Category Archives: Sports

Michael Heath: Skate Board Fashion

 

Photography and Text by Michael Heath, Copyright 2017

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SKATE BOARD FASHION

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In the nearly 20 years since I last had a skateboard under my feet, it seems that much has changed in the realm of what one might wear as they furiously push their way across a flat towards a quarter-ramp to do a trick before falling on their face. In the late 1990’s, the standard issue skater uniform was simple: baggy shirt, baggy pants that never fit around your waist, Converse All-Stars or Airwalks, long-ish hair, and a wallet chain. If it was cold outside, maybe you would follow the grunge trend at the time and wear a plaid long-sleeved shirt. It was clothes to get dirty in, to sweat profusely in, to give a middle-finger to everyone who wore neatly pleated khaki pants, rugby polos, and loafers to high school in.

2017, however, has revealed to me that skate park fashion has evolved and diversified immensely since I was 16 years old. Some of the trends I was familiar with are in a retro phase, including the aforementioned All-Stars and baggy pants, but they were the exception to the rule that more form-fitting clothes were acceptable. A great number of ‘boarders were wearing skinny jeans, purposefully destroyed for show, not as a sign they had fallen on their knees umpteen million times trying to perfect their railing grind. Some were wearing layers with t-shirts under collared shirts; others wore henleys or stretch cotton shirts.

The most surprising update in the last 20 years: Color. Eye-grabbing, unapologetic color.

I am unsure if the only clothes skateboarders owned two decades ago that nobody cared about destroying were black, brown, dark green or blue, denim, and whatever color tube socks came in, or if it was just the overall palette available at the time, but I never recall skate fashion being this attention-worthy. Bright reds. Neon yellow. Pastels. Faded colors. White. Purple. You name it. It was glorious.

Oh, and then there were the haircuts. Gone were the bowl cuts and bald heads I remember. In were fades, braids, twists, dreadlocks, pompadours, military cuts, flat-tops, long beards, short beards.

Skate park fashion, my how you have grown up.

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Portrait of Michael Heath by Rongrong Liu. Copyright 2017

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About The Author: Michael Heath is a Senior IT Support Specialist, ISC Classroom Technolgy Services, at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Fashion, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life

Light Table: Memorable 80’s Ads

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Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017

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MEMORABLE 80’S ADS

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One of the most memorable advertising assignments I received happened early on in my career.  In 1985, I was contacted by Christina Pirello (maiden name Hayes) an art director at Bernie Brownstein Advertising, a Philadelphia based advertising agency.  The art director contracted me to shoot a series of erotic photographs of a couple presumably in the midst of several passionate moments to represent the sale of a professional exercise equipment company.  This was such a novel idea at the time, that I accepted the assignment. I was asked to shoot the pictures for the ads in black and white. I suppose the thinking was; some readers of the magazines where the ads were slated to appear; Philadelphia Magazine and others may have considered the images to be more pornographic than artistic if shot in color.  I cast my wife at the time alongside male model Jim Mital, who was quite handsome and easy to direct and  work with.  

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Photo: Tony Ward

This series of pictures assigned represent a  precursor to what would later be my extensive immersion in the realm of erotic photography; a decade later when I started to produce erotic pictorials  for Bob Guccione at Penthouse Magazine. The real  distinction between these ads and what would transpire later between couples for Penthouse would require real sweat, not the baby oil and water spray “effects” commonly used at photo shoots to create this type of look in an ad.

Photo: Tony Ward

 

To see additional Photography by Tony Ward during the 1980’s and 90’s, go herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/

 

Also posted in Advertising, Art, Blog, Erotica, Fashion, Men, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture

Brian Schoenauer: A Reflection on the Emotionality of Athletics

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Photography and Text by Brian Schoenaeur, Copyright 2016

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A REFLECTION ON THE EMOTIONALITY OF ATHLETICS

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Athletics have the ability to bring out of us incredibly raw and powerful emotion. The four fundamental emotions of love, happiness, sadness and despair can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Many athletes play for the love of the game – and for the love of their teammates. Memories and bonds formed through the glory of victory and the agony of defeat undoubtedly last a lifetime. However, the strongest memories may not be an individual play or an incredible win. The strongest memories may be the moments in between. Preparation, practice, and moments of friendship off the field make the joy of success that much sweeter. Happiness after a win is an astoundingly pure emotional state. But like most things in life, it is fleeting.

