Category Archives: Environment

Bob Shell: Strange Signs

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Beware of Dog. Photo: Tony Ward, 1979

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #20

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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STRANGE SIGNS

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In my travels I always kept an eye open for interesting things to photograph. Sometimes it was people, sometimes animals, sometimes street scenes, and so on. One thing I saw almost everywhere was signs, sometimes official, more often hand printed. Among the official signs, one of my favorites is a bronze plaque set into a sidewalk in Germany. It reads something like:

On this spot on February 16, 1539,

Absolutely nothing happened.

I’m sure I got the date wrong, but you get the idea. That was either in Munich or Wetzlar.

One time in Germany, Peter Moore took s picture of me next to an arrow sign pointing at me, saying EIN FAHRT. Of course that means “ONE WAY,” as any German speaker knows!

A sign I saw in South Tyrol, the German-speaking part of northern Italy, was in multiple languages, but totally incompressible in any. I think it warned of flash floods, but that didn’t come from the text, but from the little man panicking in rushing water in the pictograph at the top of the sign.

Seen in the American Midwest on the side of a big white building:

CUSTOM KILLING

Makes you want to walk right in, eh?

On a large factory in Hong Kong:

HUNG FAT BRASSIERE COMPANY

And in a hotel in that same city, on a plaque on the inside of the room door a number of suggestions for hotel guests, including:

HOTEL GUESTS ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MAIDS

The intent comes through, but a native English speaker would have phrased it differently! You find lots of butchered English in the far east, one of the best sighted in a shop window:

ENGLISH WELL SPEACHED HERE

Yeah, sure it is.

In a Chinese restaurant window in, I think, Kuala Lumpur (which itself means “Muddy Junction”) was this:

BLOODY GOOD CHINESE FOOD AT FAIR DINKUM PRICES

That one got me to go inside. I don’t know if the prices were really “fair dinkum,” but the food was really good.

Closer to home, driving up Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley through picturesque little towns I spotted this one on the roadside:

BOX SPRING & MATTERS FUR SAIL

Gets the point across, I guess. Not far along the same road, this one:

BLAN KETS $ 4.00 PA URD

Took a while to figure out that this person was selling blankets for $ 4.00 per yard! They were actually very nice home made blankets at a reasonable price.

And on the side of a barn in New Bern, Virginia:

WE DONT RENT PIGS

I think they stole the idea for that one!

A friend recently sent me this one:

WELCOME

THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY

PLEASE DON’T DRIVE LIKE HELL THROUGH IT

I like that one.

I have a large collection of photos of odd signs in my archive, some of which made money as stock images.

Which leads into another topic, stock photography. Unfortunately, the days when a photographer could earn a nice second income from stock photo sales are pretty much over. I used to get regular checks from the licensing of images I had with agencies. Then along came tbe Internet, and my stock payments lost two zeros on the amount payable line. People used to ask me what’s was the most I ever got paid for a single image. I’d smile and say 78,000. After the shock wore off, I’d clarify that it was Yen, not dollars. It was for the use of one of my images on the cover of the Japanese edition of a Danielle Steel romance novel. Actually, the Japanese editions of several of her books bear my photographs thanks to a real whirlwind of an agent I had in Tokyo. Tony knows who I’m talking about.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Shell was recently moved from Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia to River North Correctional Center 329 Dellbrook Lane Independence, VA 24348.  Mr. Shell continues to claim his innocence. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/08/bob-shell-warning-environmentalist-rant/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Film, Friends of TWS, History, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Travel

Racquel Ward: Poor me, home alone and nuttin’ to do….

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

Poetry by Racquel Ward, Copyright 2018

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Poor me, home alone and nuttin’ to do….

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Mmm today is one of them lucky days

The luckiest day of the month

Nobody is home

I got the house to myself

So I’m gon’ do what I want

Am I feeling like munchin’?

Puffin’ or a drink?

Sleep? Energetic?

Nah, horny I think.

And if not I can get me in the mood with this here tape

I been saving it for a time, a place

A finger to circle shape…down there

A finger to have circle shaping clockwise, counter clockwise, side to side

Back and forth

Eenie Meenie miney moe

The middle finger’s good to go

Utilize my strength and ability to be soft

I pop the tape in

Rest my feet up

2 feet between my thighs, look up

Sigh

Take the journey

Ride

Rise

Steady

Drip

Release

Sleep

Look forward to next months trip

Hell, I’ll make it next week.

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About The Author: Racquel Ward is a writer and educational therapist living in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Culture and Media studies and a BFA in Contemporary Music from the New School University – Manhattan, New York. Racquel also holds a Master’s of Science in Teaching. She has been published on ThoughtCatalog and most recently finished her first children’s book. To access additional articles by Racquel Ward, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/racquel-ward-60s-back/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Erotica, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Bob Shell: Warning; Environmentalist Rant

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #19

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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WARNING: ENVIRONMENTALIST RANT

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Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory of my people. The white man is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he wants. The Earth is not his brother, but his enemy.

Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. —

That was written by Chief Seattle of the Duwanish tribe in 1855 in a letter to President Franklin Pierce. It could be written today to our present President just as well. We’ve polluted our own beds, and we’re close to the tipping point after which it will be too late. The tipping point, as explicated by Malcolm Gladwell in his book of the same name, is like making a pile of rice one grain at a time. You reach a point at which adding even one more single grain causes the whole pile to collapse. It is the straw that broke the camel’s back in the old Arab proverb.

We know how to generate clean, nonpolluting energy, but political forces are holding us back from doing it. I read several years ago that Portugal was generating all its electricity from clean, nonpolluting sources. Other European countries are on track to do the same. But not us, Do we have to wait until we pass the tipping point when the whole shebang collapses before we realize that cleaning up our act is not optional? We’re no longer cavemen who just discovered fire, and we need to stop burning stuff, particularly “fossil fuels,” and chopping down forests.

I have friends who are living “off the grid” right now, and are perfectly happy. Maybe there should be no grid. Make every household and building self sufficient. Is that possible? Yes, but it would require lifestyle changes we seem unwilling to make as a society.

For the global warming deniers I have this to say: It IS happening. Whether it’s totally anthropogenic or a natural cycle that we’re adding to and speeding up is really irrelevant. We need to stop contributing to it either way. At least for now this is the only planet we’ve got. We could have colonies on Mars one day and maybe even on other planets orbiting other stars, but until we figure out how to get into space using ways other than brute force rockets, that’s a long way off. Once we learn how gravity and inertia really work, we’ll be able to control them and move through space at near-infinite speed with very little energy expended, and the energy we need is out there to be harvested from “empty space” once we learn how. Some brilliant new Einstein will hit on the answer one day. I just hope she/he is not too late.

As Mark Twain wrote:

The researches of many commentators have already thrown much darkness on this subject, and it is probable that if they continue we shall soon know nothing at all about it.

Space migration, the first part of Tim Leary’s famous mantra SMI2LE (Space Migration, Intelligence Squared, Life Extension) is our ultimate future: “The finer part of mankind will, in all likelihood, never perish — they will migrate from sun to sun as each goes out. And so there is no end to life, to intellect, and the perfection of humanity. Its progress is everlasting.”. Konstintin E. Tsiolkovsky, father of rocketry and the Soviet space program wrote that. I agree with Tsiolkovsky that our future is in the Universe, but we must preserve this precious planetary womb until we are able to go forth “where no one has gone before.”

One of the more interesting people I’ve met in my life is Aleksander Balandin, Cosmonaut who spent six months in space aboard the old Mir space station. We met at a conference in San Marino where I was a speaker in 1996. Because he spoke no English and I no Russian, we relied on his handler Boris Tchourinoff to converse when we met for meals. I asked Aleksander what was the most beautiful thing he saw in space, and without pause he said, “Las Vegas at night.”. He wanted, he said, to go there one day. I told him not to, just to hold the memory, because seeing the real place would spoil the fantasy. Like most Astronauts and Cosmonauts, Aleksander had developed a deep, almost spiritual, feeling for the fragility of our planet, and the need to preserve it. (His handler/translator kept telling me, “I am not KGB because there is no more KGB.) But he clearly was there to watch over Aleksander and to make sure he gave away no secrets, and several times I could tell he was editing his translation and leaving things out. But we had a great time notwithstanding. We went out late one night since we were all not on local time, and I took a bunch of pictures of Boris clowning around after having a little too much to drink. I got the feeling that Russians like to have their fun, let their hair down, so to speak. But it was obvious that protection of our planet was as important to them as it was to me.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Shell was recently moved from Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia to River North Correctional Center 329 Dellbrook Lane Independence, VA 24348.  Mr. Shell continues to claim his innocence. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-my-years-at-shutterbug/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Friends of TWS, Politics, Popular Culture

A.H. Scott: The Torch

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The Torch

 

 

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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Essay by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2018

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“A fool who dances with fascism balances on a tightrope of fallacy. Melody of the cheering masses are the intoxicant that allows the fool to believe all which he thinks and does is a symphony of approval; when in fact, many in that crowd are just amused by circus act that arrived before their eyes. History is a flame which never is truly doused, as it can burn that tightrope the fool balances precariously upon. Empires fall as do fools” – A.H. Scott

