Category Archives: Nudes

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #14

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Photo of Marion Franklin by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

 

 

Letters From Prison: Part 14, 2018

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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I should explain my reactions on being arrested. I was raised to believe the police were my friends. My father, a TV news reporter, had many friends on the Roanoke force, and one of my cousins was a police chief. So I’d been around policemen all my life and was comfortable with them. So when the Radford police arrested me I talked to them honestly and figured they’d quickly realize they had it all wrong and drop the charges. Wrong!

When I first got to know Marion in early 2002, she was very open with me that she was a druggie. Said she’d been a “pill freak” since the age of 13. Called herself a “walking PDR” (PDR is the Physician’s Desk Reference, a big book that includes information on all prescription drugs, what they are used for, and pictures of all pills, capsules, etc.). Marion could identify almost all pills and capsules on sight. She was also a pot smoker, on pretty much a daily basis. I wasn’t concerned about the marijuana, because I knew it wouldn’t hurt her, but did have some concerns about the pills. Back in the late 60s I’d known Dr. Humphrey Osmond, a researcher at NIMH in Bethesda. He had a project in which he gave people money to buy street drugs and bring them to him. Then his lab would analyze them to see if they were really what they were sold as, and if not, what was really in them. Not surprisingly, many were not what the sellers claimed they were, and some contained pretty nasty stuff, like belladonna, formaldehyde, etc. According to studies I’ve read, the situation is even worse today. A fairly high percentage of “X” sold today is something other than MDMA, the real substance that’s called “Ecstasy.”. MDMA is a so-called “super amphetamine,” and even the real stuff can be dangerous because it spikes body temperature and blood pressure.

Anyway, the question was asked, “did you ever give Marion drugs?”. The honest answer was yes. Marion was taking Valium, and so was I. We both had prescriptions from our doctors, hers in North Carolina, mine in Virginia. Did I have any proof that she had a prescription? All I know is that she would periodically go home to North Carolina and come back with a big prescription bottle full and the label had her name on it. Anyway, she ran out one time and couldn’t go home to get a refill right away so I gave her some of mine to fill the gap. You might think “No big deal!”. But you’d be wrong. I got a one year sentence for that. Did I ever give Marion any other prescription or illegal drugs? Emphatically no! And I’ve offered to take a polygraph exam on that (or any other questions), but the prosecution turned down my offer. Polygraph results are not admissible in court in Virginia, anyway, but it would have been nice to demonstrate that I’ve told the truth from day one.

What about the marijuana? I never bought any for her, but I did pay her for modeling and studio assisting, and I’m sure she spent some of her money on marijuana and pills. Her supplier, a college student named Rob, came to my trial and testified that he’d supplied her with pot, pills, and cocaine. But he said he was not a drug dealer, just a guy who got drugs for her (!). In spite of this admission made under oath in court, he was never charged with anything!

When they searched my studio the police found in Marion’s purse her pipe and the plastic box she carried her stash in, and ignored them. The detective said that they weren’t interested. After my 1969 experience in Richmond, that really surprised me. What a turnaround in those years!

Shortly before her death, Marion had gone to Florida to spend a week with friends near Orlando, had gone to some sort of concert/party/rave and came back with some pills sold to her as X. She’d taken some at the party and said she thought it wasn’t really X. I told her to throw them away, and thought she had. I’ll talk more about those suspect pills another time.

(How many of you know that, at least in Virginia, if you pick up someone else’s prescription medications from a pharmacy, you are violating the law? I was in court for a hearing one time. The person ahead of me was a frightened young woman who had been caught with her grandfather’s pills during a traffic stop. She was facing six years in prison! I don’t know how her case turned out because the judge didn’t drop the charges at the hearing, and sent her off to jail. That’s insane!)

Since Richard Nixon pushed the “War on Drugs” all his successors have followed suit, persecuting drug users but little else. Sure, they make a big splash now and then arresting people like Pablo Escobar and “El Chapo,” but that barely dents the river flowing across our borders. The government should have learned with the Volstead Act and the “Hooch War” of the 1920s that prohibition does not work. As long as there is a demand, someone will fill it.

As far as Marion’s drug use, I figured that she would outgrow it, as I had. By the late 1970s I had completely given up on drugs and considered them time wasters. I was just too busy. I even gave up alcohol, except to nurse a single Campari and soda all evening when appearances demanded.