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Sadness after a loss is an equally powerful state. You never get that chance back – it is gone forever. The finality of athletics can be brutal. The game or competition that has given you so much can take everything away in an instant. The promise of victory – or even the ability to compete are transient. The emptiness left by this void is a fundamental form of despair.

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It may be hard to imagine life without your teammates or your sport. The season may seem hopeless. Despite it all, one can only persevere and to focus on the happiness borne from the love of the game and the love shared between teammates.

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I wanted to, as a part of this project, highlight the emotionality of sport through classic portraiture. I also wanted to celebrate some of the important people in my life – who also happen to be athletes at Penn themselves. My little sister, Kathryn, is a freshman on the track team. She is one of the most driven and kind people I know– and I am the proudest big brother. Olivia, Paige, and Tahirih are seniors on the Penn soccer team – and as athletes, they are amazingly fierce competitors.

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As people, they have the biggest and warmest of hearts. Tahirih became genuinely emotional during the shoot when Paige, her teammate, started talking about how their soccer playing careers would be over soon. Paige described what those moments after the last game would be like. She described the people they would see there – the people who have been alongside them through this collegiate sports journey. Tahirih thought about all the friends she would have to leave behind after her senior season. In that moment, Tahirih’s emotions rose to the surface as she contemplated the end of competitive soccer. This was undoubtedly the most powerful moment of this project for me.

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Portrait of Brian Schoenauer by Kaleb Germinaro, Copyright 2016.

Portrait of Brian Schoenauer by Kaleb Germinaro, Copyright 2016.

About The Author: Brian Schoenaeur is a senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017. Brian is also a running back on the Penn football team.

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Women

New SZN: A Portrait of Tony Hicks

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Posted on April 10, 2016 by Soraya Hebron

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Last fall, Penn basketball captain Tony Hicks made the hard decision to sit out for the upcoming season in order to pursue a more promising path after graduation. On February 17th, 2016 the birthday of basketball legend Michael Jordan, I met with my friend Tony to talk about the impact that the sport has had on his life.

I’m Tony Hicks. I was originally born in L.A. Moved to Chicago when I was three. My parents got a divorce and my mom raised me and my brother. He’s ten years older than me. She was single until 7th grade. Funny thing—I never grew up playing basketball. I was a football player from age six to age thirteen. That was all I did. Part of the reason why I love basketball so much now is that I picked it up so late. For kids who have been playing it their whole life it kind of dies down and I at the peak right now.

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I wouldn’t call him a family member, but someone who I consider family and has changed my life is my high school coach. He came from New York and was a really good coach. Part of the reason why I chose basketball is because he saw so much in me and thought I could really do something with it if I decided to put all of my time into it. That was when I made the decision to stop playing football.

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My mom does hair. She’s done hair since I was born. Yvette—her name is right here on my arm. She got her own shop when I was growing up. She got tired of that and now she just pays booth rent. She actually works on the same street we live on just eight blocks down the road. That’s all she does everyday, three days out of the week. She just supports us the best she can.

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Best moment of Penn basket—beating Harvard. It was toward the end of freshman year. I had personally started playing well and it was a big win. Nobody expected us to win. It was a great experience because I was with the people that I have been closest with on this team during my four years at Penn and we played fantastic. They thought they were going to win and had the Ivy League wrapped up. I don’t remember the score—I had twenty-four points though.

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I’m going through the hardest moment of Penn basketball right now. I actually spoke to my dad today who I don’t speak to very often. Right now I’m having trouble with the fact that I’m not competing and playing a sport. This is a time when I feel like I’m really just competing against myself. I’m trying to stay focused because I am going somewhere after this and I can’t let now affect how I carry over into the future. I’m just trying to stay focused, knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

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“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

      -Michael Jordan

Portrait of Soraya Hebron by Jasmin Smoots.  Copyright 2016

Portrait of Soraya Hebron by Jasmin Smoots. Copyright 2016

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About The Author: Soraya Hebron is a senior majoring in Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

Also posted in Current Events, Friends of TWS, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography