Category Archives: Photography

Ed Simmons: Jay Adams Local Hero

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Photography and Text by Ed Simmons, Copyright 2018
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JAY ADAMS LOCAL HERO
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This town, “Venice_90291”, is a tolerant town, a town that gives you room to grow.  I made my way to Venice, California for the first time in 1968.  Throughout the years I’ve gotten to know so many interesting people. At Jay Adams memorial service, what was so surprising, but really not, was that all of these old friends of mine, knew all these other old friends of mine. There I was back hanging with all these people, with all my old friends again, at a somber time. Ya know I ain’t seen most of these people in years, all these people here hanging for Jay at the Venice Pier.
 
I didn’t know Jay. Certainly knew of him, frankly: maybe just a little scared of him. Ya see, this guy Jay Adams was not some “Weeping Judge” kind of Local Hero, a man made from privilege, a man fed from a silver spoon,  oh no these streets of Venice were hard.  Jay stood up, yeah the man made mistakes, but just like a fine wine, he got better with time and age!
“PRAY FOR WAVES” I heard from his homies, hanging on a Mexican Beach was how he started his day.
 
A prayer, some waves, good food with close friends, then some rest. God Bless You Jay Adams. REST IN PEACE.
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Jay Adams Local Hero

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Portrait of Ed Simmons by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Ed Simmons by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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About The Author: Ed Simmons is a documentary photographer and assistant to Tony Ward, based in Los Angeles, California. 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Friends of TWS, History, Men, News, Popular Culture, Travel

Katie Kerl: Clothing & Tattoos

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Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2018

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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CLOTHING & TATTOOS

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When asked about clothing and personal style, I typically go against the grain. A 70s flower child mixed with, funky shoes, scarves, hats, & jewelry. One of my favorite things to do in Philadelphia is Vintage shop. Mixing old with the new pieces and being unique. My grandmother’s scarves are something I try to tie into a lot of my outfits. Accessories were her favorite. I have been lucky enough to come across some very similar souls in this city who are happy being in their own skin, and standing out in a crowd. Be it in Versace, homemade scarves, or their own clothing lines.

When it comes to dating, I have noticed you need to dress to attract the kind of man/ woman you want. If you’re looking for money throw on that little black dress, pumps, and sit at the bar in Rouge, Ashton, or Del Frisco’s in Philadelphia and just wait. Walk around the city in high tops, a dress, and a jacket with a hat, you may attract a few interesting characters.

  In 2018 where everyone is on dating apps the reality of that, it’s a crap shoot. There is nothing worse than going on an interview type first date. Starting off with what you do for a living, how much money you make, and the zip code you live in; that’s not being genuine.

I know within 10 minutes, which is enough time drink one whiskey on the rocks if there is a connection. That is why I’m attracted to creative minds that talk about life, experience, struggle, and strive for something greater than sitting confined to a desk. There is nothing sexier then confidence and passion in a person.

Another major part of my style is my tattoos. I battle with severe anxiety and depression, but at the end of the day I know what makes me happy. As a child I did not know what anxiety was, or why I did not feel normal all the time. Being an only child my parents kept me busy participating in every sport, club, and camp they could get me into.  Regardless of being socialized and having a great family, id get sick to my stomach before having to go to any large social situation. I would think people did not like me and have an occasional panic attack.

Later, I was in a pretty severe car accident. I almost lost my arm and had four surgeries to save it. It took two years out of my life recovering from it. The accident gave me PTSD it was a pretty dark time in my life. I’m very thankful for having such amazing parents who did everything they could to get me through it.  Being on medication for pain, depression, and anxiety left me feeling like a zombie. I got so frustrated with all the medications I threw it all away and decided it was time to feel life again.

Since about 15 years old, I found that getting tattooed pulled me out of whatever I was struggling with at the time. The needles combined with vibration distracted my mind, and the pain was concentrated elsewhere. It was instant relief and made me look unique.  I have 14 tattoos on my body, and of those I have two favorites.