Marion and I went to several parties when she accompanied me to Las Vegas for a photo industry trade show in 2003. She loved it, all the glitz and glitter. At a party at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, she was delighted to meet a very drunk Val Kilmer, who was a Nikon spokesman at the time. There’s a picture of us taken by Vladimir Samarin, Editor of Photomagazin in Moscow, at another party on that trip on the opening page of bobshelltruth. com……

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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 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 herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-13/

 

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Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #12

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Portrait of Marion Franklin by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

 

Letters From Prison: Part 10, 2018

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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One thing that always comes up when people talk to me about Marion is our age difference. When I first met her in April of 2002, she was eighteen and I was fifty-four. Some have been highly critical of me for having a relationship with such a great age difference. In 2002 I had been working with models since the sixties, and the only reason I can say with certainly that I’d photographed over two hundred women is that I have signed model release forms from all of them (minus some the police took and never gave back!). You may not believe me, but I swear it’s true that in all those years with all those beautiful young women, I never had a romantic relationship with any of them. The opportunity was there, but I was a straight arrow, keeping business and personal life totally separate. As any woman I ever photographed will attest, no matter how sexually suggestive the poses, I was always completely professional and respectful. That’s just me. Sure, there has to be a sexual tension – a spark – between photographer and model to produce good images, but it works best when this connection is sublimated, kept simmering below the surface. Anything else and the sexual tension gets in the way and you might as well forget photography. Now I know I speak only for myself here and other photographers may have a different philosophical approach, but I learned over the years what works for me. And it worked very well, so much so that the federal judge in a suit I filed in 2005 (that’s a story for another time) called me “a renowned photographer with a long-established reputation.” Although I didn’t have romantic relationships with them, many models I worked with became good friends. Five of them write to me here regularly, and one even sends me money.

The point of this is that the Radford police and prosecutor knew nothing about me, and instead of learning the truth as the federal judge had done, they created a fantasy Bob Shell. who was nothing like the real me.

When Marion first walked into my studio that day in April of 2002, something happened that had not happened to me since 1967 (that, too, is another story.). It was like a lightning bolt shot between us. We both felt it as Marion later told me. We shot a lot of still photos that afternoon and about twenty minutes of video. Marion was simply a natural model. Although she’d had minimal experience, doing her first modeling earlier that year, I hardly needed to direct her at all. She moved from pose to pose fluidly, and seemed to just know what looked good to the camera. After that first test session I couldn’t wait to bring her back. Problem was that she was living in Boone, NC, more than four hours away, and her old Subaru wagon wasn’t in the best of shape. But we made do and I brought her up for sessions as often as I could. That summer she was living with a tattoo artist, and she told me that he tied her up for sex. She liked being restrained, she said, but complained that he tied the ropes too tight. She brought some Polaroid photos one time that a former boyfriend had made of her tied up. The photography was amateurish, but it was clear that she enjoyed it.

By late summer I was forced to admit that I had fallen for her – hard! We had begun spending time together in the bed in my studio after shoots, but there was no sex because I was still very conflicted about the idea of a relationship with a model, and did have concern about the age difference.

Marion had taken to my studio quickly, and began assisting me when I was working with other models. In October I offered her a full-time job modeling and assisting me in my studio and office. I found her an apartment one block from my studio and she moved to Radford. The apartment was owned by the same people I rented my studio from, and was half the ground floor of a large old building. It had two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and the usual kitchen and bath. Lots of room. We set about furnishing it with trips to factory outlets in Southside Virginia, where there are furniture factories. Ended up with some nice stuff at very low prices.

So, we spent the rest of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 in a frenzy of work, doing photo sessions almost every day, some in my studio, and some in my “outdoor studio,” forest land I owned about a half hour’s drive away. Marion loved the outdoor shoots. She was a country girl at heart and felt completely at ease in the woods. Frequently I had to end the shoots because I was worn out, or she would want to stay until the light was too dim for pictures. After the shoots we’d usually lie around for a while on a blanket and talk just as we did in the studio bed.

