Category Archives: Politics

A.H. Scott: Vortex of the Vile

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Illustration by Eustace M. Pilgram, Copyright 2017

 

 

Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2017

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VORTEX OF THE VILE

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In the vortex of the vile, there is never a reason to smile

All asphyxiated in this acidic arena they go

Stature diminished in a discombobulated flow

Emperor elbows anyone in his path, as a naked negativism exudes the core of this being’s wraith

Tactful restraint is nowhere about, for he must always toss around his clout

With belligerent belch of insensitivity incessantly coming from his mouth

This is the essence of what the vortex of the vile is about

For country, ideology, or any other reason it could be

Viper of chaos has chased them upward onto the branches of a burning tree

Generals of combat and command

For sense of duty

Titans of trade and commerce

For cents of duty

Duplicity is the oath of loyalty they now bear

Their once sterling reputations in former fields of glory have been sullied by the sadistic soul-shredder without care

At the helm of the vortex of the vile is a shit-starter who tosses fecal-laden sucker punches and scurries back from the front-line of retaliation by critique

But, that’s nothing new

Oh no, it’s not unique

There’s always a shit-starter who sets off the flame

But, as the firestorm blazes in the four winds in varied ways

They stand back and have others sacrifice their pride with statements of righteous defense

From tiny thumbs, the infantile tirade comes

But then again, the world holds its’ breath for the adults in the house to stand fast and fill the breach

Oh, who the Hell are we kidding?

Punditry from left and right, speak of maturity’s assurance to save us from this house of madness’ plight

Dog of many a year isn’t going to learn some new tricks

Because, being cruel is how he gets his kicks

Now, the carnival is afoot about how he turns his staff from lions to kittens

Charlottesville was nothing but a blip or a hiccup in time

Fine people were on both sides of that line

Mnuchin and Cohn got an important job to do

For constructing a mighty tax shelter will make them invisible to the Tiki torch-bearers’ view

Wave that flag! Wave that flag!

Try not to blind the public too much

Patriotism shouldn’t be callously manipulated like a bumper-sticker slogan and such

Dare not take a knee, for whatever unknown reason it could be

Knees are only meant to be capped by a boss in his high-chair

As he admonishes Rex not to don a diplomatic hat

So bizarre it is that a name of an Elton tune has been plopped into the mix

Howling at the moon is his style

No soul is safe in the Vortex of the Vile

Four men of valor taken too soon

And, actions of those in the office before you are knotted into your response

Will you stop it, will you stop it?

Stop reaching back beyond the Inauguration date of your own hand on that Holy book

Look in the mirror and take a close look

You can’t, you won’t, or maybe you just don’t care

Always right, ya’ gotta fight

Never wrong, that’s your song

Talk about news being fake, there are some things so beyond real

Touting how great thou art is your lofty deal

Paper towels punted, Mayor of San Juan shunned

For him, this is just so much damned fun

Throwaway lines and answers are spoken, leaving even the most steadfast souls broken

A father’s greatest pain spoken at the podium is even sadly diminished into a spin cycle’s token

Sacred things, sacred things

Pity how hollow that singular word rings

Audience of one sits in the office and cynically nods to himself 

Will he apologize?

Oh no, he will never take a knee

To be graceful and gallant as a gentleman he shall never be

America is being flushed down the drain of civility

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About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by A. H. Scott, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/h-scott-happened-trumps-brain/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, Current Events, News, Poetry, Popular Culture, Women

Rebecca Huang: I’m Most Afraid Of…..

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Photography and Text by Rebecca Huang, Copyright 2017

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I’M MOST AFRAID OF…..

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When most people get asked what they are most afraid of, they usually relate it to spiders, ghosts, or heights. Most people do not think how it relates to the bigger scale picture with in the world, because it seems to be far above them and they do not have much say in it, so it is something that does not relate to them much. However, I think that everyone definitely has an opinion as to what they know about current politics and do apply to how it affects them. It is just that every day little issues come to overshadow over the bigger scale issues since those are more immediate and we have a say to them.

Therefore, for my assignment, I decided to ask people from a variety of backgrounds what they were most afraid of in terms of current US politics, in specific with Trump as president. Some decided to give a more personal response in how it directly influences them in terms of ethnicity and culture, while others decided to give a broader fear which would affect everyone in the world. Some of the answers they gave could also be foreseen through just knowing what they are involved in at Penn as well, while the others were surprising and it actually in a way helped me get to know my models more as a person. I think through this way of asking people just around not only me, but also other Penn students what in politics scares them, helps make a stronger statement in protesting and raising awareness for some issues. Especially since we all interact in about the same general Penn community so these small collection of issues may apply to a greater collection of us as well.

