Category Archives: Art

A.H.Scott: The Grab Back

EUSTACE PILGRAM TRUMP NUCLEAR_grab_back_Tony_Ward_Studio

Illustration by Eustace M, Pilgram, Copyright 2018

 

Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2018

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Illustration by Eustace M. Pilgram, Copyright 2018

Author’s Note: 

North Korea is just another layer in the cake of chaos that 45 has made over these past 12 months. I couldn’t resist tossing in Joseph Welch into this hideous mix. Geez, one year seems like a century under this con known as Don. But, in the midterms and 2020, “The Grab Back” is coming for him and his complicit party. Everything he touches turns to dust…..

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THE GRAB  BACK

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Flip the coin

Flip it well

Cuz’ as the days grind on, we’re all being dragged to Hell

Both sides are made of people who are fine, as the Monarch of Mendacity always tells

Seems like a century has been compressed into 365 days since his inauguration

Fit as a fiddle is what his doc says

Yet, our eyes can’t deceive us as the con known as Don smirks along these demeaning days

The cult of Trump is oblivious to anyone who doesn’t bow to the tantrum titan

Heather Heyer was her name

Do you give a damn?

La David Johnson was his name

Do you give a damn?

Coin flips again

Of course he never retreats, as onto the next debasing is his delight

Flipping coins of hate is the only way his pleasure is elevated and hardened

Stable is fable

Genius is not his

Decency be damned

America be damned

Planet be damned

Well, I’ll be damned

But, the flippin’ goes on

And, that’s part of Don’s con

Welch once asked a question of sense

But, that would only matter to one who had any

Comeuppance of The Grab Back is coming to thee

Tyrannical!

Reprehensible!

Undignified!

Myopic!

Piddler!

In chief

In grief

Stain upon our world will not be brief

In over his thumbs and head

Flim-Flim is what we dread

The predicament we got here ain’t a failure to communicate

It’s a failure to close the mouth and open the ears, proves he is a man who history cannot educate

But, he gets off on seeing us all in tears and with a frown

Put the shovel down and stop using that blowhole of yours as some kind of Stalinistic crown

Boasting of a button so large, seems the only way his fragile ego can get a constant recharge

Your button is minute, as is your capacity for humility

Two men of madness across bodies of water pout and rant

Yet, the elder of the two is more immature than the younger pissant

Down this road of sorrow, man of rage flexes 240 characters towards a dark future

Nuclear winter could be near, for arrogance’s finger on the button of apocalypse is ever so clear

Crazy he is not, for there are more than enough fellow travelers in his lot

All of us who are sane are hoping Nuclear winter won’t be a result of a pissing contest insult

Insults be damned, for his soul is a stone of narcissism

Monarch of Mendacity inflates his chest with pride

He doesn’t give a thought on who is on the other side

Squawking about who’s coming in and who you want in this country proves your racism can no longer hide

Callously speaking of human beings as if they were soot

Now, let’s get down to the root

Root of his core isn’t larger than life for something so truly itsy-bitsy makes the world tsk-tsk in strife

Your button is minute

Your bullying sure as hell ain’t cute

And, Vladimir owns your chute of poot

Pussy Hat!

Pussy Hat!

Damn straight, that’s where it’s at

The Grab Back is here

Now, get this loud and clear: Voters are Gonna’ Vote & Kick All the Grabbers in the Rear!

The only hole that manure belches from is located between his vicious lips

So, to that man who is void of conscience, the Kitties dig in their claws deep, “Hole Off & Flip!!”

Mid-terms and 2020 are gonna’ be the ultimate payback and Grab-Back trip!

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About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by A. H. Scott, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/h-scott-vortex-vile/

 

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Friends of TWS, History, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Women

Victoria Meng: Book Review – Susan Sontag’s, On Photography

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Venus and the Rags. Photo: Victoria Meng, Copyright 2018

 

Photography and Text by Victoria Meng, Copyright 2018

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Book Review – Susan Sontag’s, On Photography

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Raw emotions frozen in time, the essence of an era preserved forever, ecstatic motion immortalized in texture. Empirically, photographs are magical. From light and film, life is created within two dimensions, from detail and abstraction comes an irresistible invitation to stop and stare.

