Category Archives: News

Artist Highlight: Vibe Rouvet – Voice of an Angel


Vibe Rouvet: Music Conservatory of Pau



Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018


Voice of an Angel


Vibe Rouvet is the daughter of TWS contributing illustrator Alexandra Rouvet Duvernoy of France.  A stunning resemblance to her mother with talent that runs deep in the family, Ms. Rouvet is an opera student at the Music Conservatory of Pau, France. On the video she sings “Volta la Terrea” from Verdi (extract from the opera: Un ballo in Masquera).  Here singing teacher is Marie Claire Delay. This summer she will be taking a master class in Mozarteum of Salzburg in Austria.




Portrait of Vibe Rouvet 2018


For access to the artist, Alexandra Rouvet Douvernoy’s contributions to Tony Ward Studio,  Click here


Also posted in Affiliates, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Friends of TWS, Music, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Video, Women

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #10

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #9

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison



Letters From Prison: Part 10, 2018


Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018


Let me talk a bit about the American justice system. The system is supposed to consider you “innocent until proven guilty.”. Notice the language: “until,” not “unless.”. Saying “until” presumes that you will be found guilty. Most of the public thinks “they wouldn’t have charged him if he wasn’t guilty.”. And as soon as you’re arrested, you’re thrown in jail and have to arrange bail money from in there, which isn’t easy. My original bail was set at $ 50,000. Those who have never tangled with the system probably don’t know how this really works. I was not expected to hand over $ 50,000 in cash, but $ 5,000 to a bondsman, who guarantees that I will show up in court. In addition to the money, the bondsman wants security. In my case I gave the bondsman the money plus the deed to my property and title to my car. The bondsmen keeps the money and returns the security when you don’t violate the terms of your bond. When I was let out of jail after thirty days, I was on house arrest. I could not leave my home except to go to see my lawyer or a doctor. That lasted a year! Presumed innocent, yeah right! After six months of being “free” on bond, we petitioned the judge to let me work, and he said I could go to my studio from 9 to 5 one day a week! My studio was a mess from the police search, and they’d confiscated a bunch of cameras and lenses, my video camera, even one of my best tripods. I had to scramble to replace the missing equipment so I could go back to work and finish books and articles I was under contract to do. They also took all of my CF cards, so I had no storage media for my images. In spite of multiple promises to return things, not a single item was ever returned. Some of the equipment was on loan from Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Sony, Tamron, Sigma, Mamiya, etc., for editorial evaluation and was not even mine. Letters from these companies to the police and prosecutor asking for the return of their property were ignored. This made it very hard for me to borrow equipment from these companies for review articles, and strained relationships that had taken years to build.

To make a long story short, there was a four year delay between my arrest and trial. When you are charged with a crime the prosecution is supposed to give you copies of all the evidence against you plus any evidence that might help exonerate you. As one of my lawyers said, getting this material in my case was “like pulling teeth.”. This material, called discovery, is supposed to be given to you promptly so you can investigate it. In my case the prosecution sent it to us in dribs and drabs over the whole four years. At one point we were just days away from trial when the prosecutor plopped a thick stack of material on our table during a hearing, admitted that some of it was exculpatory, and forced yet another delay in trial. I was arrested on June 7, 2003, but my trial did not begin until the end of. August in 2007. Yeah, speedy trial!

The first step in a trial is called voir dire, and is where you select a jury. My case was heavily publicized in the area newspapers and on TV, (and in the photo press worldwide) so finding a local jury that knew nothing about the case was impossible. We had tried for a “change of venue” where the trial is moved to an area where potential jurors wouldn’t have heard of the case, but the judge denied that motion. So we had to choose a local jury. This was surreal. One potential juror fled the courtroom in tears when told she would have to look at explicit nude photos. Another woman swore that even though she’d seen the media coverage she could put that aside and be objective. As she was about to step down and join the other jurors in the jury room, she muttered, “But he done it.”. Asked by my attorney what she meant, she said, “What he done to that girl.”. We struck her from the jury, of course! Another potential juror said he could be objective, but then said, ‘but he shouldn’t photograph them naked, it just ain’t right.”. Struck!! That was the kind of jury I was stuck with. Much of the evidence was technical, computer and digital imaging stuff, but most of the potential jurors were computer illiterate, and the judge said all he knew about computers was how to turn one on.

I said earlier that I was held in jail for thirty days; during that time the police went down to North Carolina where Marion was from and interviewed a number of her friends, and told these friends their version of things. Some believed them and wouldn’t talk to me when I got out of jail. Marion’s best friend, Samantha, had been up to Radford several times to visit Marion, and got to know me, and modeled for me with Marion and solo, and she told the police they were wrong in no uncertain terms. To give you an idea of the quality of these interviews, they gave Samantha’s last name as Hawels, which isn’t even close to her actual name – they only got the first letter right!! Other names were equally butchered, and I still have no idea who one of them was! My lawyers took to calling the police “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”. They were just so unbelievably wrong about everything! As has been said, the more outrageous a lie, the harder to prove it wrong.