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About The Author: Rebecca Huang is a freshmen enrolled in the College of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Rebecca Huang, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/rebecca-huang-see/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

Debbie Williams: The Naked Truth

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TWS: June 2017

 

 

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017

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FEATURE ARTICLE: THE NAKED TRUTH

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Text by Debbie Williams, Copyright 2017

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I met Tony Ward in the 90’s, which I would probably say were my modeling heydays,  but to be frank, I have been dragging my 15 minutes of fame out over my lifetime.  I don’t remember how many times Tony and I have shot together, but I think it’s about five times by now. I like the way he sees art in the human experience.  As we shot our latest session,  he reminded me of one instance that made me completely uncomfortable.  I shot a scene with his wife Sandy.  I remember her wearing lingerie,  and me feeling like I wanted to find the closest exit.  When we shot the other day,  he mentioned that shoot,  and said it implied girl on girl action.  I don’t remember her touching me. I don’t think she did,  but I know that I didn’t like it.

Before you judge me, understand that I grew up with a sibling (and other loved ones), who are gay. The funny thing is, some people think that just because you are comfortable with a person for who they are, how they are when they are gay, that you must also be gay. Not so. I have even lost friends who were lesbians, because I just wanted to be friends.  I have also lost male friends that way. Maybe the fact that I wasn’t allowed to date until I was in college helped me to be a better friend,  because I couldn’t do anything else.  My mother said,  “You have straight “A’s”, and you are going to keep them”. I was the smart girl. You know,  most likely to succeed.  A nerd. I didn’t really think about being pretty,  except for cheerleading, gymnastics,  ballet, oratory, or an occasional talent show until I was a teenager.  I always loved clothing and shoes, but being raised by my mother was tough at times.

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I was raised first in my family’s AME church,  then the Pentecostal church,  which wasn’t really big on encouraging women’s outward beauty, so modeling (and acting) isn’t looked on as a good thing.  Jesus said in Mark 16:15-16King James Version (KJV)

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
It is sad, but there’s are entire groups of people who are not being ministered to because they are models, actors, athletes, dancers, artists, Personal Trainers,  gay, etc., because someone has written us off as not “good enough” for Heaven. Yet, the Bible says in Matthew 7,

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall bejudged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerestnot the beam that is in thine own eye?…”, and in Romans 1 (which pretty much covers all of the bases) says in verses 30-32, “30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” King James Version (KJV) and in Proverbs 11:9 KJV, it says, “ 9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”  and in Proverbs 26:20-22King James Version (KJV)
“20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”

I am not telling anyone that he or she has to create The Gospels According To (fill in the blank), in order to carry out their mission as a person of faith,  but I am saying that there is a wonderful little verse in John 3:16 KJV that speaks volumes, 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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When each of us goes before the altar of God, we can’t take our Mother’s faith, or our Father’s prayers. We go before God as we are -who we are. It is up to God to fix whatever​ needs to be fixed, and to heal what needs to heal. We often do ourselves, and others a major disservice, when we try to “play God”.
I thought about how I might explain away my reasons for doing this photo shoot, and feeling so free to dismantle this time. Other photographers have asked me to go completely nude before (when doing a nude shot would have been much easier to explain), and I didn’t do it. So why now, you might ask? Because, I want to let go.
God knows, I am not trying to promote Naked Sundays at the church. Oh, please don’t. This shoot allowed me to let go of some of my fears.
In 2011, I had kidney failure, a stroke and was diagnosed with Lupus. At first, I couldn’t talk, and could barely walk, see, hear, read, write, reason or remember. No one had to tell me I was dying. I could feel it.  It was a definite life changer for me.

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The specter of death had a profound effect on my way of seeing life. For years, I have been in the ocean, trying not to make too many waves, while at the same time, trying to make a difference.
If you don’t make waves, you don’t make a difference. I can’t sit around worrying about what everyone is going to think about the choices I have made. I may not have that kind of time. I have to choose, and keep things moving.
I am always covered up under makeup, clothing, jewelry, degrees, titles, religious beliefs, family honor, motherhood, politics, responsibility…stuff.
I just want to be free.

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It’s funny that Tony asked me to talk about the 2016 election. I decided to run for the US House of Representatives again after receiving a very encouraging letter from President Obama. I ran for this position against Congressman Bob Brady in 2004, on the ticket with President George Bush, Jr. I had a lot more votes in this election, but it was pretty brutal. I don’t think many candidates, or many Americans for that matter, came out of 2016 unscathed. It is now May of 2017, and now that I look back on it, I would have made some different choices.
Aside from getting hacked, and I was and still am a Republican, I felt the environment was toxic. I was not angry or disappointed on November 9th, after the election was over. I was relieved. Little did I know that there would be lingering questions about what happened during the election, and what was happening to me. I mentioned I was hacked. That happened pretty early in the campaign, but I was completely floored when I received an email on December 20th, which is the day after the election results were certified, saying someone from Russia changed the information on one of my financial accounts. Afterward, there came threatening emails, ones that sound like bribes, emails about bank accounts, credit cards, and websites that I didn’t set up, etc. It has been a long, drawn out nightmare.
Have you ever watched a “B movie”, where someone is killed, but they use the entire fifteen minutes of fame to die. You know, the kind of scene where you find yourself telling the person, “Oh just die already”! Yup, election 2016.

