Category Archives: Film

Diary: Why I bought a 38

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38 Holstered. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018. Model: Sandy Ward

 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018
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38 HOLSTERED

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Back in the early 90’s, my wife and I were visiting friends at a party in Vineland, New Jersey, about an hours drive from our studio in center city Philadelphia when my cell phone rang.  It was a neighbor in our building on 6th street informing me that our apartment had been broken into and police were called to investigate.  I was shocked at first never before was I violated in such a personal way. Sandy (my wife at the time) and I immediately drove home speeding up 42 North towards the Walt Whitman Bridge. By the time of our arrival home the building was silent, no police in sight,  just a vague description from a neighbor that they saw a man with a tape player in his hand hastily walking down the fire escape and out the back door of the building.

When I entered the apartment from the garage, the rear door exiting to the fire escape was closed but not locked. There was no clear sign of a break in. Not a scratch on the door or a crowbar left behind. It raised serious questions as to who could have entered the loft without breaking in? A few things were missing; change that I left on the burrow of my bedroom, my fathers antique watch that he gave me when I was in college, the new tape player that I just bought was missing.  All of the wires connecting it to the rest of the stereo equipment was strewn about. My mind started to imagine and search for who the perpetrator could be? Was it one of my employee’s some of whom did have a key?

The next day I drove up to my father’s house in Elkins Park and asked him to go with me to a gun shop that I knew was straight up 611 just before you get to the Willow Grove mall. We parked out in front of the nondescript place, walked in and began pacing up and down the cases looking for the best way to comfort my fear of the break in. Thoughts of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry came to mind.  I also recalled when I used to go out in the back woods with my roommate in college to practice shooting at tin cans with his 44 Magnum until one day he cracked the barrel by overpacking the bullets. The store’s salesman convinced me I didn’t need anything that large. The 38 Rossi was an adequate means of protecting my home in the event of another break in when I was home or worse home with my wife and children. I became a regular at the shooting range and eventually learned how to pack my own hollow point bullets.

Fortunately, I have never had to use it other than to enjoy the cheap thrill of being able to hit a target from a certain distance. Nowadays folks go out and buy an AR15 for similar reasons. Somehow I think that is a bit over kill.

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To access additional diary entries by Tony Ward, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/diary-portrait-of-a-jersey-girl/

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About The Author: Tony Ward is a fine art photographer, author, blogger, publisher and Adjunct Professor of Photography at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Portrait of Tony Ward by Ed Simmons, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Tony Ward by Ed Simmons, Copyright 2018

Also posted in Accessories, Art, Blog, Diary, Documentary, Environment, History, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Still Life

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 Art, Blog, Diary, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Corey Fader: Event Photography

 

Photography and Logo Design by Corey Fader, Copyright 2018

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About the Author: Corey Fader is a Senior enrolled in the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. Class of 2018. To see more photography by Corey Fader, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/corey-fader-night/

 

 

Also posted in Advertising, Art, Blog, Fashion, Glamour, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, Women

Karen Liao: A Fresh Perspective on Photography

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Photo: Karen Liao

Photography and Text by Karen Liao, Copyright 2018

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Book Review

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Susan Sontag: On Photography

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A Fresh Perspective on Photography

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Susan Sontag’s On Photography is a highly complex, brilliant look at the development, meaning, and impact of photography on the world. The book is split into six chapters discussing various aspects of photography, and I wanted to tease out my thought processes and lessons learned regarding the relationship between morals, photography, and its effects. As someone who is currently approaching photography with a more documentarian mindset, I was shocked, but understanding of what Sontag brings to the surface about this type of photography.

Sontag starts out by describing photography as not only a “defense against anxiety”, but also “a tool of power”. However, what I’ve learned is that this tool of power does not work by purely illustrating; there are many more layers to its working. Sontag argues that photographs never purely reflect reality. Photographs will always be an interpretation of the world, because photographers impose standards on subjects of their photos. In addition, Sontag states that surrealism is pervasive and actually “the heart of photograph” because photography creates a different, designed reality that can be more dramatic than reality. She uses the examples of photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Ben Shahn being members of the Farm Security Administration photographic project in the late 1930s, and how they would take many pictures of the impoverished, but choose certain pictures that would support their own perspectives of what these subjects’ narratives should be.

