Category Archives: Photography

Bob Shell: Strange Signs

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Beware of Dog. Photo: Tony Ward, 1979

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #20

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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STRANGE SIGNS

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In my travels I always kept an eye open for interesting things to photograph. Sometimes it was people, sometimes animals, sometimes street scenes, and so on. One thing I saw almost everywhere was signs, sometimes official, more often hand printed. Among the official signs, one of my favorites is a bronze plaque set into a sidewalk in Germany. It reads something like:

On this spot on February 16, 1539,

Absolutely nothing happened.

I’m sure I got the date wrong, but you get the idea. That was either in Munich or Wetzlar.

One time in Germany, Peter Moore took s picture of me next to an arrow sign pointing at me, saying EIN FAHRT. Of course that means “ONE WAY,” as any German speaker knows!

A sign I saw in South Tyrol, the German-speaking part of northern Italy, was in multiple languages, but totally incompressible in any. I think it warned of flash floods, but that didn’t come from the text, but from the little man panicking in rushing water in the pictograph at the top of the sign.

Seen in the American Midwest on the side of a big white building:

CUSTOM KILLING

Makes you want to walk right in, eh?

On a large factory in Hong Kong:

HUNG FAT BRASSIERE COMPANY

And in a hotel in that same city, on a plaque on the inside of the room door a number of suggestions for hotel guests, including:

HOTEL GUESTS ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MAIDS

The intent comes through, but a native English speaker would have phrased it differently! You find lots of butchered English in the far east, one of the best sighted in a shop window:

ENGLISH WELL SPEACHED HERE

Yeah, sure it is.

In a Chinese restaurant window in, I think, Kuala Lumpur (which itself means “Muddy Junction”) was this:

BLOODY GOOD CHINESE FOOD AT FAIR DINKUM PRICES

That one got me to go inside. I don’t know if the prices were really “fair dinkum,” but the food was really good.

Closer to home, driving up Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley through picturesque little towns I spotted this one on the roadside:

BOX SPRING & MATTERS FUR SAIL

Gets the point across, I guess. Not far along the same road, this one:

BLAN KETS $ 4.00 PA URD

Took a while to figure out that this person was selling blankets for $ 4.00 per yard! They were actually very nice home made blankets at a reasonable price.

And on the side of a barn in New Bern, Virginia:

WE DONT RENT PIGS

I think they stole the idea for that one!

A friend recently sent me this one:

WELCOME

THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY

PLEASE DON’T DRIVE LIKE HELL THROUGH IT

I like that one.

I have a large collection of photos of odd signs in my archive, some of which made money as stock images.

Which leads into another topic, stock photography. Unfortunately, the days when a photographer could earn a nice second income from stock photo sales are pretty much over. I used to get regular checks from the licensing of images I had with agencies. Then along came tbe Internet, and my stock payments lost two zeros on the amount payable line. People used to ask me what’s was the most I ever got paid for a single image. I’d smile and say 78,000. After the shock wore off, I’d clarify that it was Yen, not dollars. It was for the use of one of my images on the cover of the Japanese edition of a Danielle Steel romance novel. Actually, the Japanese editions of several of her books bear my photographs thanks to a real whirlwind of an agent I had in Tokyo. Tony knows who I’m talking about.

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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/2018/08/bob-shell-warning-environmentalist-rant/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Environment, Film, Friends of TWS, History, Men, Popular Culture, Travel

Racquel Ward: Poor me, home alone and nuttin’ to do….

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

Poetry by Racquel Ward, Copyright 2018

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Poor me, home alone and nuttin’ to do….

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Mmm today is one of them lucky days

The luckiest day of the month

Nobody is home

I got the house to myself

So I’m gon’ do what I want

Am I feeling like munchin’?

Puffin’ or a drink?

Sleep? Energetic?

Nah, horny I think.

And if not I can get me in the mood with this here tape

I been saving it for a time, a place

A finger to circle shape…down there

A finger to have circle shaping clockwise, counter clockwise, side to side

Back and forth

Eenie Meenie miney moe

The middle finger’s good to go

Utilize my strength and ability to be soft

I pop the tape in

Rest my feet up

2 feet between my thighs, look up

Sigh

Take the journey

Ride

Rise

Steady

Drip

Release

Sleep

Look forward to next months trip

Hell, I’ll make it next week.

