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Relationships are fragile. I went through a period in my life where quantity was more important than quality. I went so far as to put a mirror above my bed. Sex had become a spectator sport.

"Sleeping Beauty" was taken one morning when emotions ran deeper that normal. She was a keeper but I wasn't ready to change my ways.

I'm always surprised by the variety of people who buy this photograph from me. Most say the tenderness is what appeals to them. Many ask about the perspective, but when I tell them it's my elbow in the upper left corner they get it.

A lesbian couple once complemented me on it and asked if I'd come to their home and take a similar photograph of them together. I politely refused explaining, "I don't do work for hire".

"Art police" at festivals and Southern Baptists in the Bible Belt are the only people who have taken offence. One Sunday morning returning to my booth with a cup of coffee, I found a Sargent of the Norfolk, VA Police Department waiting for me. He told me to take this picture down or go to jail! We engaged in a heated debate about censorship that drew a crowd of artists and patrons. Looking around, I saw the crowd was with me, but the one who mattered most was holding his ground.

I wondered if there wasn't room for a compromise, so I excused myself and went to my "office" in the corner of my booth. I scribbled a few words and came back with a nipple-sized Post-It Note. Sticking it to the glass and covering the offending area I stepped back and revealed it to the officer. It read: "Must be 18 to Lift".

The crowd laughed and cheered while the Sargent, red-faced, turned on his heels and left.

"Sleeping Beauty"

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All photographs copyrighted by R. C. Fulwiler. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction strictly prohibited. Contact R. C. Fulwiler