Yet the incredible experience of viewing a masterful photograph is inherently linked to the process behind the camera. Susan Sontag’s On Photography, ultimately invoked within me the idea that photography is far more than just capturing reality. Rather it is creating a new reality reframing the world to illustrate both metaphorical and literal light and darkness.

Interestingly, Sontag strays away from fixating on a photographer’s inherent talent, expressing that “time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.” So it seems a true differentiator of great photographs lies in the ability to preserve fragile “ethical content” and to convey the emotional charge of a moment. I now understand that by hiding more of reality than it exposes, photography is infinitely flexible. The most mundane scenario can be made exotic and dangerous, while the strangest of subjects can be humanized.

Another fascinating facet of photography was revealed in Sontag’s discussion of Surrealism. Defying conventional associations between Surrealism and imaginative, albeit alien, interpretations of life, Sontag’s emphasizes a discussion of politics and class. In her view, “what renders a photography surreal is its… intimations about social class”, that Surrealism itself is a bourgeois disaffection. This resonated with my own concerns about the ethics of documentary photography and the concept of voyeuristically capturing the plight of other human beings. Here the documentation of strife becomes “the gentlest of predations”, especially when one has not experienced that strife first hand. The danger of social tourism through photography is especially pertinent now in the social media age, and as I continue my own journey as a photographer empathy will be an added dimension I will strive to capture.

However, the potential for exploitation in photography is also coupled with the potential for exploration and celebration. Later essays in “On Photography” explored the idea of democratizing beauty through photographic interpretations. A camera can introduce paradoxical elicitations of aesthetics, either being extremely forgiving of flaws in a subject or exaggerating those flaws to the point of creating a newly invented interpretation of beauty. I find this unconventional view of the world inspiring as it creates within the minutiae of everyday life the potential for ingenuity. 

The idea that potentially any subject can serve as a blank canvas for crafting a message, or what Sontag so eloquently describes as “sensorially stimulating” confusion, inspired my choice of image for this report. For greater context, my grandfather, who first introduced me to photography, accompanied me to the National Mall this summer. As we weaved between museums trying to avoid Washington’s scorching August heat, we eventually wandered into the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Upon entering the building, I can’t say that I was instantly impressed. Paintings came in the form of a few abstract dots on the wall, while a sculpture consisted of dilapidated car crash wreckage. Perhaps it was the heat exhaustion or simply my own preferences for non-contemporary art, but I felt in that moment that the entire art world had evolved into the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Looking around the Hirshhorn, I certainly experienced the confusion Sontag described, but no residual effects of emotion or humanity. However, upon wandering upstairs, “Venus of the Rags” provided me with a suspiciously timely answer. A cheekily ironic sculpture, which I have photographed above, “Venus of the Rags” relies on jarring juxtaposition to relate a simple message: art, like life, is what you make of it. Conventions about aesthetics are often overly institutionalized, even arbitrary. Perhaps the value we assign to the perfect figure of Venus could just as well be applied to the chaotic abstraction of the rags.

Ultimately, reading On Photography helped me consolidate an insight I’ve been struggling to grasp since my experience at the Hirshhorn this summer. I’ve now come to realize that rather than fixating on the inherent artistic worth of different subjects, I should apply my own creativity to explore the context of a presented reality. While it is ultimately impossible to gain 100% of the truth in any circumstance, when I am behind the viewfinder of a camera, I will try to capture with honesty and dignity my own understanding of the world around me.

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in Washington D.C., I was truly seeing.

