Emily Cheng: Electric Avenue

Photography and Text by Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

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ELECTRIC AVENUE

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“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” – Tennessee Williams

If there’s one word that describes New Orleans, it’s vibrant. The iridescent gleam of beads hanging from the trees in the aftermath of Mardi Gras. The flavor of cajun crawfish in your mouth, spiced with the fragrance of oranges. The boisterous chatter of bar hoppers, lasting deep into the night. The diverse melange of cultures, but also the Southern charm that makes you feel at home.

Of course, nothing exemplifies New Orleans vibrance quite like Bourbon Street. In the daytime, the street is packed to the brim with buskers and tourists, the air heavy with sounds of drums and camera shutters clicking. But come nighttime, the street really comes to life. Resplendent with neon signs lighting every bar from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, Bourbon Street becomes a beacon of light that draws every soul in the city in search of a good time. Jazz and dance music intermingle, and the street is slick with remnants of margaritas. Diners at the white tablecloth Galatoires feast on shrimp remoulade, parallel to spring breakers downing jello shots at the dive bar next door. All with the glow of neon shining above.

This series highlights the neon signage that brings New Orleans and Bourbon Street to life. Coming from Hong Kong, where old-school neon signage is an iconic but slowing dying art, seeing this was a fond reminder of home. It’s also a reminder to me that no matter the differences between cultures, parallels can be found everywhere.

I am in awe of New Orleans’ eternal vibrance, the intensity and fervor that propelled this city to the top of New York Times’ 52 Places to Visit, only 13 years after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I hope that this sentiment shines through in my photographs.

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About The Author: Wing Hei Emily Cheng is a Senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Ms. Cheng, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/emily-cheng-objects-of-desire/

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #8

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Photo: Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

 

 

Letters From Prison: Part 8, 2018

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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As I said earlier, in the early 70s I was working for a small TV station in Roanoke. I did a little of everything; ran a camera, directed, produced live TV shows, even introduced late night horror movies on Saturday nights, even filling in for the weatherman on our local news a time or two. It was a real shoestring operation, and when we picked up our paychecks we had to rush to the bank and cash them because those brought to the bank later frequently bounced. The best paid were the engineers, so I went down to Atlanta and took a crash course in electronics at the Elkins Institute, took the government test and got a first class FCC license. Suddenly I was an engineer! In those days the FCC required that an engineer be present at the TV transmitter at all times when the station was broadcasting. Our transmitter was atop Poor Mountain near Roanoke, to get the widest coverage. I got to work there on a “road” that was really just a fire trail. Luckily my car at the time was an FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser with four-wheel drive, a real mechanical mountain goat that could go anywhere. Amazing vehicle that I kept into the late 80s, and was sorry to part with. I retired the Toyota in favor of a Citroen DS21. Eventually I owned seven of these wonderful French vehicles, ranging from early 60s models to my last one, a beautiful sky blue 1972 model, the last year they were sold in the USA. I bought all of the special tools, shop manuals (some in French), and learned to do all my own maintenance. These cars have an active hydropneumatic suspension, that makes them seem alive. The softest ride ever. Jay Leno says his DS21 is his favorite of all his cars to drive. Of the many cars I’ve owned I could say the same. I stuck with the Citroens after they stopped selling in the USA because parts were sold by Peugeot, but then they also pulled out of the USA and parts became harder and harder to get. I ordered from Holland for a while, but finally gave up and sold my last one to a homesick piano tuner from Paris.

I seem to have gotten sidetracked into automotive things. I love a number of things, and cars are just one more. I can’t bear owning any mechanical device without knowing how it works, so all of my cars, household appliances, and cameras have been taken apart and reassembled. My old friend Marty Forscher was the dean of camera repairmen. He ran Professional Camera Repair in NYC for many years until he retired. He told me he taught himself how to repair cameras by completely disassembling a Rolleiflex, putting all the parts in a box, shaking it up, and then putting it back together. I did the same with an old Pentax Spotmatic, and only had a few parts left over!! So I signed up for the old National Camera home study course in camera repair and learned to do things the right way. For years after that I made money on the side fixing cameras. But that ended when cameras became heavily electronified, and required specialized tools and equipment that were brand specific and were too expensive for anyone outside a factory repair service. No room anymore for a generalist mechanic. I did for a while sort of specialize in repairing the Swiss Alpa cameras that were literally built like Swiss watches, but they went out of business and that work dried up. So my sideline of fixing cameras came to an end except for an occasional favor for a friend and tinkering with my own equipment. Today’s digital SLRs are foreign territory to me and too expensive to risk messing up.

That being said, I took to digital very early on and learned Photoshop before there was even a version number. I believe I shot the first totally digital magazine cover (for PIC magazine in London in 1993 or 1994.). I’ll tell you all about PIC next time…..

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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://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-7/

 

Field Report: Happy Hour and Available Light

Happy Hour. Bernie's Bar & Restaurant. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018
Happy Hour. Bernie’s Bar & Restaurant. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018
 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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Field Report: Happy Hour and Available Light

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I was sitting at the bar at Bernie’s restaurant and bar in Glenside Pa. enjoying a delicious Ketel One martini when I finally realized why I like this place so much.  The food, beverage and sexy millennial wait staff is excellent. The modern well appointed interior space is beautifully designed accented by natures natural light. Well positioned, the bar faces west with large plate glass windows behind it looking out on to Glenside’s charming suburban neighborhood. There’s an outdoor seating area for diners as well.  I’ve observed on several occasions when the sun sets behind the bar on a clear day, it seems to have  a magical impact on the mood of the diners and wait staff.  Everyone seems to be happy in that moment. The light is deliciously seductive at that hour in this place.

I had my compact SonyRX100V camera handy and framed a few pics that I think captures the feeling during this happiest of  hours.  Camera was balanced for daylight with ISO 400, F-2.8 at 1/80th of a second. Zoom lens was set to 20mm. It’s hard to beat the nimbleness and refined resolution of this Sony capturing device.

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Happy Hour. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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Tony Ward shooting with the SonyRX100V.
Tony Ward shooting with the SonyRX100V.

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About The Author: Tony Ward is a fine art photographer, author, blogger, publisher and Adjunct Professor of Photography at the University of Pennsylvania. To access additional field reports by Tony Ward,  click herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/03/20/field-report-sony-rx100-v/

 

Rongrong Liu: A Macro View of Utensils

 

Photography, Text and Video by Rongrong Liu, Copyright 2018

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A Macro View of Utensils

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As a foodie for years, my approach to this still life assignment started with the thought of taking pictures of food settings. However, an insufficiency of tableware at home, I shifted my focus to emphasize the auxiliary but inseparable tools, utensils.

Sometimes under the lightsource, the highlight on the edges of spoons can cast a shiny half-eclipse reflection on the table so beautifully that I decided to utilize the reflective property of metals. I began with a single spoon and fork with a black background, but the lonely shadow turned out to be dull, hence I added more and more of them until they  overlapped.  Under the macro lense, with an f-stop at 2.8, the utensils have an abstract look.  It is my first attempt at macro lens photography, and it is the first time I realized the life philosophy “how things look depend on how you look at it” can apply to this series, literally.  The abstraction attracted me so much, that I made use of this look to shoot knives and a kitchen strainer.  At first glance, it might be hard to see what they are, but once I added a title to the series, the riddle was solved.

I hardly ever took any still life pictures before because I used to think still life is still, everyone at the same spot I am standing can take exactly the same photo, but the one thing I missed is composition. It is true that you can frame a photo with the same still objects, but these ordinary objects that we take for granted can be more than interesting if you actually look “into” them. How things look depend on how you look at it. It’s all about a point of view.

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About The Author: Rongrong Liu is a Junior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Rongrong Liu, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/rongrong-liu-looking-at-photographs/

 

Picture of the Day: Matera, Italy

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Photo: Luca Pioltelli, Copyright 2018
 

 

Photography and Text by Luca Pioltelli, Copyright 2018

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MATERA, ITALY

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Known as “la Citta Sotterranea” (the Subterranean City), Matera is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, having been inhabited since the 10th millennium BC.  Its historical center “Sassi”, is considered a World Heritage Site UNESCO since 1993.

On September 21, 1943, the Materani rose against the German occupation, the first Italian city to fight against the Nazis.

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Self Portrait by Luca Pioltelli, Copyright 2018

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About The Photographer: 

Born and raised in Milan , Italy, where, in the mythical eighties, he decided to give his body and soul to one of his favorite hobbies : ….. soccer.
Unfortunately , legs and talent, not as powerful as his unbridled passion, force him to look into other directions: …Luca pretty soon lands on another love , photography.

He moves to New York in 1991 where he starts working with some of the great names in the business : Fabrizio Ferri, Steven Klein and Paolo Roversi.
He considers himself a very lucky man:
Luca lives in a city he loves, he loves his wife ( two kids ) who live with him in Brooklyn, New York. He makes a living out of a job he loves …

His hobbies: movies, interior design, history books, art , museum visits… while sometimes , inevitably , he still puts on his soccer shoes…

He has been published in several International Magazines such as : AD Germany, German Vogue , l’Uomo Vogue , Casa Vogue, Italian Marie Claire,
The New York Times while collaborating with prestigious
Architectural Firms and gifted Designers.

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You can follow his work on his instagram account : @lucapioltelli
or check his website herehttp://lucapioltelli.com