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July 2, 2017

May It Please The Court – The Story Behind a 1983 Pinellas County Courtroom Photo Ended Up in Playboy

In 1983, judge David Demers in Pinellas County was presiding over a trial of three exotic dancers charged with violating Pinellas' anti-nudity ordinance.

During the trial, a dancer bent over in front of the bench to show the judge that her outfit did not expose anything too anatomical. The photo of the scene was republished around the country, including Playboy's "The Year in Sex."

We now have the story behind the photo, straight from Tampa Bay Times staff photographer Jim Damaske: "I was shooting freelance for the Clearwater Sun and UPI when the Sun got a tip what was going to happen. I got the call. Exotic dancers said that their shorts were too big to show what the undercover officers said they saw. The judge agreed with the dancers after they bent over. The photo went out on the UPI wire, which is how it got picked up everywhere."

Jim also reports that, in addition to appearing in Playboy, the photo was featured in ‘Best of Photojournalism, 9: Newspaper and Magazine Pictures of the Year' by the National Press Photographers Association. Ken Kobre used it in his book ‘Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach' for many years. The German weekly news magazine Der Stern ran it as a double-page spread.

(via Tampa Bay Times)


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