Back in his early days in politics, Lyndon B. Johnson was campaigning for office in Texas, where politics are down and dirty. He said to one of his staff, “let’s spread a story that my opponent f**ks pigs.”. “But that’s not true, Lyndon!” the staffer objected. Said LBJ, “Well, let’s make the son of a bitch deny it!”. That’s how my case was. The most outrageous lies were said about me, and I was put on the defensive to deny and disprove them. As just one example, I was portrayed as a serial sex offender who lured young women into my studio, drugged, and raped them. There was not even a hint of any evidence to support this outrageous allegation, but I had to bring in many former models to fight it….


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 at Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Mr. Shell is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here


Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, Men, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture

TWS: K Vaughn Men’s Spring Collection 2018

K Vaughn Mens' Collection Spring 2018_tony_ward_studio

K Vaughn Mens’ Collection Spring 2018



Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018


K and I met at the Barnes Foundation for this recent collaboration. I couldn’t think of a better location dignified enough to represent his brand. I’ve seen K Vaughn in action over two decades as he solidly built his own brand from stem to stern, one stitch at a time.  This of course is no easy task. However, K Vaughn year after year lives up to the task of showering his customers with the best fabrics he can find between his haunts from Philly to New York.  This season Kevin’s mood reflect’s the weather; April still feeling like fall, thus his current mood.


To access more photographs of K Vaughn scarves, click here



Also posted in Accessories, Advertising, Affiliates, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Gifts, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture

Hilary Lam: March for Our Lives – Anti-Gun Movement


Photography and Text by Hilary Lam, Copyright 2018


March for Our Lives: Anti-Gun Movement


Less than one month prior to the anti-gun rallies that took place across the United States, 17 children and adults were killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In 2012, 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school. And the deadliest school shooting in US history occurred at Virginia Tech in April of 2007, which led to the unfortunate deaths of 32 innocent lives.

The discourse on gun control laws escalated immediately after the most recent horrific event. Survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School voiced their concerns at a live-streamed town hall meeting with political representatives and members of the National Rifle Association less than a week later. At this moment, young and empowered teenage students openly confronted Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch directly. Pressing questions were asked and demands were made. The issue of NRA’s monetary donations to representatives, brought up a major concern over the role of incentives in altering gun control policies. Rubio did not state that he would turn down future NRA contributions. Another main concern was the ease in which citizens were able to purchase assault-rifles. Further restrictions and background checks for gun buyers are being demanded.

On March 24, thousands of people gathered in support of the student-run March for Our Lives rally. I personally attended the event at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia and was inspired by the number of parents who brought along their young children to this important event. It was reassuring to see my own community, students of all ages and residents of Philadelphia, united in efforts against another malicious attack on young lives due to the fault of guns being in the wrong hands. It was my first time experiencing a collaboration such as this one, and it is impossible not to notice the slogans and words expressed on the many posters. The energy, voices and actions of our youth is one that is so powerful and must be heard by all surrounding generations.


About The Author: Hilary Lam is a Graduate student enrolled in the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. To access additional article by Hilary Lam, click here


Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Travel, Women

Lilibeth Montero: National Dominican Student Conference



Photography and Text by Lilibeth Montero, Copyright 2018


National Dominican Student Conference


On March 23th- 25th 2018 I attended the National Dominican Student Conference in New York City. The conference featured speeches from famous Dominican’s like Orange is the New Black star Dascha Polanco and rapper Amara La Negra. The conference was designed to be an open and safe space for students of Dominican descent to discuss openly about the issues facing the Dominican community.

One of the main issues facing the Dominican community concerns their identity. After, 174 years the Dominican Republic continues to face the consequences of European colonialism. Once long ago, the Dominican Republic and Haiti were a single Island. But with colonialism, the Island was split into two creating a deeply divided society. Now 174 years later the Dominican Republic and Haiti remain divided. Today, the Dominican youth has accepted and embraced their African routes, however the older Dominican generations continue to deny their African ancestry. Older generations of Dominican people are incredibly racist to Haitians, and value lighter European features.  The students at the conference go by the name “Afro-Latinas” or “Afro-Latinos” embracing both their African and their latin American side. The Dominican community is struggling at finding an identity. Questioning if they are “black” enough, or “latin” enough.

Another aspect of the conference focused on mental health, a taboo subject in the Dominican community. For so long, Dominicans were forced to live in silence. The older generations of Dominicans for so long attempted to hide the sun with their thumb. The conversation was a passionate and heartwarming one.

The conference ended on March 25th with a Traditional Dominican breakfast. At the end of the conference, it was clear students felt empowered and left with hope. Hope to better their community, and confidence that other Dominican students are working hard to make a difference.


About The Author: Lilibeth Montero is a freshman enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Lilibeth Montero, click here


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