The Torch

Callous to the core
When the world wants less of his mess, he presses forth with more, more, more
As everything he ever touches turns to ash
Hopes of Dreamers are dashed
Core of who he is churns on the spit of hate, proving this spoiled, rich man’s son is beneath and below a penniless reprobate
Dollars he may have
But, sense is vacant in his sphere
Accept what the leader says is how a megalomaniac gets his kicks
And, for this year’s pick it isn’t Chairman Kim
But, this propaganda is not about DRPK’s nuclear ambition
This is about an orange hedonist’s vicious disposition
Commandant of Cruelty doesn’t ride solo
Prince of piety is Mike Pence
His swooning gaze at his orange-tinged King can make the world blush a rainbow
Yet, loving your fellow man can never be in the land of He and his preachy beliefs
On a Trump leash Mike always heels, especially if in a stadium where an ungrateful bunch of sons of bitches kneels
So pure Pence is, of mind and soul
Yet, he works under a man whose own words have told to grab a lady’s angel part and not bat a delicate eyelash of backlash
Frauds come and frauds go, but this crapshow of an administration is a swamp that truly overflows
Babies in cages and parents taken away
Standing up and wishing for the day when ICE will melt away
Humans aren’t stained with a stamp of being illegal
But, now they have been judged by a singular man in a house of white as being not worth anything
They are invisible to his eyes
Even when his beloved daughter and wifey pouted to him about hearing the audio of their cries
He still don’t give two shakes of care, but realized the impact of those bad optics were ever so bruising to his brand
MAGA! MAGA! MAGA!
Sounds like a chant of an arm held at a specified angle upward
Making this country great again, isn’t coming on the watch of this regime
Hearing them thar’ words are just a bumper sticker scheme
Trump and his crew of division and despair have been kicking liberty in the rear for more than a year
From that moment he rolled down the escalator in that tarnished tower that bears his name, the push beyond the limits has been clear
Beyond dignity
Beyond respect
Beyond humanity
Beyond shame
Beyond anything considered normal has been eviscerated
Did it happen overnight?
Of course not
We are the frog in the fractured melting pot
Slow boil
Bit by bit, sliding towards something so dire
It can’t happen here
This is America
Red, White and Blue
It can’t happen here
What is the glue to patch the melting pot?
Resistance!
Voices rise!
Democracy!
This is OUR country, not HIS alone!
We are the BEACON in the darkness!
America is MY home and FREEDOM is my song!

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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/a-h-scott-tws/

 

 

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, History, News, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Popular Culture

Mikala Mikrut: Self Love

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Mikala Taking a Sip

 

 

Poetry and Essay by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2018

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Photography by Alex Meyer, Copyright 2018

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Self Love

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Her nails, blades that once cut along the dotted line around her neck.

Her skin, galaxies for you to explore but never conquer.
Her laugh, flames of fire to keep you warm under that starry sky.
Her eyes, roses at first glance and brambles at second. 
She has more to learn before she finds you.
She was so used to inhaling smoke that wasn’t hers, now there will only be fresh air.
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Mikala Sunbathing

 

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We live in a world drowning in negativity.
 
It is so easy to fall into the mindset of most, that life is excruciating with all of its trials and unexpected turns for the worst. I am no stranger to self deprecating thoughts. However, I have always known the power of loving oneself and haven’t toyed with that positive power until recently. As people once close to me cut me out of their lives for their own (I hope) justifiable reasons, I am choosing to accept who I am and to move forward by trying to better myself.
 
I believe in me. I believe in the good in people and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, because life is not made out of expected moments but it does balance the choices we make. Sometimes we make wrong decisions, and that’s okay in the long run. We are only human, an imperfect species by design. It’s what we do to follow up our actions that speaks volumes; making a promise then breaking it speaks volumes as much as saying something you didn’t mean and then making amends. 
 
I acknowledge my own self worth; my confidence is soaring. On this journey of self love, through the testimonies of friends armed with countless examples of the good I have done, I have found that I really am worth attention and love. I even read somewhere that “fake it ’til you make it” really works, so now I even made it a point to walk anywhere with my head high. I’m proud to report that not only do I feel better, but there have been actual instances where strangers walk up to me and express their admiration. 
 
I am not my mistakes. There have been nights where I hardly sleep because I berate myself over and over on what I “should” have done. What I have realized, though, is that it doesn’t matter. If my wrongdoing was to someone that really knows me, then they will accept my apology and forgive me for acting out of my norm. We cannot be expected to be happy and kind every second of every day, and it is of the upmost importance that we learn to forgive ourselves.
 
The poem I wrote was inspired by a drawing I came across that really resonated with me. I know I’m not perfect, if there even is such a thing, but I am so grateful for that because it gives me a direction to go. I know so many people who wake up, go to work, then go to bed unfulfilled and do it all again the next day. That will not be me, I refuse. I will be a strong, happy woman that accepts her trials rather than expecting life to be perfect and cursing the universe when it isn’t.
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Mikala Meditating by the Pool

 
 
About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a sophomore enrolled at Southern Utah University and  summer intern at Catherine Trifliletti Design, Las Vegas. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/05/mikala-mikrut-why-be-a-spectator-when-you-can-play-the-game/
 
Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture