Renaissance Swamp Man

Lucky Cole likes nudes. Who doesn't?

They married in 1982.

Lucky bought the three-acre property in 1991 and soon moved his trailer there. "Ben was so upset and angry with me that he didn't speak to me for a year and a half," Lucky recalls. "Yet I had only moved a mile down the road."

When Maureen first saw the land, it was just overgrown brush. "I figure he's getting out of the car to take a leak, because this can't possibly be where we are going to live," she says. She points to the compound's northeast corner. "We walked through this little clearing where an old, burnt-out mobile home was just sitting there."

Ana Paula strikes a pose on Loop Road
Lucky Cole
Ana Paula strikes a pose on Loop Road

Maureen didn't bolt, even though the place was a mess and her husband, who has been divorced twice, is something of a flirt. "God made woman last," he says. "I think she's His finest creation."

According to Bill Brownly, one of Lucky's drinking buddies: "He has had more beautiful women in the Everglades than any man I have met in my entire life."

Brownly shares another interesting tidbit about Lucky: He's a notary public who performs marriages. In March 2001, Lucky officiated as Brownly and his wife Luisa renewed their wedding vows. More than 100 guests, most of whom had set up tents to stay overnight, were present at the ceremony, for which Brownly and Lucky had donned black cowboy gear. At one point, a park ranger denounced the groom, calling him an outlaw and a no-good poacher. Lucky drew his nickel-plated, long-barrel .44 handgun and shot.

There were only blanks.

"Lucky just loves putting on a show," Brownly says.

The jolly giant certainly makes no secret of his love for the female form, no matter the shape or size. Lucky's models, photos of whom are displayed on his front porch, in his outhouse, and on his computers, are a menagerie of blonds, brunets, and redheads. Few are stereotypical centerfolds. Nonetheless Lucky takes pride in making them feel beautiful. "Women get in front of that mirror and they see a change every day," Lucky preaches. "Women love to have a history so they can look back on themselves in their photographs."

As a seven-year-old, when most male children are trying to keep the opposite sex out of the clubhouse, Lucky visited a modeling academy in Miami Springs owned by his aunt, Violet Walker. "I'd be over there, and all these gorgeous women would fawn over me," Lucky says. "So I warmed up to the ladies at an early age."

In his late teens, Lucky took up photography as a hobby. One summer in 1967, he and a date pulled over on the side of the road by Monument Lake, located about a mile west of Monroe Station on Loop Road. Back then, Lucky drove a black 1965 Ford Mustang with a red leather interior. "She was a gorgeous strawberry blond," Lucky reminisces. "I photographed her nude on top of the hood. That was the first time I did it. Since then, I've been photographing women in the swamp over the years."

But his pastime became a business only sometime in late 1999, when Maureen decided Lucky's hobby could be put to profitable use. She wants people to understand that her husband is not just some run-of-the-mill sleazy photographer. "We have many clients who don't do nudes at all," Maureen says. "Some who just want a costume setting or something that is really different. Obviously we'll do tasteful nudes, but we're not going to do anything that is in the least bit on the raunchy side."

And Lucky has an extensive album collection of women in the buff frolicking in the muck, in the outdoor shower stall, in the sandbox, and on the front porch. It takes him almost two hours to page through the catalogue of photos saved to the hard drives on his two computers in his office trailer.

In one set of pictures, a short-haired brunet wearing red lingerie and a black feather boa grips a slender tree trunk. She is sandwiched between a topless blond wearing white angel wings, and a topless, curly-haired brunet wearing black angel wings. In other images, a variety of naked women take turns sitting in an oval metal tub.

This collection doesn't include the thousands of photographs Lucky has shot on 35mm film, which he's stored inside old metal ammunition boxes. "It would take us years to look through all my pictures," he says.

On average, Lucky says, he charges his clients $500 for taking between 500 and 800 shots. He and his subject then select the best 100 photos to burn onto a CD and print eight-by-ten images. Lucky estimates that since he started the business, he has photographed at least 100 women, some of whom have traveled from Spain and Italy to have him photograph them. "I'm not bragging," he asserts. "I have tons of material no one sees because my clients don't want me using their photographs."

Lucky proceeds to display some of his photographs on a desktop. In one set, a buxom nude brunet with long curly hair crawls on the muddy ground, wades through the marsh water, and showers in the outdoor stall. Another photo shows a clothed redhead sitting behind Maureen on Lucky's motorcycle. Both ladies are wearing halter tops, dusters, and cowboy hats.

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