Alice in wonderland was my favorite movie as a child. Alice was not looking for a prince. She was a daydreamer who pushed the limits of reality to find herself, experience vs. being saved by a man. The Caterpillar who is featured on my side actually taught Alice how to cope with the difficulties she experienced in Wonderland. He asked the all important life question “WHO ARE YOU”???? That is usually what every adult struggles to find out. That piece took about 17 hours and 4 sittings. Jason Goldberg at Olde City Tattoo brought my vision to life.

Most recently I had the chemical compound for happiness done on my forearms Serotonin and Dopamine. These are the only tattoos that when I have clothing on you can see. A daily reminder to do the best I can. On the side of a scar from a car accident sits serotonin, with a whiskey glass, and pills on the inside. Signifying what I go through when it’s depleted. On the dopamine side I have a music note. That is my happiness. House music takes me to another place and time. There is no greater escape than dancing to good music in an awesome outfit.

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Portrait of Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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About The Author

Katie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. 
Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .
Occupation : commercial/ residential  design 
Philadelphia resident since 2011 . 
Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . 

Instagram:  @beatz_eatz_n_freaks 

 
This is Katie Kerl’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Also posted in Accessories, Affiliates, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Nudes, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Robert Asman: Sacred But Not Profound

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Photography and Text by Robert Asman, Copyright 2018

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SACRED BUT NOT PROFOUND

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While photographing on the streets, I am constantly aware of what a powerful sacred purpose of historical consequence our city Philadelphia hosts.  In the past, I was trying to capture people, places, and things that grasped my curiosity and maybe contained an iota of profundity or gravitas. I also felt at times that the street was more of a studio than my real indoor studio, but definitely a special place with so much contemporary history ubiquitously piled on the old.  My concern with this work was to see what a scene would look and feel like photographed on black and white film and made into a silver print which would often have a humorous, sad, or poignant depth, structure, and surface.  Similarly, the finishing drama of the nude is played out in the darkroom in conjunction with solitude and the transcendent chemistry, physics, light, and silver. Just a simple act of birthing, not unlike the street photograph or landscape discovery making this work and process visual and experiential poetry without the struggle for words and narrative algorithms.

I recall back in pre-2000 my assignment was going to be photographing the city for a decade on larger format film (2.25″x”3.25) to capture the visual feel of the city in the new millennia.  I wasn’t quite sure how I would print them or what they would look like so I let history play out, and then it presented itself like a meteorite explosion.  The 9/11 Tragedy which was reaking of incredulity, surrealism, pain, disbelief, and sadness changed my entire conception of  what the world could be.  That event also dramatically changed my perceptions of the future as well as history.  At the time Lil’ Bush was appointed President.  Of course Lil’ Bush was moved out of the way except for ceremonial functions and the neocons took over our military and banking systems and we have had War ever since in the Mid East of all places.  Another consequence of the Wars to the nation was further social segregation and polarization of the classes with the “haves” reaping huge proportions of the wealth in garish displays of tastelessness while the poor got poorer.  This dynamic has lasted until today…endless wars, economic crashes, and garish wealth transfers and Donald Trump, a pitiful TV actor, is being made  the symbol for it.  That being the reality, the prints I made were very heavy and brooding.  The images (silver toned prints) were embedded in a warm matte Agfa Portriga paper that were selenium toned and bleached before being soaked in tea to give it an ambiance of yellow haze and a heavy sorrow.  The entire body of work is much about our present and history using the City of  Philadelphia as a metaphorical dramatic stage set for the plight of our nation’s  future.

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged war.”

Sun Tzu

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About The Author: For most of the last thirty-five years, Robert Asman has been devoted to investigating and stretching the conceptual and technical boundaries of silver prints.  As an alchemist of the dark room, Asman’s creations come to form in the darkroom through the boundless manipulation of paper negatives and chemicals.  His explorations and technique bind human form, urbanism and nature.  Asman approaches art making as a transformative process, in which he mines the physical properties of his materials to create a work on paper in which process and image are one.

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To see additional photography by Robert Asman, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/gallery/robert-asman-the-alchemist/

 

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Environment, Film, Friends of TWS, Men, News, Popular Culture

PSA: Smoking is NOT Glamorous!

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Smoking is NOT Glamorous!

 

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PSA: Smoking is NOT Glamorous!

Also posted in Accessories, Advertising, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Fashion, Film, Glamour, Health Care, Models, News, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Student Life, Women

Bob Shell: Old Age and Taxes

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

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 Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #25

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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OLD AGE AND TAXES

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Taxes: we all hate ’em, but we all pay ’em. Right? I’ve recently read an article about Sweden, where they’re getting rid of property taxes. They’ve reasoned that as long as the state can force you to pay property taxes, and take your property if you don’t pay them, no one can really own property. I’ve always felt that way. Once I buy and pay for something, it should be mine, period! Well, now it’s darned nice to find a country’s government agreeing with me.

I’ve watched too many poor rural people forced to sell homes and farms that have been in families for generations because of “yuppification” of rural areas and great increases in property taxes. And cities and towns are the same. Taxes on the house I bought in the early 90s are now more than five times what they were when I bought the place. To me, that’s just unreasonable. Of course, as long as I’m in prison I pay no taxes on property, but when I get out I’ll get a whopping bill for back taxes! A bill I sure won’t be able to pay.

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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The state, by prosecuting me, destroyed my thriving photography and writing business. I lost my studio and other things too numerous to count. When I get out I’ll have no business, no income. Sure, I’ll get Social Security, but that won’t be much, since I’ve been removed from the workforce for ten years. I don’t know how I’ll live, much less pay taxes. I hate to play the age card, but I’m 71 now. Maybe after a certain age people should be exempt from paying taxes. Or at least old people who are forced to try to live on Social Security and other government benefits. Is that unreasonable?

Unfortunately, the article I read didn’t say how Sweden plans to make this work. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more details.

When you think about it, property taxes are a throwback to the old feudal system where the king or lord owned everything and the serf paid dearly for the right to scrabble a living from a little plot of land. So long as the local government can take your property for nonpayment of taxes, you don’t own that property, they do!

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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I saw a more honest version of all this when I was in Malaysia. I asked one of our hosts how expensive it would be to buy property there, because I’d noticed that a lot of British retirees lived there (it used to be a British colony). She looked at me like I’d asked an incredibly stupid question, and explained that it is impossible to buy land there, because all belongs to the King. When she saw my puzzlement, she explained that you get a 99 year lease from the government or buy out an existing lease. Sounded very strange until I thought about it and realized that their system really isn’t that different, just more honest.

I loved Malaysia, and had considered retiring there before my legal nightmare began. Unless things have changed a lot since I was there, you can live well very cheaply.

In fact, I’d looked into several countries for inexpensive retirement locations. I bought two books: Living Abroad in Belize and Living Abroad in Costa Rica, and studied both. Belize has the advantage of having English as its official language, and a very English culture (it, too, used to be a British colony, British Honduras). But Costa Rica is home to a large expat American population, so both have their appeals. It would seem that I could live comfortably in either on my Social Security and the occasional writing or photography gig. If I ever get out of here, I’ll look into these options more seriously.

But back to taxes. In the years when I was running a portrait and wedding studio combined with a camera shop I was forced to collect sales tax. I hated that, because I had no desire to be a tax collector and considered being forced to a violation of the constitutional protection against involuntary servitude. One year, sick and tired of doing the state’s work for them at far below minimum wage, I sent them a bill for my services as a tax collector. Man, that got them upset! They sent me threatening letters, one after another. I just ignored them, and in time they stopped bothering me.

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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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/bob-shell-car-reviews-in-a-photo-magazine/

 

 

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