Category Archives: Friends of TWS

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, Environment, Film, History, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Travel

Catherine Trifiletti: Lookbook Summer 2018

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Lookbook Summer 2018

 

 

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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To access the Catherine Trifiletti Lookbook Summer 2018. click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/gallery/catherine-trifiletti-design/

 

Also posted in Accessories, Advertising, Affiliates, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Gifts, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Mikala Mikrut: I Hope You Read Her Eyes

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Sabrina

 

Mikala Mikrut: Poetry of the Day, Copyright 2018

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So I wrote this poem for a guy friend who recently started a relationship with Sabrina, one of my best friends and this was my response when he was reading one of her books and said “I will read whatever she says”:
 
I HOPE YOU READ HER EYES
 
Well then I hope you read her eyes, and understand the meaning behind every slight difference in each glance. I hope you read her laugh and her imperfections and her tears. I hope you hold her so gently that her binding never weakens.
Highlight your favorite passages to refer back to when she feels worthless. Write all of your profound and witty comments in her margins, but please remember that you are not the author.
I hope you read between the lines of her stories. I hope you read her humor and her unworldly beauty and her divinity. I hope that you don’t neglect your own reality for her enchantment.
She is the best part of my life, and I hope you bring what she finally deserves in her next chapter.
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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/2018/07/mikala-mikrut-self-love/
 
Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Popular Culture, Student Life

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, Environment, Politics, Popular Culture

Bob Shell: My Years at Shutterbug

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Shutterbug: 1973 – 2018

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison # 18

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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MY YEARS AT SHUTTERBUG

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My history with Shutterbug began in the mid-70s. I don’t even remember exactly when I wrote my first article for them. The magazine was founded by Glenn Patch as Shutterbug Ads, and was originally a tabloid printed on yellow paper (although the very first issue, which I still have, was printed on white paper), and was a buy/sell newspaper made up of classified ads for photo equipment and supplies. Editorial content came later, and originally wasn’t of very high quality. At some point, once editorial content became more important, I was hired as Technical Editor, to bring the accuracy of the adticles up to a higher standard to compete with the major photo magazines. But the magazine needed an editor, and I didn’t have the time to do that job and run my studio. Glenn asked me to find one, and I called my old friend Norman Rothschild, who recommended George Berkowitz, former Editor of Popular Photography magazine, then retired. We contacted George and he took the job. But he hated the Shutterbug Ads name and got it changed to Photographic News. It was published under that name for a year or so, but circulation declined, George left, and the magazine was renamed Shutterbug, still in tabloid newspaper format. I continued as Technical Editor. The next Editor was Jack Naylor, prominent photo historian and owner of the largest camera collection in private hands in the world. Jack lived in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and had no interest in moving to Titusville, Florida, where Shutterbug was based, so he flew down one week a month to put the book together (in the magazine business magazines are called books). Jack was independently wealthy from a major auto parts manufacturing business with factories worldwide, and so he took the job out of love of photography. He certainly didn’t need the money. Eventually he got bored with the job and quit. For a while the magazine drifted along without an editor, but I kept being given more responsibility, and in 1991 I was offered the job of Editor. I accepted, but on the condition that I could work from my home office in Radford, Virginia. I ran the magazine, going down to Titusville several times a year for staff meetings, using FedEx to get my material there, later going to fax, and still later to email attachments and upload to their server.

During my years as Editor the magazine grew every year, and the classified ads became less and less important as a source of income, displaced by the Internet, so editorial content became more and more important. In 1997 Glenn, who’d declared for years that Shutterbug was never going to be sold, sold the magazine to a media conglomerate in NYC called Primedia. I was very upset by this because I’d said many times that if the magazine was sold I wanted a chance to put together an offer. I pretty much knew my days were numbered when they said, “We’re not going to change anything,” and promptly proceeded to change everything. They knew less than zip about the photography business, and put a man in as Publisher whose ideas of where the magazine should go and mine were like oil and water. After photokina 2000 I got a phone call from this guy telling me he was replacing me with someone else as Editor. He really didn’t have the authority to do that, and when I went up to NYC to talk to the Primedia people it became clear that they had been told that I wanted to retire. I could have dragged the whole sordid mess into court, but that might have hurt the magazine I’d devoted my life to, and made it impossible for me to continue as Editor anyway, so I chose to bow out gracefully. Many advertisers contacted me with offers to protest by pulling their advertising, but I told them not to. I didn’t want to hurt Shutterbug. The last thing I wanted was to damage the magazine, so I negotiated a quiet settlement that allowed me to continue as Editor At Large. It hurt me badly financially, because it paid less than half what I’d made as Editor, but at the same time freed me to write for other magazines, so I contacted my friend Bill Hurter at Rangefinder. I’d given Bill work when he was between jobs and he reciprocated by giving me work writing for Rangefinder, which he was then running. I had friends worldwide in the photo magazine world, so I was soon writing for Zoom (Italy), Color Foto (Germany), Photo Answers and Amateur Photographer (England), Asahi Photo (Japan), Asian Photographer (India), Photomagazin (Russia), and some others I’ve no doubt forgotten, as well as for Photo Techniques, Photo Electronic Imaging, Professional Photographer, and Digital Camera in the USA. I was also the Photo Guru for BestStuff.com and their short-lived print magazine. I couldn’t write for other magazines while still Editor at Shutterbug — my contract didn’t allow it — but my new contract allowed me to write for anyone who wanted me. Soon I was bringing in more money than before the double-cross. Of course, I was still writing my obligatory two articles a month for Shutterbug. And I was writing two or three books a year.

Then in June of 2003, disaster struck. My young girlfriend Marion Franklin died of an apparent drug overdose taken while I was out getting dinner and I was accused by the Radford Police of causing her death. I was thrown in jail and it took 30 days for friends to arrange my bond and get me out. My mother had died a month before Marion and left me money, or I wouldn’t have had the bail money. When I got home I found a letter from the NY office waiting for me saying that “due to the accusations” my contract was terminated. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? But even though Shutterbug let me down, Joe White, then Editor at Photo Techniques, kept me on writing lighting articles and Digital Camera gave me the job of Technical Editor, so I had work. Plus I got contracts to write books for several publishers, so the wolf was kept away from the door.

After writing the above I received some terrible news. Earlier this year Shutterbug was sold to a British media conglomerate. Their first move was to lay off our best people, including the Managing Editor. Then, in the June issue they announced that they were taking the magazine bimonthly, beginning with the July/August issue. I’ve just learned that the July/August issue will never appear. They’ve shut the magazine down. Buying a successful and profitable magazine only to shut it down makes no sense at all. I feel like my best friend just died. R.I.P. Shutterbug 1973 – 2018. Dead at age 45.

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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-dead-cats-in-the-studio-yikes/

 

 

 

Also posted in Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Glamour, History, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women