Category Archives: Models

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Julian Domanico: The Pursuit of Justice

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Text by Julian Domanico, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Styling: Shirts courtesy of Old School Shirtmakers New York

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Assistant Producer: Anthony Colagreco

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THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

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Coming from a small, blue collar town in Michigan, I grew up thinking of myself as a “big fish” in a “small pond.” I was a hard worker in school, a competitive runner, and worked on my grandparent’s small farm. My family was one of the only Caucasian, French-Italian immigrant families in a majority of Middle Eastern families. Yet, although I was biracial and surrounded by races of all hues, my light brown skin afforded me more opportunities than my darker friends from Yemen and Eritrea enjoyed. In the 1990s in Michigan, no one used or appreciated the terminology of ‘birth lottery’ or ‘white privilege.’ Then, I did not understand what made me different, nor that it mattered. In hindsight, although I had similar experiences of poverty and being raised by a single parent as the Middle Eastern kids, we had starkly different outcomes. What I understood at the time was that I was expected to leave my rust belt town for greater challenges while the Middle Eastern kids were expected to stay to work in the steel processing plant across the street from my house.

On a sweltering day in August 2008, I took my first steps into my new life on Penn’s campus as an undergraduate. I reveled in the idea of being surrounded by bright people from across the globe to think and create alongside. I dove in quickly to my Penn experience, but haphazardly. I desperately wanted to throw away my old life in Michigan that seemed out of touch with the sleeker, more academic version I was creating in Philadelphia. I soon learned, however, that — trying to be someone I was not – created an emptiness and did not satisfy my passion to do better.

My realization that I was not finding a meaningful experience caused me to forge my own path and to take a different approach. In the summer of 2010, I worked in the office of the 56th Street Philadelphia Census Bureau. It was my first experience in government and working around highly intelligent people outside of Penn. My census colleagues spoke of activism, advocacy, and systems of oppressions in ways I had never heard. Their integrity and passion for purposeful work that served others made me question my own professional motives. Their mantra, “Why does it have to be like this,” has been forever etched into my memory. When I returned to Penn following that summer, I was thrown a curve ball that altered everything about who I was.

My life abruptly changed when Penn asked me to take a leave of absence because I was failing academically. My heart, my psyche, and my sanity were frayed. I lost my identity and, with it, my drive. In retrospect, this road of uncertainty gave me the opportunity to commit myself to self-care and my research. I studied the experiences of African Americans with obsessive compulsive disorder and also tested atypically developing children with psychosis. This work showed me a lack of access and understanding of the systems by disadvantaged persons that I – as a person of relative privilege – more easily navigated. I came to understand why so many people were disadvantaged by our power structures and how they lived lives of sustained suffering. This revelation forced me to shed my selfish lens of what I thought I lacked, to see how fortunate my life had always been, and to resolve to live authentically. I returned to Penn with a renewed and laser focus as to what mattered to me: the betterment of other people by concerted efforts to lift others up. Armed with a clear direction of how meaningful a Penn education can assist me with my goals, I graduated with the highest GPA of my undergraduate experience and immediately began working at the Public Defender’s office in Philadelphia.

Understanding mission driven was my calling, I successfully channeled my past difficulties that emerged from being different and feeling “othered.” I chose to give back through youth-centered work and become who I needed as a child. In addition to the full acceptance of my sexual orientation, which I wrestled with during my leave from college, I finally felt as though I could fully exhale. My identity as a queer male of color informed my experience in and passion for advocacy moving forward. As my world broadened through my ability to empathize and spread my compassion for others, I hit a stride that remains a vibrant cornerstone of my brand and career to this day.

Nine years of work and collaboration with top leaders in the fields of the judiciary, psychology, nonprofits, government, and politics has allowed me to deeply commit myself to a life of positive social impact. I have seen the interconnectivity and understand the “through line” that runs across people-centered service. Throughout my working life, I saw how my knowledge of juvenile mental health played a role in the juvenile justice defense work that I did across the state. I was able to tie that criminal justice understanding to the desperation one experiences during bouts of homelessness and poverty. While working at the Catholic Archdiocese, I delved into philanthropic and the direct service world which gave me an understanding of how religious communities create short-term stability, especially for black and brown youth who had contact with the criminal justice system. I then pivoted to learn about the benefits of education and afterschool programming at City Year and the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) because early educational interventions reduce the potential for poverty, addiction, homelessness and underemployment. All of this work better informed my board work, political volunteerism within Philadelphia, and even my connection with people as a part time barista for the last two years.