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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. To access additional articles by Racquel Ward, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/racquel-ward-60s-back/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Environment, Erotica, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Catherine Trifiletti: Lookbook Summer 2018

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Lookbook Summer 2018

 

 

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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To access the Catherine Trifiletti Lookbook Summer 2018. click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/gallery/catherine-trifiletti-design/

 

Also posted in Accessories, Advertising, Affiliates, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Gifts, Glamour, Models, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Bob Shell: My Years at Shutterbug

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Shutterbug: 1973 – 2018

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison # 18

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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MY YEARS AT SHUTTERBUG

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My history with Shutterbug began in the mid-70s. I don’t even remember exactly when I wrote my first article for them. The magazine was founded by Glenn Patch as Shutterbug Ads, and was originally a tabloid printed on yellow paper (although the very first issue, which I still have, was printed on white paper), and was a buy/sell newspaper made up of classified ads for photo equipment and supplies. Editorial content came later, and originally wasn’t of very high quality. At some point, once editorial content became more important, I was hired as Technical Editor, to bring the accuracy of the adticles up to a higher standard to compete with the major photo magazines. But the magazine needed an editor, and I didn’t have the time to do that job and run my studio. Glenn asked me to find one, and I called my old friend Norman Rothschild, who recommended George Berkowitz, former Editor of Popular Photography magazine, then retired. We contacted George and he took the job. But he hated the Shutterbug Ads name and got it changed to Photographic News. It was published under that name for a year or so, but circulation declined, George left, and the magazine was renamed Shutterbug, still in tabloid newspaper format. I continued as Technical Editor. The next Editor was Jack Naylor, prominent photo historian and owner of the largest camera collection in private hands in the world. Jack lived in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and had no interest in moving to Titusville, Florida, where Shutterbug was based, so he flew down one week a month to put the book together (in the magazine business magazines are called books). Jack was independently wealthy from a major auto parts manufacturing business with factories worldwide, and so he took the job out of love of photography. He certainly didn’t need the money. Eventually he got bored with the job and quit. For a while the magazine drifted along without an editor, but I kept being given more responsibility, and in 1991 I was offered the job of Editor. I accepted, but on the condition that I could work from my home office in Radford, Virginia. I ran the magazine, going down to Titusville several times a year for staff meetings, using FedEx to get my material there, later going to fax, and still later to email attachments and upload to their server.

During my years as Editor the magazine grew every year, and the classified ads became less and less important as a source of income, displaced by the Internet, so editorial content became more and more important. In 1997 Glenn, who’d declared for years that Shutterbug was never going to be sold, sold the magazine to a media conglomerate in NYC called Primedia. I was very upset by this because I’d said many times that if the magazine was sold I wanted a chance to put together an offer. I pretty much knew my days were numbered when they said, “We’re not going to change anything,” and promptly proceeded to change everything. They knew less than zip about the photography business, and put a man in as Publisher whose ideas of where the magazine should go and mine were like oil and water. After photokina 2000 I got a phone call from this guy telling me he was replacing me with someone else as Editor. He really didn’t have the authority to do that, and when I went up to NYC to talk to the Primedia people it became clear that they had been told that I wanted to retire. I could have dragged the whole sordid mess into court, but that might have hurt the magazine I’d devoted my life to, and made it impossible for me to continue as Editor anyway, so I chose to bow out gracefully. Many advertisers contacted me with offers to protest by pulling their advertising, but I told them not to. I didn’t want to hurt Shutterbug. The last thing I wanted was to damage the magazine, so I negotiated a quiet settlement that allowed me to continue as Editor At Large. It hurt me badly financially, because it paid less than half what I’d made as Editor, but at the same time freed me to write for other magazines, so I contacted my friend Bill Hurter at Rangefinder. I’d given Bill work when he was between jobs and he reciprocated by giving me work writing for Rangefinder, which he was then running. I had friends worldwide in the photo magazine world, so I was soon writing for Zoom (Italy), Color Foto (Germany), Photo Answers and Amateur Photographer (England), Asahi Photo (Japan), Asian Photographer (India), Photomagazin (Russia), and some others I’ve no doubt forgotten, as well as for Photo Techniques, Photo Electronic Imaging, Professional Photographer, and Digital Camera in the USA. I was also the Photo Guru for BestStuff.com and their short-lived print magazine. I couldn’t write for other magazines while still Editor at Shutterbug — my contract didn’t allow it — but my new contract allowed me to write for anyone who wanted me. Soon I was bringing in more money than before the double-cross. Of course, I was still writing my obligatory two articles a month for Shutterbug. And I was writing two or three books a year.