I still feel that some of those outdoor photos are the best in my career. Some of them, though not bondage images, are featured in my book Erotic Bondage: Art Of Rope. I put them in as counterpoint to the bondage images. (At this time in late 2002 and early 2003 I was transitioning from film to digital. Some of the book’s images are from film, some from digital, and I don’t believe anyone can tell which is which. I’d worked since the 80s with Canon EOS cameras, so it was natural for me to take to the EOS 10D when it came along – all my lenses fit! But Nikon had invited me out to Colorado in 2002 for a product introduction, and gave me a Nikon D100 and accessories to evaluate, and so some of the photos for the book were taken with that camera, and those taken on film were shot with a Rollei 6008i, a Minolta Maxxum 9 and a Leica M7. So much for brand loyalty! All major camera brands are capable of professional results in the right hands.)

To be continued…..

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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 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 herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-10/

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Diary: A Fashion Shoot at the Jersey Shore

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Holly: Wearing a Black Latex Dress

 

 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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Diary: A Trip to the Jersey Shore

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Holly and I had worked together many times before leading up to this shoot at the Jersey shore.  I first met her at Delilah’s Den, a well established gentlemen’s club on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia.  Back then she was a shot girl and one evening she came over to me while I was seated at a table next to the main dance stage when she asked if I wanted a shot? I said no but I would like to have your number. I explained that I was a contract photographer for Penthouse and was at the club that evening scouting for new models. She reached for a napkin on her server tray and jotted down her contact information.  That marked the beginning of 1o year run between a photographer and young woman that would quickly become his  muse.  At 21 years of age Holly began to appear in countless Penthouse pictorials, Playboy and she even crossed over briefly into fashion layouts for mainstream publications based in New York.  This particular photo was created in the parking lot of a seedy Atlantic City motel where we set the stage for a series of fashion fetish photos featuring Holly as a fetishistic bon vivant.

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To see additional pictures of Holly , become a member, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/category/membership-account/

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To access additional Diary entries, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/3728-2/

 

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George Krause: Interview With a Legend. May 2018

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TW​: You had an exhibition recently in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts. What did returning to your hometown mean to you at this stage of your illustrious career?

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GK​: I have many great old friends in Philadelphia. An exhibition in Philadelphia offers me the opportunity to see as many of them as possible. My last exhibition in Philadelphia was in 2009 at the Plastic Club. There were a hundred faces I hadn’t seen in almost fifty years. Sad to say there were a few less in attendance at the opening at the UArts show in 2018. I was pleased to be invited by my alma mater to do a small introspective of work from the last sixty years.

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TW: ​What have you observed since you first began photographing people nude with respect to the issue of privacy and the obscenity laws in the USA?

GK​: I don’t know the obscenity laws in the USA. I wrote the following for a book of essays collected by Andy Warhol’s right hand man Gerard Malanga. It has been referred to quite often.

From the book Scopophila: The Love of Looking by Gerard Malanga

Years ago I was accused by my wife of sleeping with all of the women who posed for me. My photographs suggested to her that I was getting more gratification out of photographing these nudes than just the making of images. This is perhaps the most common conception or misconception of voyeurism. I find it all but impossible to mix lovemaking with the act of making a photograph. But there is in fact a certain amount of seduction inherent, and for me necessary, in the making of a nude image, particularly a photographic image. Since my work often deals with fantasy, I want to create not only an ideal woman but a mythological woman of my dreams. This requires a talent, (unfortunately, one I’ve not yet fully developed) to transcend reality, which is helped greatly by encouraging in myself a fictional obsession and passion for the subject. The model in turn can respond with a desire to fulfill the artist’s attempt at transcendence or with a baser, narcissistic love for the attention being paid her, making love more to the camera than to the photographer. My wife’s accusations were, of course, not true, but when I thought about it I decided that it should be best if the photographer would photograph the woman (women) he was sleeping (in love) with. The accusation does reveal the artist /model fantasies imagined by those outside this collaboration. There is the erotic vulnerability of the undressed model with the dressed photographer (slave/master). At the first photographic session I’m nervous with the responsibility/obligation to the model to create something special and anxious with the potential fictional passion. In time I realize I can control the situation and the amount of desire needed to create the image I’m after.

The very act of peering through a small window to see a naked woman in the camera’s viewfinder suggests that of a Peeping Tom. There is the cowardice of distancing through the camera’s intervention to change the sexual reality of a nude woman into the context of a work of art. This is an attempt to sublimate the voyeuristic

nature of the nude. It is possible to increase the degree of distance in viewing a photograph of the nude by including another subject. This could be the photographer or other photographers. I am also thinking of the paintings of Susannah and the Elders. We may find it more acceptable to study the nude’s genitalia in the photograph when there are others included in the image for this purpose.