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About The Author: Victoria Meng is a Sophomore enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Victoria Meng, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/victoria-meng-artist-statement/

 

Also posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Documentary, History, Photography, Popular Culture, UPenn, UPenn: Photography Students, Women

Julia Chun: A Review of Susan Sontag’s Classic, On Photography

Photo: Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

Photo: Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

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Photography and Text by Julia Chun, Copyright 2018

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A Review of Susan Sontag’s Classic, On Photography

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Throughout the book, I felt that Sontag’s messages were quite heavy, as if she was warning me about the weight my act of photographing could have. She described the act of taking a picture as an act of non-intervention, aggression, possession, work, interpretation of reality, beautification, and truth-telling. I didn’t agree to and couldn’t possibly resonate to all the claims she made, difference in view which probably comes from our difference in professionalism as well as our personal views. But to someone so newly introduced to photography and in a stage caught up with taking a visually pleasant photo, the points she brought up were a timely reminder on the weight and implications of photography. 

Since I never had the intention of becoming a professional photographer, the purpose of every photo-shoot has been either for class or for my own satisfaction. I thought of it as a great opportunity to bring to life what I always pictured in my mind or a way of recording a fragment of my life using professional equipment I didn’t previously have access to. Its consequences were never heavy. But regardless of what my end goal was, I realized that some picture had to be captured in a certain way to fulfill my intention. Activists giving political speeches would be captured at the moment I felt best represented them, based on my subjective view of the matter. If I choose to take a picture of a particular moment, I am deciding to do so rather than taking an action to prevent something dangerous from happening or even asking my subjects to put themselves in the particular situation.

So although I may never grow to be a photographer whose pictures are used to let the citizens of the country reveal the horrors of war, while I continue to grow as a photographer aware of everything a picture could do, many of the points Susan Sontag made in the book will be relevant to me.

There were also points that just struck me, which made me happy to know that someone so professional also had the same experience in the journey as a photographer. “To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed”. I always want to capture the best representation of each subject and I feel a strong sense of possession when I take a satisfying picture. Consider the picture below for instance.

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About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Julia Chun, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/julia-chun-art-dance/

 

Also posted in Blog, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn: Photography Students, Women

Alberto Jimenez: Robotics

 

Photography and Text by Alberto Jimenez, Copyright 2018

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ROBOTICS

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As a student in Robotics, I appreciate the changes technology brings to society. I have seen the world change as we continuously develop new ways to get things done. One of my favorite time periods in history is the Industrial Revolution, because I believe it was the most pivotal. It amazes me how the introduction of machinery dramatically changed every aspect of human life and lifestyles. From human development to impact on natural resources, the effects have been profound. I believe we are now in a new revolution where robotics will cause a turning point in life just like the Industrial Revolution did.

Robotics is the beautiful combination of my favorite three subject: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I spent most of my undergraduate time mastering the art of mechanical fabrication. From machining, laser cutting, and 3D printing to welding and casting, I have created various projects that showcase what I have learned. I sub-matriculated into the Robotics program my junior year in college and that is when I was exposed to the integration of the three subjects. I started building circuits and writing code that integrated with my mechanical systems. My portfolio follows my trajectory from building inanimate mechanical objects to building smart robots.

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About The Author: Alberto Jiminez is a Senior enrolled in the School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Alberto Jimenez, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/alberto-jimenez-whats-now-2017/

 

Also posted in Engineering, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography

Diary: Maggie. Portrait of the Day

Portrait of the Day: Maggie.

Portrait of the Day: Maggie.

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Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018.

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Portrait of the Day

I met Maggie back in the 1990’s during a period when I was photographing a lot of young women in my hometown of Philadelphia.  Maggie is the daughter of my old friend; Neil Stein the visionary restaurenteur who transformed the Rittenhouse Square area during the early 1990’s with the birth of the Stripped Bass and later Rouge, boutique dining at its finest. Neil was a fan of my work and amongst the early collectors of vintage prints from the collection. 

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To see additional Diary entries  from this period, click herehttp://tonyward.com/2017/07/07/diary-isabella-reneaux-first-sitting/

 

Also posted in Blog, Diary, Erotica, Fashion, Film, Glamour, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women