Then in June of 2003, disaster struck. My young girlfriend Marion Franklin died of an apparent drug overdose taken while I was out getting dinner and I was accused by the Radford Police of causing her death. I was thrown in jail and it took 30 days for friends to arrange my bond and get me out. My mother had died a month before Marion and left me money, or I wouldn’t have had the bail money. When I got home I found a letter from the NY office waiting for me saying that “due to the accusations” my contract was terminated. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? But even though Shutterbug let me down, Joe White, then Editor at Photo Techniques, kept me on writing lighting articles and Digital Camera gave me the job of Technical Editor, so I had work. Plus I got contracts to write books for several publishers, so the wolf was kept away from the door.

After writing the above I received some terrible news. Earlier this year Shutterbug was sold to a British media conglomerate. Their first move was to lay off our best people, including the Managing Editor. Then, in the June issue they announced that they were taking the magazine bimonthly, beginning with the July/August issue. I’ve just learned that the July/August issue will never appear. They’ve shut the magazine down. Buying a successful and profitable magazine only to shut it down makes no sense at all. I feel like my best friend just died. R.I.P. Shutterbug 1973 – 2018. Dead at age 45.

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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://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-dead-cats-in-the-studio-yikes/

 

 

 

Also posted in Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Friends of TWS, Glamour, History, News, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Bob Shell: Art of Rope

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Bob Shell: Art of Rope

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #16

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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Just how did the book Erotic Bondage: Art of Rope come about? Basically, it was Marion’s idea. She’d been looking at my collection of books, including Tony’s Obsession, Petter Hegre’s My Wife, Ralph Gibson’s Deus Ex Machina, Lee Higgs’s Generation Fetish, and others (all confiscated by the cops, none returned, most of them signed copies given to me by the photographers) and decided she wanted The Marion Book. She was heavily into sexual bondage, said she had the most intense orgasms when restrained. She’d shown me a bunch of Polaroid snaps of her bound taken by an old boyfriend. The photography and rigging were amateurish, but she still shined. She also described the bondage sessions she’d done with a recent boyfriend, and complained that he tied the ropes too tight. So I began shooting some bondage sessions with her, something new to me. Oh, I’d played around with handcuffs and such with a few models, but nothing hardcore. I then built a suspension frame, incorporating suggestions from her dad, and built a couple of sets. It was then that I discovered rainbowrope.com, where I found nice soft 1/4 inch Nylon rope in all sorts of colors. I bought a bunch of rope from them as well as some props like an old style dental clamp that Marion fell in love with. We commenced shooting for the book each week after my other obligations were out of the way. After we had some pictures we really liked. I went looking for a publisher. I didn’t think an American publisher would be interested. so I went looking in Germany, where several of my books had been published. My main German publisher was a wing of the Vatican, so I didn’t take this project to them! After several dead ends, I found a publisher, and we began to rough the book out – and then that publisher went bust. I was discouraged, but this had happened before, and so I started over. If I had all the money publishers have gone broke owing me, I might have been as wealthy as the prosecutor thought!

I talked to Lee Higgs and he put me in touch with his publisher in Germany, Goliath. They loved the project and over the course of a year or so we put the book together. In fact they liked it so much that they decided to make it the first of a series under a new imprint, MixOfPix. In the middle of this process Marion died. I was very conflicted about going on with the project, but Marion’s best friend Samantha had seen the photos (and was in some) and said Marion would have wanted me to finish the project, and her other friends I talked to felt the same, I felt they were right, so I hired other models to do the shoots we’d planned and sketched, and finished the book. That I published under my Edward Lee pseudonym had nothing to do with Marion’s death, but had been the plan from the beginning. I had some very straight-laced clients at the time and wanted to keep things separate.

The prosecutor implied that I’d made a lot of money from the book. As photographers who have done picture books will tell you, you do not get rich from this type of book. I did not do a detailed accounting, but by the time I figured in model’s fees, cost of set building, and all the other expenses of doing the shoots for the book, I might just have broken even. I did have some quiet support from photo industry companies, and a cheering section from my dear old friend Monte Zucker, who gleefully showed me the gay bondage he was shooting and critiqued the images for me. But, no matter what the prosecutor implied, I was not rolling in money from this project. The book is out of print now, and my royalties ended long ago, but I’m told it is available from Amazon.

Marion also wanted a website along with the book. She’d been inspired by boundndetermined.com, the website owned by my friend Maria Shadoes, and wanted to call hers bound2bwild.com. I’d registered the name and Maria and I were working on the design. Maria made a good living from the websites she owned and webmastered and was to be our webmaster. All those plans came to naught, though. Marion’s website never went live. So many plans and dreams died with her.

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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://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-15/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Book Reviews, Current Events, History, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women