While an image of a woman nude may no longer evoke that of a fallen woman, a nude model today is perhaps considered a liberated woman, envied by some for her freedom in exposing her genitals and suspect by others for her morality or lack of it. This affects our take on the image.

I have shown my photographs of nudes to many art historians, and many of them have admitted difficulty in appreciating the nude in a photograph, in contrast to having no problem with the nude in other mediums (painting, sculpture, etc.). This suggests a special quality of voyeurism inherent in the “real” photographic medium.

Almost everyone approaches a photograph of a nude voyeuristically. We tend to compare our bodies with those in the photograph. There is a vicarious thrill of exposing ourselves in front of the camera. And there is the hint of a more intimate relationship between the model and the photographer. Photographers who place themselves in the image with the nude play with this reading. If the photographer is also nude and/or there is physical contact, this hint is underscored.

Photographs of nude models in poses that suggest the erotic demand a more immediate sexual interpretation. We are now back to peeking through the keyhole and there is always the danger of the voyeur being caught.

Generally, in viewing photographs of nudes we stand where the camera stood. The photographer has gone, and we are left alone with the subject of the image.

In working with the nude, we must realize the degree of unnaturalness that takes place. Even in a comfortable environment, the camera’s presence (and then our own) intrudes upon the nude, and when an awareness of technique (special lighting and camera effects) are added, along with our unwilling concern for props and costume, the intrusion must be that much greater. This, of course, can be deadly or these problems accepted and put to good use. The photographer can guide us as to how we are to react to the genitalia staring at us from the photograph, be it humor, fear, disgust, or even the pleasures of the voyeur.

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TW:​ Are there any areas of the medium that have been under explored as a result of the longstanding position of the advertising industries stringent rules with respect to nudity and ad placement in mainstream magazines and online platforms?

GK:​ I’ve never had to deal as you have with the nude in advertising. I have had enough difficulty in the fine art end. I just recently had a couple of images censored by Instagram. I find it sad but also funny that my friend Spencer Tunick has to block out the genitalia of the thousands of participants in each of his images for Facebook.

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TW: ​You taught for many years at the University of Houston. What was it about teaching that you enjoyed the most? The least?

GK:​ In almost every class I’ve taught there have been a few students that made coming to class a joy. From these students I and the other students learned a great deal. As photography classes became more popular, photography the passion, the excitement and work ethic declined. Unfortunately, in recent years I’ve found the majority of students far too complacent. They feel they know all they need to know and do not care for criticism: only praise. I often quote them the words of Robert Hughes “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is the consolation prize awarded to the less talented”.

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TW:​ As for legacy, would you be satisfied if history writes that “Fountainhead” is your Mona Lisa? If not, is there another picture from your various bodies of work that should be given equal treatment?

GK:​ Fountainhead is certainly in Philadelphia the favorite image, although it was originally rejected for use as a poster by the Bicentennial Committee. Other images that are as popular are The Shadow, which won first place in the recent Family of Man competition, Swish which has appeared on many more posters and propaganda, White Horse and Newspaper. It all depends on the time and place.

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TW:​ Where were you when you received the call from the Museum of Modern Art when you learned that you would be included in John Szarkowski’s seminal text, Looking at Photographs? How did that inclusion impact the direction of your work after the publication date in 1973.

GK:​Yes, it’s a great book and an honor to be included but even more important to me were earlier encounters with MOMA. The following is from an interview with SHOTS magazine that might help explain:

It is the dream of all art students to have their work, one day, hanging in a major museum. As students we all thought that if we worked and studied long and hard this might just be possible. In 1959 one of my teachers, Sol Libson who was one of the co founders of the Photo League along with Sid Grossman, suggested I take a portfolio of my work to show to the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Edward Steichen purchased a few of my images for the study collection. In 1961 one of those images was included in a MOMA Recent Acquisitions show. A few years later, 1963, the new director, John Szarkowski in the first show he curated, invited me to be in the exhibition titled “Five Unrelated Photographers”.

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TW:​ What was the most fun shoot or series of pictures you have ever produced?

GK:​ With out a doubt it is the San Miguel de Allende shoot in 2014. I photographed over a period of a few days a hundred lovely people in the nude, half over the age of sixty-five. These images became the exhibit “San Miguel Revelado” and was shown in 2015 at the Museo de Bellas Artes, a fifteenth century convent that is a world heritage site. In four rooms all connected by huge arches I hung sixty life sized nude images. Over eight hundred people attended opening night. Every day for three months more than two hundred visitors came to see the ex convent and my show.

