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Deean: Close Ups 1990’s

 

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Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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DEEAN: Close Up 1990’s

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During the 1990’s my studio was located a block away from South Street, one of the most famous streets in Philadelphia for attracting the avant-garde artists, photographers, musicians and stylists who frequented the trend setting strip. It runs East to West from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River several blocks South of center city.  Because of my studios proximity to South street, I often met interesting characters to photograph for my portrait work. Deann was one of those distinctive characters that I grew attracted to as a subject. One day when I was walking between 6th and 7th streets on South in a neighborhood called Bella Vista,  I noticed she was working at a  body piercing shop just around the corner from my studio which was located at 704 South 6th..  When I discovered where she worked it  prompted me to introduce myself since we were practically neighbors.  During those days, I was intrigued by a  growing interest in the art of tattoo and body piercing as a subject for various series I was working on at the time.  South street was known for attracting all types of unusual subjects.  Deann was not only known for being stylish and having a distinctive look, she also was known for being a perfectionist at body piercing.  On a day that I felt particularly daring in the Summer of 1997,  I walked into her shop and made an appointment to have her pierce one of my ears. The first time I was inclined to have a piercing performed was in college in 1974, after I saw the movie Serpico.  It was a defining display of individuality in my early twenties when I saw the character that Al Pacino played (a police officer) adorn his left ear with a single gold earring. 

So as a way to revisit the nostalgia of the past, and after the successful procedure to pierce my ear was completed,  I mustered up the courage to ask Deean to model for me. I wanted to include her in a series entitled, Close Ups.  She wanted to think about it. On the surface she appeared to be a bit reserved, timid and shy in contrast to her outwardly dramatic appearance.  A short period of time passed and then a magical moment of happenstance occurred.  On a night while I was out at a nightclub photographing subjects for another project, low and behold there was Deean seated at the bar having a beverage wearing a sharp shirt and tie with a conservative pin-stripped sports jacket.  I spotted a simple wall near where she was sitting and then proceeded to turn on my flash as I asked her to turn and look straight ahead so as to feature her distinctive profile.  She eventually agreed.

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To access additional work from Tony Ward’s Close Ups 1990’s, click herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/close-ups-1990s/

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To access additional diary entries by Tony Ward, click herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/09/beach-report-last-days-of-summer/

 

 

This entry was posted in Accessories, Art, Blog, Diary, Documentary, Fashion, History, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women.

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