This ability to connect has also opened me up to new, creative pursuits. Armed with what I learned as an advocate, by overcoming personal adversities, as well as my self-care routine, I have been able to attract new career opportunities. In June 2019 I was approached by Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency to begin work as a professional model. Modeling has been a wonderful outlet for my creativity and passions outside of advocacy. However, I want my modeling to be and mean more than the superficiality that plagues the industry. I want my work to be used as a platform for social change and positive acceptance. I’d like to shine a bright light on the power of being genuine in your own skin, believing in what you stand for, and not settling for less than you deserve. Through each of our “birth lotteries” therein lies the ability for a meaningful life that serves others while protecting your individuality. As a kid from the Midwest, modeling was never planned to be the route reveal itself. However, in life I have always been most fortunate on the road less traveled. I hope you will join me in creating your own path.

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Julian Domanico is currently the Public Health Management Corporation’s Director of Community Outreach for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, Project Leading Youth for Tomorrow (Project L.Y.F.T.). Through his nonprofit career, Julian has advocated for juveniles in placement, marginalized persons (with emphasis on people of color and the LGBTQ+ community), education equity, and on public policy issues impacting millennials.

Julian holds an appointed seat as the Social Justice Chair of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee, serves as the Board Secretary for the LGBTQ+ fundraising nonprofit, the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) and is also a board member of a youth-led, education nonprofit, UrbEd, Inc. Within Philadelphia’s political ward system, Julian is one of two Democratic Committee Person representatives for Ward 5, Division 11 (within the boundaries of 13th St. to 10th St., Walnut St. to Spruce St.). He also professionally models commercially and in fashion for Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency. This is Julian’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.

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Bob Shell: The Token Photo Sets

Photo: Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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The Token Photo Sets

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At the beginning of 2001 I was forced out of my job as Editor in Chief of Shutterbug in a disgraceful, underhanded “palace coup.” I had been assured for years that I had ultimate job security, indeed my name was first at the top of the magazine’s masthead, and I had literally turned the magazine from a tabloid on yellow newsprint into a respected photography journal. Behind my back the coup plotters had told the corporate people in New York that I wanted to retire. I definitely did not want to retire. I was at the top of my game, 54 years old and full of energy and creative juices. By the time I realized what was up a new Editor in Chief had been hired and it was too late to stop the changes. I still have very hard feelings about this all these years later. It was some consolation, but not much, that the man who engineered my betrayal was himself out on his ear not too long after.

But, the long and the short of it was that I was still writing and doing other things for Shutterbug, but at exactly half my former income. I had to really scramble to make up the shortfall. I was writing for other photo magazines (while still the Chief Editor for Shutterbug my contract didn’t allow me to write for other photo magazines). But at $ 300 or so per article, that wasn’t bringing in the bucks I needed. A photographer friend in Canada told me about an agency that sold photo sets to token websites. In case you don’t know what a token site is, it is a website that you go on and buy tokens. The tokens can then be “spent” on that site or several others to buy photos and videos for download. I decided to give it a try, and shot some sets of models I knew. The formula was simple, woman starts out fully clothed and strips throughout the photo set until she is nude and then does some “show it all” poses. Some sets introduce sex toys or male partners, but not mine. Around 50 -100 photos per set. That’s it. Pretty much like the photo spreads in the men’s magazines, but more photos. Horny guys would pay to buy tokens and download the photo sets and videos.

Most of the models I knew had no problem with this sort of work, so I worked up a new contract to pay them a posing fee plus a percentage of the profit from the photos. I then wrote a Photoshop action to tweak and resize the images. At first I was shooting on film and using a Nikon Coolscan scanner to batch scan the film strips, but as soon as they came along I bought one of the first Canon digital SLR cameras and shot the photos with it. I believe it was only three megapixels or so, but was plenty good enough for Internet. These photo shoots turned out to be pretty lucrative, giving me and the models money, and the same sets of photos sold over and over as new people discovered them. Of course, this was volume shooting without much creativity, and pretty quickly started to get boring. To relieve the boredom I started shooting my own stuff with the models after we got the token shots in the can. That helped. I did a lot of token sets with Marion after we met. She really liked showing off for the camera. Nice checks were coming in every month. But when I was arrested.in June of 2003 the agency pulled all my photo sets out of circulation. That made me really angry, because I was supposed to be presumed innocent, but my arguments fell on deaf ears. Since nothing ever really vanishes from the Internet, those photo sets are probably still floating around out there in cyberspace. I was just gearing up to add videos when I was shut down. It was nice easy work while it lasted, the models and I often had a hoot shooting the photos, and it helped to keep the bills paid.

Did I have a problem with shooting what was essentially “softcore porn?”. My philosophy was the same as an old friend and photo magazine columnist. He always said, “Shoot anything that pays the bills, but whatever you shoot do the best possible job.”. I agreed.

I understand that today there is so much free stuff on the Internet that pay-per-view sites have a hard time surviving. I know that Marion’s favorite site probably survived, since it was full of free photos and videos. Every morning without fail I could find her in front of our iMac checking out consumptionjunction.com .

I used to look over her shoulder at the really weird photos and videos she loved. When she tired of this we’d watch the Naked News together (www.nakednews.com), a strange news site where the actual news was read by pretty women who stripped while reading. One of the strangest things I’ve seen on the Internet.

Who knew when the Internet first came along that it would become the major purveyor of porn? Just as when TV first came along, people thought its main use would be education — NOT!

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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.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here:http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-starting-a-studio/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

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Katie Kerl: Eroticism Wins

Photo of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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Eroticism Wins

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This time last year I was debating if I should take photos with Tony Ward or not. I  am so happy I decided to do it! I did not listen to one person that told me it was a bad idea because of social judgment. It was one of the most freeing things I’ve done in my adult life.

 I even ended up in his current photography book on two pages! There are a slew of other famous professional models in the book, as well as other impressive creative’s. That was pretty cool on its own, but getting to blog about my life with no restrictions might have saved me.

I SAVED MYSELF by writing and getting out what I was going through at the time. Being real in the things I was talking about got a lot of attention from people I have not heard from in years. Thanking me for choosing topics no one talks about, but everyone can relate toI have Tony to thank for that. Many people call him a mentor. I absolutely see why including myself now. He lives life exactly the way he wants to despite stigma, encourages people to be free, and find that thing that gives you inner peace. Now I am lucky enough to say that about myself. I always loved to cook and be fit, that brought me confidence in the way I lookbut it did not give me inner peace.  

Everyone sees bloggers on vacations, free products they receive, and eating at the nicest places in the best outfits. I never thought that spilling my roller coaster of life events would touch so many people. In fact I was expecting the opposite response

As time passed I got out a lot of things that bothered me. I cut my drinking in more than half. I was the epitome of a train wreck with everything I had dealt with in the last five years. This new hobby really made me understand once you find your PASSION destructive behavior is no longer appealing.

 It also made me realize decision making sober is emotionally fucking taxing. I still have a few drinks now, but I was polishing off bottles of wine and whiskey like they were waterI was very quick to dismiss people that no longer suited me. I am more tolerant now and have learned patience. Well, more than I had before ha!

After writing about myself for the better part of the year; I turned my focus to friends who went through major life changes following their dreams. Happiness is more important to them than being in a career path they hated. 

That led me to Derek Bailey. We came across each other on Instagram.  When I saw what he was doing I immediately asked to interview him. Derek agreed and welcomed any positive press for his new green car innovation. That interview will be published as soon as his car gets to the U.S. 

Tony will actually be taking the photo for that one. Another pretty dope thing; a famous photographer wanting to take photos for something I have written!

Derek liked my interview so much he proposed it be turned into a video podcast sponsored by his car company

Whether or not that ends up happening the fact he is in a different realm of business, and a leader in green automotive technology was quite the compliment. He is in the business of building businesses and making people money. Maybe I have written enough to not only have this be a rewarding hobby; but possibly one day a new career path. 

A year writing for Tony Ward Studio does a mind, body, and soul good.

I hope you all find the same inner peace. 

Thank you for Kerling up with Kate this year!!

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Portrait of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click herehttp://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-dream-catching/

 

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Portrait of the Day: Gina

Portrait of Gina by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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To see more pictures from Tony Ward’s erotica collection go herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/category/membership-account/

 

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