One of the joys of being a photographer for the past 40 plus years is that I’ve accumulated a large body of work and incredible visual memories. In this series of pictures, the subject met me only once but left a trail of images that brings back memories of the days, months and years I worked in Amsterdam photographing some of the most beautiful women in the world.
On September 25th, 2003 I was out having dinner and drinks at Club Nl, a very well known night club in the heart of the city that was frequented mostly by locals. This was the place where I often met with Dutch friends to enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife. It was also a place where I scouted for models.
On this particular evening almost 30 years ago, Frans a close friend mentioned there was a young woman by the name of Layla who wanted to meet me for a casting. Arrangements were made for the prospective model to meet me at the apartment I was renting in the Red light District. Layla arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon looking forward to the opportunity to meet me with hopes that she could model for one of the magazines of which I was a contributing photographer. She knew that I was a specialist in erotic photography so the sitting went smoothly as she was eager to exhibit her youthful beauty within this small sliver of time that has left lasting visual memories.
Sneakers to me are more than an item of clothing. It’s a way for me to express myself. I’m never the most outspoken person in the room. It’s often my sneakers that speak for me. My love of shoes started at a young age. My grandfather would send me a pair once a year. Upon his passing, I had a pretty nice collection. Unfortunately with his passing so did my love for shoes. It was many years later I met my friend Herb Simpson. His exact words to me were “You’re a good dude but you need better shoes”. The next day he came to work with the newest Jordans for me. With that one gesture, the love for shoes was back. For a while, I would often run my purchases by Herb. If he approved I would purchase it. I eventually developed my style and direction. My collection started as only Air Jordans. I branched out to Adidas, Reebok, Fila, Puma, Vans, and Asics. If I felt it was nice I got it. Like many people during the pandemic, I had a lot of free time. So I decided to try something different. I began recording YouTube videos about sneakers. I did vlogs of me shopping in stores. I also did reviews of the newest sneakers. Things started to pick up for me during that time. With the notoriety from my videos, I began selling shoes. It started slow but I became everyone’s sneaker connect. Sneakers have allowed me to do things I would’ve never thought of. From traveling to different events, being on podcasts, modeling for K.Vaughn, and now even being on the cover of Tony Ward Studio. In closing, if you have a passion, no matter how big or small follow it. You never know where it might take you!
About The Author: Matthew Sampson is a full-time father of a wonderful 16-year-old daughter who also loves shoes. He recently started creating content in 2020 and posting to IG and YouTube. Matt also has become the sneaker connect for multiple people in Philadelphia. You can his sneakers for sale on his Instagram sampson_matt_. Feel free to reach out if you need items sold as well. This is Matt’s first contribution to TWS.
KVaughn called and said he was on his way to New York to select fabrics for his Winter collection of custom made scarves to be released on December 2, 2022. Every time we talk about his trips to New York you can tell his energy easily matches that of the city that never sleeps. On that note, Kevin sent me a few voice notes for this article in an attempt for the reader to gather insight on how his creative process works. They are posted here as a linear series of voice messages. This season he focused on purchasing silks, cashmere and wool for his one of kind custom made scarves. He also hung out with this seasons muse:
VM 1: Friday, November 11, 2022, Magdim Towers, Philadelphia .
VM 2: Arrives in NYC, journey begins.
VM 3: Arrives at Chic Fabrics, 247 West 38th Street, NYC.
VM4: Has lunch at Lazzara’s Pizza Cafe & Restaurant at 221 West 38th st. NYC.
VM5: Muse Adira love arrives for photos and shopping in NYC.
Behind the Scenes Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022
Photographs by Earnest Thomas, Copyright 2022
Kitchie Ohh Luncheon
After the successful shoot with Kitchie Ohh for the new Vixen’s series, I invited friends over to meet Kitchie for lunch. I selected an eclectic group of friends drawing from different aspects of the professional world including; Kitty Hailey, the famous Philadelphia based private investigator who primarily works on civil rights cases. She is a good person to know if you’ve been abused by the U.S. legal system. Kitty was accompanied by her assistant investigator, Malik Mubashir a history and religion scholar who graduated from Harvard in the 1970’a. He’s currently one of the beloved teachers at the Friends Select School in Philadelphia. Malik is dedicating his free time assisting Kitty on various high profile civil rights cases.
Also in attendance was Anthony Seraphin and his lovely sister Bunny who once owned the Seraphin Gallery on Pine street in Philadelphia. Tony continues to make private sales and investments in the arts. Out of town guests included friend and colleague Ted Kawalerski, professional photographer/film maker New York and his girlfriend Dana Montemurno, a highly skilled skin care specialist based in Westport Ct.
Needless to say my personal assistant Anthony Colagreco was present offering up one of his spectacular vegetarian dishes. Besides his cooking talents TC is also a master massage therapist. Also in attendance was my long time friend, Sam Binder a Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts trained artist whose primary interest is in sculpture.
The gracious Miss Kitchie Ohh enjoyed the guests and delighted in the food, drink and lively conversations.
Many thanks to my creative director KVaughn who came up with the brilliant idea to invite the fabulous photographer Earnest Thomas to photograph the luncheon. Thanks Earnest!