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Even though that election was far from normal, I joined the others who were in support of Mr. Trump, because I didn’t want the party to be ripped apart. I was asked to lead Women For Trump, and African Americans For Trump, which I turned down. Quite frankly, I was waiting for the moment when I felt like he knew more about world events than I knew. I didn’t have a huge staff, or any money, so I had to study, write my own pieces, come up with my own slogans, design my own literature, etc. I had to work. I didn’t have the luxury of being lazy.
What should have been a pivotal moment for me was when the Billy Bush video came out. After hearing it, I wanted to walk away, but my name was already on the ballot, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I took a semi break for a week, and did an interview with the Philly Voice, where I opened up about the election. I also spoke up for Hillary Clinton in that article, but that part never made print. I had my issues with Secretary Clinton, but I believe she really wanted, and deserved to win.

It’s hard. I met Mr. Trump September at a meeting with Ministers in Philadelphia. I was asked to appear on MSNBC for an interview with Joy Reid later that evening. I was willing to speak in support for Mr. Trump from that day forward, but when the Billy Bush video came out, it hit me like a load of bricks, especially because I ended up moving out of the apartment I was renting because the landlord touched me inappropriately. Talk about tragic irony. I was hoping for a better, stronger America, and though the lines are blurred, I have not stopped hoping.

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All Right Reserved.  Copyright 2017

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Cover: Debbie Williams photographed in Brooklyn, New York on May 18, 2017

Body Suit: Moda International

Earrings: Dream Plus

Metal Necklace: Dream Plus

Makeup: LA Colors

Nail Polish: Broadway Nails

Dress: Nicole Miller Collection

Lingerie: Calvin Klein

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Also posted in Blog, Covers, Current Events, Documentary, Glamour, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Jonathan Tang: America Trumped

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Photography, Text and Video by Jonathan Tang, Copyright 2017

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AMERICA TRUMPED

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Donald Trump: one of the most unexpected “surprises” of 2016. Since his 2017 inauguration, almost every one of Trump’s actions have faced public scrutiny, especially as he threatens America’s foreign relations and global competitiveness. Notable views and actions include:

  • Attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides healthcare to the underprivileged and poor.
  • Banning immigrants from numerous Muslim countries including Iran and Iraq, while ignoring Muslim US allies, including Saudi Arabia.
  • Cutting funding for sanctuary cities and organizations, which refuse to detain illegal immigrants.
  • Preparing to build a multi-billion-dollar wall between the US and Mexico.
  • Encouraging charter and private schools over public education.
  • Focusing on the coal industry while ignoring renewable resources.
  • Proposing major cuts to climate change research and action.
  • Enthusiastically undermining the Justice Department’s checks and balances on the Executive branch.
  • Combating free speech by limiting access to information and actively altering the truth.
  • And many more.

While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, Trump’s time in office has been distinctly controversial. His clear contempt for the checks and balances of the American government is worrying. In addition, his aggressive manipulation of the truth threatens free speech, one of the most important tenets of America.

In the interest of studying Donald Trump’s manipulation of information, I sought to approach the actions of the Trump administration by through alterations of my own. I photographed everyday scenes and converted them into propaganda, inspired by book covers, magazine spreads, and other everyday sources of information. While some of the images seek to match those found in these sources (especially photographs from magazines overlaid with text), others are my interpretation of America under Trump.

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About The Author: Jonathan Tang is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017. Johnathan plans to enroll in medical school once he graduates. To see additional articles by Jonathan Tang, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/jonathan-tang-light-paper/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Environment, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn Photography

Noel Zheng: In Creation of a Movement

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 Photography, Text and Video by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017

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IN CREATION OF A MOVEMENT

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In such a trivial time in the history of the United States of America—a time brimming with such complicated and convoluted and cunning stories, news, decisions and actions—I think there is no better action than to be outright honest.

This is not a hate letter.

This is a call for action: because I want to know from all those fighting out there—from all those fighting out there that day, or any other day, week or month—that they were not only fighting for taxes or education or sexuality, but they were fighting for a movement.

The United States of America needs to come together. But don’t fool yourselves for a minute, for you were broken before the election. It was not the election that divided you, as so many of you blame. You were broken by a 65,844,954-to-62,979,879-person-divide, before the votes were cast.

But there is something to fight for. There is always something to fight for in this new chapter in history. So, let’s hope that when we succeed in fighting for taxes or education or sexuality (and we will succeed), we won’t let that suffice and be content. Scratch that, let us be content. But let us also remember that what we fighting for is nothing short of a movement.

We are not perfect, far from it, but like we always have, we will try to aim for the best and perchance we falter or fail or fall short, then let that too be recorded. Because, America, only in honesty can you truly find the creation of a movement to create change in a stagnant, lost and perhaps unchangeable world.

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About The Author: Noel Zheng is a freshmen enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Noel Zheng, go herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/noel-zheng-looking-glass/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn Photography