhibit on Liberty Street, the pair knew they had to be a part of his next photo shoot. Drouillard, who goes by Harvey professionally, has been shooting photos of models disrobing in public since 1994.

“I just thought it was really cool, and it’s a fun concept,” Lerner said. “I can’t really pick out a specific thing, but the concept of getting an actual shot in public of nude people I thought that was cool.

“I’m looking forward to it, but my friend is getting kind of nervous.”

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An Ann Arbor police officer confronts Harvey Drouillard in front of the State Theater. Police intervened in Drouillard's plan to have models pose nude near the information booth for the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in 2008.

Harvey is planning his largest shoot, using 20 models, for Saturday at an undisclosed location during the last day of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. Harvey’s photo of models at The Rock at the corner of Washtenaw Avenue and Hill Street has become an iconic image of Ann Arbor and is emblazoned on postcards. 

Getting the shot requires an ambush style to photography by Harvey and his models. 

When Harvey is in the right position, models filter through the crowd, remove their clothes, and in a matter of seconds, Harvey has his shots. The crowd barely has time to register what happened.

"It’s amazing to watch the crowd,” Harvey said. “At first, it goes silent among the people around the models, and then the quiet spreads as more people realize what’s happening.”

Harvey has snapped hundreds of photos across the country - Seattle; New Orleans; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Madison, Wisc. Each time, he finds a city landmark for his models to disrobe.

Slipping past police officers has become an art form in elusiveness and diplomacy for Harvey and his models. In Seattle, one of his models walked past an officer standing in a doorway. Before the officer had time to react, Harvey had his shot, and the model was clothed.

The excitement of the moment, the crowd’s reaction and evading police officers creates an adrenaline high for Harvey and his models.

“My heart is pumping so fast,” Harvey said. “I’m just focused on getting the shots.”

And when he gets the shot, he creates some remarkable images.

His book, “The Spirit of Lady Godiva,” has images of models in front of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, hanging out in New Orleans’ French Quarter and trying to hail a cab in Times Square.

“We walked by his booth and thought it was really cool,” said Kuneman. “I just liked that it’s one whole bunch of people. This will bring people together, and we’ll have a fun day together.”

Kuneman hopes she’ll be ready with the moment approaching.

“I’m really excited, but I don’t want to chicken out,” she said. “I don’t think I will. Like Harvey said, the adrenaline will be high.”

Brian Vernellis is a reporter for He can be reached at 734-623-4617 or



Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 5:38 p.m.

Nudity! Ack, for shame! My virgin eyes doth swell in their sockets!!! Repent, oh lord, does make us in his own image; an image, evidently, that increases teenage pregnancies statistics whenever he whips out a camera. So, immaculate conception is the norm at Harvy's photo shoots?

free form

Sun, Jul 25, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

While I agree that the resulting pieces are rarely great photographs, I think that the actual act of taking the photos is as important as the composition in this case. Sort of performance art mixed with photography. And when have you seen monkeys arrange photo-shoots? This is art. Just because some people don't "get it" or like it doesn't mean anything. One of the best aspects of art is that it can provoke thought and debate. Even though this art isn't exciting groundbreaking, the fact that is has the public talking about art is a good thing. Until people realize that nudity DOES NOT equal immorality, the artist will continue his work. Clearly a few naked people are still enough to shock some people. To those worried that they would have to shield their children's eyes or that this work will make their teenage daughters pregnant... I guess I really have no words for you. Apparently logic and reason have no place in your world. I feel sorry for you.

Duane Collicott

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

"His photos are art." Remember: it's not art if a monkey can do it.

just a voice

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 5:20 p.m.

well, he pulled off a shoot today, from my understanding it was on liberty, I know an artist who had a booth by it so should get a first hand report soon, also a story of an artist at the fair with a picture of a mom w/ stroller rolling by staying at her (look she's taking a picture) while they didn't notice the nude model behind them.

Sandy Castle

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 9:06 p.m.

Hmmm...last I heard teenage pregnancies had something to do with your teenagers having SEX. It doesn't have anything to do with looking at nude paintings OR nude photos. You really should keep tabs on where your kids are. We can't be held responsible for their behavior. OUR kids are just fine, thanks.

just a voice

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 8:56 p.m.

His work is not responsible for teen pregnancy, partially because it has very little impact. I also think public nudity won't kill anyone and won't be upset if my daughter sees the shoot in action. I would also certainly say that his work is not porn, while so much advertising is, look in a copy of Cosmo and you'll see much racier work, blame that for teen pregnancy before Harvey for sure. But besides a FEW good images (the naked people by the cop car for example) the work is of generally low quality, most images aren't composed or exposed well. Harvey is also been very poor in his treatment of models in the past, when he first started doing this work, he agreed to pay the models a portion of the profits, I don't think any of them saw any money, and at the time I had talked to multiple girls who posed for him (at least 3, and they had talked to other models). Harvey is an artist at getting media attention, as he got a story on him when he first started on (I believe it was) CNN, but needs to work on the photo part. So the real question, for me is, is his work Art? How do we define what art is? I'm willing to agree its art, if we can agree it's low quality art.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 7:03 p.m.

I worry about the children of those who think nudity is amoral and shows a lack of values. Poor babies don't have a chance to grow up properly with such small-minded bigotry around them 24/7.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

there's such a fine line between art and porn


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

Many of the 500,000 visitors to the Art Fair need to be reminded of what art can be.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

I don't think anyone is "totally dismissing teenage pregnancies" they are dismissing the fact that this has anything to do with it.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

We don't allow Fido to poo poo all over the sidewalk, consequently we don't have to watch out so we don't step in it. If Mr Drouillard wouldn't spread his 'art' poo poo all over the sidewalk, we wouldn't have to avert our kids' eyes either.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

His photos are art. Several commenters are apparently unable to distinguish between "technically illegal" and "morally wrong." Art photos have nothing to do with teenage pregnancy, and wouldn't even be all that exciting to teenagers who have access to an entire Internet full of porn. Worried about your kids? Spend time with them, and watch what they're doing.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

I don't get it...breaking the law is now art? How about some random muggings in the middle of art fair...also art? The photog himself says it is an adrenaline rush...I doubt it has anything to do with an artistic passion...he just likes to thumb his nose at the law and see nudies at the same time...but then again...Art Fair is more about the money than the art nowadays. But I do appreciate all of the comments totally dismissing teenage pregnancies...


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 3:34 p.m.

It'd be nice if Harvey could yell out a warning just beforehand so that parents could have time to cover children's eyes...but I suppose if someone yelled something, I'd probably look toward the yelling.

Steven Harper Piziks

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

Yeah! A few seconds of a naked human flesh totally erodes a lifetime of moral teaching from one's parents and gets teenagers pregnant. Tsk tsk tsk.

Lynn Lumbard

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

I had been wondering about the cause of teenage pregnancies. I's all because of photographer, Harvey. Shame on him.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 2:23 p.m.

Looks like his parents never let take moral and values class in the school or did he bunk those classes and played hookie? What a crap! And then we wonder why we have teenage pregnancies around the country!