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TW: ​If you could give a single piece of advice for the young shooter that wants to survive solely on making pictures for a living, what would it be?

GK:​ If you have a vision that drives you to make images I think it is better to find another occupation that does not conflict with your vision. I have worked at so many jobs to support my personal work. Some of these jobs involved photography in advertising, journalism. I did not find it too difficult to solve the demands of others. The great challenge for me has always been to search for the answers to my own questions. There have been a few rare assignments from friendly art directors that led to an image or two that answered both our needs. But not many. I taught for many years and found I was concerned more about the student’s vision than my own. My advice, not a facetious as it may sound is to find a rich patron.

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TW:​ What are your impressions of the digital revolution and its impact on the Fine Art of photography?

GK: ​I think we are still at the beginning of understanding what this new technology can tell us what we are about. For me the impact has been more physical. I can no longer put in the long hours in the darkroom developing thousand of rolls and sheets of film. I have a new knee and hip to go with my new eyes and I hope to travel once more with a much smaller and lighter camera bag. The digital revolution came just at the right time in my life.

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TW: ​What is your relationship to Frank- besides the obvious- and when were you first introduced to this grand master of the craft?

GK:​ I was invited to write as were almost 200 other photographers a tribute to celebrate Frank’s birthday in the 2016 edition of the Americans List. Below is my contribution:

In 1957 I was a student in my third year at the then Philadelphia Museum School of Art. I had studied printmaking, advertising and graphic design with one basic fundamentals of photography class thrown in for good measure.

Feeling unsure of my career path and the pressure of the compulsory draft into the army, I enlisted at the end of my junior year. I dreamed of being stationed overseas in Europe for two years, returning wiser and better-focused for that final year.

Instead I was assigned to South Carolina as a clerk in a Counter Intelligence Unit. A position at which I did not excel and certainly not the tour of duty I had imagined for myself. London, Paris, Berlin… Columbia SC?

One day while at the files I noticed one of the agents holding a small object in his hand and a puzzled look on his face. I immediately recognized it as a Weston photographic light meter. I pushed the low light button, the needle moved and from that moment on I was the photographer for the Counter Intelligence Corps.

And then came the rumors of Robert Frank’s The Americans. This controversial book with its harshly criticized images defying many of the conventions of the times and seen by so many as depressing and negative, inspired me to dream of a Guggenheim and the chance to discover my own America.

In the early 1960’s the burning question in the art world was “Is photography art?” Clement Greenberg—a leading art critic of the time— decided to answer this once and for all. “No” he declared “Photography was incapable of creating a serious work of art”. Robert Frank and his The Americans so forcefully helped refute that now-discredited position.

It is a difficult choice as a favorite but I keep coming back to Trolley-New Orleans, the photograph reproduced on the dust jacket, the very first Robert Frank image I saw. It is a perfect combination of abstract formal design (those crazy reflections in the windows above) and photographic reality (great faces in subjective eye contact) that together make the image and it’s social statement so powerful.

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TW: ​What is a typical day like for George Krause these days? Any new projects on the horizon that TWS readers will be the first to read about?

GK:​ I work on new images, edit old images and like to think I have begun to write my “memoirs”. Someday soon I will do a book on the Sfumato series.

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Question Mark. From the I Nudi series.

Question Mark. From the I Nudi series.

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George Krause was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1937 and received his training at the Philadelphia College of Art. He received the first Prix de Rome and the first Fulbright/Hays grant ever awarded to a photographer, two Guggenheim fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Krause’s photographs are in major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. In 1993 he was honored as the Texas Artist of the Year.
He retired in 1999 from the University of Houston where in 1975 he created the photography program and now lives in Wimberley, Texas.

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To access additional articles about George Krause, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/george-krause-lunch-with-a-legend/

To access George Krause’s web site, click here: https://georgekrause.com

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All Rights Reserved. Copyright, George Krause 2018.

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TWS: “Bonnie Rotten” Tank Now Available in Store

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White “Bonnie Rotten” Tank Now Available in Store

 

 

White “Bonnie Rotten” Tank Now Available in Store. To access TWE Casual Wear on sale, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/store/t-shirts/

 

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