In addition, we shouldn’t say that seeing a photograph will help us to understand the world more—we are simply accepting the image of whatever the camera records and having this picture fill a blank in our perception of the past and present. What’s created for us is an “exotic reality” that ranges from the bourgeois life to the poor. Photography, operating with its surrealistic core, can only collect information and bring an illusion of understanding. The camera simply makes the audience “a tourist in other people’s reality”. This ties in with the concept that Sontag brings up in later chapters about how the tendency to focus on aesthetics in photography, even in mediums that are supposed to convey distress, can neutralize the effect of the photo. She makes the harsh statement that as much as these photos create sympathy, they also “miniaturize experience, transform history into spectacle”.

All this criticism of the morals behind photography has made an impact on my thoughts as a photographer. My previous work in the class has focused on telling stories or bringing to light the issues that vulnerable populations deal with (mental health, chronic illness). For example, my chosen picture is a photograph of a dear, personal patient of mine in the hospital. As providers in healthcare, we are constantly reminded of our responsibility to be patient advocates, and I believed that this picture was powerful in the way that it photographed a real patient struggling with chronic illnesses. I wanted others to see her perspective and reality—to fight for people like her. However, Sontag’s passages have led me to understand that there are factors such as my interpretation and aestheticism, as well as the limited extent of photography to bring understanding, that inhibit me from spreading my complete message to my intended audience. Photos do not bring reality or full understanding. It was a bit disappointing at first, but I understand and agree with Sontag’s analyses. However, in the end, I have decided that it is still better to “fill that mental picture” with the “exotic reality” from photographs such as these than to never at all have exposed my audience to the pictures. There’s a risk-benefit evaluation in presenting these photos, but I believe that as long as I acknowledge the limitations of photography, the outcome of spreading this interpreted reality to others will still be better than nothing.

Finally, I wanted to end on a more positive perspective on photography. Sontag describes how the possession of a camera can evoke a feeling similar to lust. The possibilities of photography are infinite, and photographers are stuck in a cycle where the camera is both “the antidote and the disease”. Access to photography has given us awareness of the transience of everything, as well as the ability to capture all the fleeting moments. I don’t know how large of a part photography will play in my life as I advance in my career, but tasting the antidote has started the cycle for me.

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About The Author: Karen Liao is a Junior enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Karen Liao, click here:http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/karen-liao-homage-textures/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, Women

Jesse Halpern: The Bridge Between Beauty and Truth

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Trash Can

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Photography and Text by Jesse Halpern, Copyright 2018

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Book Review

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Susan Sontag: On Photography

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The Bridge Between Beauty and Truth

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My senior focus in my high school painting class was on objects that are under appreciated, things that we use daily that we do not really notice until we notice that they are not there. An outlet, or a trash can. I wanted to make these objects seem special though painting I could more easily doctor and manipulate the object to beautify. I could edit reality with painting to achieve what I wanted, something I did not think I could do with photography.

I took a gap year after high school. I went to Europe  on an art history trip with an Iphone. I had always been a luddite, never really liked technology or phones in highschool, but I wanted to document my trip, as Susan Sontag might suggest I did to prove that it happened, to have the visual evidence. Looking back through on my art history trip, the first shots were of details of places we went, untraditional angels. They were subpar photos with a few nice shots. It was entertaining so I kept taking pictures.

At Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, I Photographed a green trash can, something forgotten in the gardens. The interest in the overlooked was still with me from high school. The photos of the trash can were not interesting before editing. If I didn’t care about the subject matter I might not have even tried to edit it, but everything came together with editing when I used the noir filter and made a few minor adjustments with editing tools I didn’t fully understand yet. This moment brought about a realization that I could photography as another medium to glorify the underappreciated objects in our everyday life. It was a new medium to continue my senior thesis. I don’t think I had ever really taken a photo that I was proud of before this trash can. This was really the start of my surveying reality with a photographic eye. This is when I truly discovered the joys of photography. Phone in hand, I was on the hunt to find compositional elements that I associated with good pictures. Much like the photographer described as the surrealist in Susan Sontag’s On Photography, I now wanted to collect the world.

What compelled me the most reading Sontag  was the vastly different approaches photographers took I capturing people. Diane Arbus has a very frank manner showing the “ugly” or “deformed” but expressing in their character that they don’t see themselves. Sanders in Germany documenting people in different social classes as they are, unjudging. Walker Evans subway series, with a concealed camera and unaware viewers. Lersky’s everyday faces in 1931 finds beauty in faces of laborers. Such profoundly different truths all captured in people. Photography as described by Sontang bridges beauty and truth telling, and all these works are indicative of that. Each series showed me something about people, and each was beautiful.

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About The Author: Jesse Halpern is a Sophomore enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Jesse Halpern, click here:http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jesse-halpern-porches-philadelphia/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography