Category Archives: History

TWS: November 2017


TWS: Portfolio Classics


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017


Portrait of Res, R&B singer for Vibe Magazine, New York. 1999


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Victoria Meng: Life at the Penn Museum


Photography, Video and Text by Victoria Meng, Copyright 2017




Sometimes on rainy afternoons in the Penn Museum, when the air is more musty than usual, and the light is just dim enough, I feel as if I can almost hear the alluring whisper of the past, the echo of music and laughter from a forgotten era.

On my first day of work at the Penn Museum, my boss took me on a tour. As we walked among the cool, darkened hallways that house over a million artifacts, I learned about the museum’s illustrious history.

At the end of the 19th century, Provost William Pepper commissioned the museum as a humble way to house artifacts. Through the course of the next few decades, the Penn Museum would evolve into a prestigious institution where Philadelphia’s elite could ascend to higher society.

From the exotic architectural motifs to the smallest details in building fixtures, the Penn Museum would’ve been an incredible marvel at the time that it was constructed. Complete with mosaics designed by Tiffanys, seemingly no expense was spared in creating an “eclectic Victorian extravaganza.”

Yet, as I recount my memory of the museum tour, I remember one detail in particular.

In 1929, Alexander Stirling Calder, was commissioned to create a statue for the European gallery. While his father was known for putting William Penn on top of City Hall and his son reached international acclaim for his mobiles, Stirling made his own statement with a depiction of a Greek maiden styled like a Roaring 20s flapper.

Ironically, it was this anachronistic detail that really became my inspiration. This proof that the museum had once been a backdrop for Gatsby-scale parties made history more real to me than ever before. In fact, the more I looked into the Museum during this era, the more true life became stranger than fiction.

At one point in the early 20th century, a glamorous reception attracted more than eight hundred guests. Two of these guests, perhaps under the influence of too much champagne, allegedly climbed on top of and eventually collapsed ancient Chinese tomb figures of camels. While the ruins were eventually restored to original condition, this raucous memory lives on in my imagination.

Ultimately, my inspiration for my portraits was derived from the Museum’s core mission: to help us remember who we are and where we came from. The more I learn about anthropology, the more I realize that although the way that we live has changed greatly, who we are as humans has hardly wavered.




Portrait of Victoria Meng by Simeon Ristic, Copyright 2017

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

TWS: September 2017





Text by Racquel Ward, Copyright 2017


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017




Angelinos live amongst the stars, palm trees, vegan diets, terrible dating and gorgeous people. But if you live in the city the right way, it means to explore the rich history of Hollywood, visit it’s beautiful beaches, eat a myriad of authentic ethnic foods and talk to the characters of the city.

Catalina Island is a good place to start. Yes, there are great restaurants and south of France like beaches, but perhaps one of the most underrated sights to see is the 20th century art deco inspired Catalina Casino. Built and owned by the Wrigley Family, this architectural marvel puts you right back in time to the early days of Hollywood. The island itself is known as the “playground of the stars,” but the casino is where they gathered. Casino means, “gathering place” in Italian, and that’s just what Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and many others did at this decadent Hollywood hot spot.

There is nothing “unknown” about the famous pink wall which houses Paul Smith’s flagship clothing store – mostly because it is one of the most popular places to take a selfie in the United States. If you’re into pop culture and all things Instagram, this is a must-see when you’re shopping on Melrose. It’s a great place to people watch since just about every second of every day you can see people taking snaps at the wall. However, perhaps the most unusual fact about it is that visitors rarely go into the actual store. Go figure.

Let’s not skip over the locals in Venice Beach. The neighborhood is a gentrified mess, but that still has not kept the locals from honoring their stake in the cultural fabric of the area. Keeping the character of Venice alive, 30+ year Angelino residents like Ben Bennett, have made their homes in Venice and do not intend to leave. It is not always appreciated but these guys and gals make the neighborhood what it is despite the presence of Facebook and Snapchat. Next time you see a Venice local, and believe me you’ll know one when you see one, stop and say hi. Ask about their lives, their histories and what makes Venice special to them. This exchange will deepen your understanding and appreciation of one of America’s greatest neighborhoods.

Next time you’re in Los Angeles, explore the city through a different lens. You may be surprised at what you find. But shhhh, don’t tell everybody, for like the oceans and the rain forests, these gems too need protection. Visitors and locals are all stewards of the cultural preciousness of the city.  Happy hunting!


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 entitled: The Boy Who Couldn’t Read. Available at


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Studio News: Recent Vintage Print Sale


Dinner For Two, Philadelphia 1995


Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017.




This 11 x 14 inch vintage photograph entitled, “Dinner For Two, Philadelphia 1995  is from the book of Tableaux Vivants, published by Editions Stemmle, Zurich, 2002.  The archival print was recently sold to a private collector in Philadelphia for $2500.00.  It was the only print of its kind in inventory and from a  very rare limited edition of prints. The picture is part of a series of Tableaux Vivants I produced between the years 1993 to 2000. This particular photo was staged at the Striped Bass in Philadelphia,  once declared by Esquire Magazine as the number one restaurant in the United States for dining at the time.  Owners, Joe Wolf and Neil Stein commissioned me to make the photograph for an ad that would later run in Philadelphia magazine to promote the famous restaurants “midnight breakfast”.

 To see more pictures from this series, click here


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Dad: Happy Father’s Day


Milt Ward: Elkins Park, Pa. 1955



In Memorium


Milt Ward: July 30th, 1917 – October 31, 2003


Photo: Self-Portrait by Milt Ward at home in the fall of 1955, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

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