Photography and Text by Aaron Graybill, Copyright 2021
Merion Botanical Park 2021
Waiting for time to pass is the feeling of quarantine. Waiting for good or bad news and waiting for days to pass. Nature can both accentuate or soften the passage of time. Leafless trees in winter make time feel static, but new blooms bring a feeling of renewal.
The Merion Botanical Park series was created to capture the anachrony of the quarantine experience. This takes a normally familiar scene, a public park, and magnifies its details to recontextualize the park experience and offers a refreshing look into the beauty in the austerity that late winer is known for.
The portfolio juxtaposes life and death, takes the big picture and the small details, and acknowledges that focus must be selective.
About The Author: Aaron Graybill is a junior enrolled at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania. Majoring in Economics. To access additional articles by Aaron, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/tenant_farmers_wife_exploration/
Photography and Text by Rachel Grand, Copyright 2021
Pandemic Passover in Pennsylvania
Passover is one of the most important and widely celebrated Jewish holidays. It is a holiday that commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt: out of slavery, into freedom. It is an 8-day holiday centered around gratitude for that freedom.
As part of the exodus story, when the Israelites were fleeing from Egypt, they did not have enough time for their bread to rise. They had to take it with them from the oven while it was still unleavened. To remember this, as part of the observance of Passover, one does not eat any leavened bread. Rather, one is commanded to eat what the Israelites would have eaten, matzah, the unleavened bread, at least once a day for the duration of the holiday. Additionally, Ashkenazi Jews, those descended from Eastern European Jewry, traditionally do not eat rice, beans, corn or any other legumes. With so many restricted foods, it becomes necessary to be extremely intentional about what one eats.
Thus, Passover becomes a holiday centered around food. A holiday celebrated at home, rather than in a synagogue, there is autonomy, variety and creativity in how this holiday is observed. This indeterminacy is especially pronounced on a college campus, where each student comes from a different background and family tradition. The community that is created is thus intentional, formed from compromise.
Especially in a year of a pandemic, this holiday brings out the durability of the community. Because of the dietary laws, the Jewish organizations on campus provide meals for students that are kosher for Passover. This act of eating meals together, while maintaining social distance, creates a temporary, yet powerful space. In a time of pandemic induced social isolation, there is a newfound appreciation for these communal meals. But Passover comes and goes; the restrictions and alterations to the routine only last 8 days. The special dishes and foods for this holiday must be put away and all is restored back to normal. In a year, it will begin again.
About The Author: Rachel Grand is a senior enrolled at Bryn Mawr College majoring in Fine Arts and History. Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Rachel Grand, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/eating-the-forbidden-fruit/
Photography and Text by Abby Harris, Copyright 2021
Happier Than Ever
I wanted to create a piece about music and how it can change, effect, and help you feel emotions. Music is there for us when we have our highest highs and our lowest lows, when we are in love and when we are heart broken. When I was going through a hard time in my life I purchased this pair of headphones to try and make myself feel better. Music has helped me through so many things in my life. When everything else felt like it was falling down around me I knew I could just lay on my floor and listen to my favorite song on repeat and it would be okay for a second. The headphones pictured in the shoot are the ones I purchased as a retail therapy present to myself. These headphones have let me experience music in a way that I didn’t think was possible. You can feel every note and hear every layer. In this piece I hear three different songs playing, each with a different mood. One of the songs I hear is “When The Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. When I listen to it I just want to curl into a ball on the floor and experience my emotions. This is partly why I had the idea to do the photoshoot from above. The other two songs that inspired this piece are “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish and “American Cliche” by FINNEAS. “Happier Than Ever” tells the story about being in a relationship with someone, yet when you are together you are both hurt, and when you are apart you are happier. The song painted such a picture in my head I wanted to portray it on film. “American Cliche” is a song that makes me wanna dance around my bedroom all by myself, so I had to include it for good vibes. Overall I wanted people to see how I feel about music and feel their own emotions about music through the images.
About The Author: Abby Harris is a sophomore enrolled at Bryn Mawr College, Class of 2023.
Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021
Thirty Seven: The Power of Enlightenment
Lying in bed recovering from a long birthday week in Miami. This year I took a different approach to the trip. I reserved two days for myself at Hotel Victor in South beach. Let me tell you what a hidden gem this 4.3 star Hotel and Spa is. I picked a pool side room that had two chaises, teak cabana out of my bedside door, and the breakfast to go with it.
Upon arriving walking into the lobby, I immediately noticed some of the best musical talent lining the walls. Biggie Smalls, Madonna, Prince, Bob Marley, and one piece that said, “waiting for change”. That is exactly what we have been doing this year, and our entire lives. To say I was pleased was an understatement. The friendly welcoming staff was great. There were bikes to ride up and down Ocean Drive, MAC computer stations if you needed to work while there, gym, and spa.
The K’alma Spa which happens to be located on the bottom level of the hotel was quite the experience. I immediately went down to book a massage. I chose the 90-minute massage and meditation package. K’alma happened to be a crystal healing spa as well. Upon arrival you walk into a gemstone lined hallway and are asked to sit under one that spoke to you. I just so happened to choose the rose quartz which happened to mean eternal love. It purifies and opens the heart to promote healing and inner peace. I felt like I made the prefect decision. The massage melted the year filled with pandemic, cancer, and losses right off me. The meditation room and large lounge chairs and hanging bird cage seats as well. The staff was so kind and informative. They have a second location in Chicago as well. I will absolutely be be headed back there.
I walked Ocean drive and met lots of new people who were likeminded about life. I ate at Café Americano located in the hotel. They offered 20 % off for their guests. I thought this was going to be basic being they were handing out discounts. I stood corrected; I highly suggest it with all the gimmicky spots on Ocean Drive. I had the snapper, and the whole fish the next night with complimenting blueberry lemon drops; which my waiter kept flowing.
Joia Beach is my absolute new favorite beach club. All bamboo, rattan, live edge seating/tables lining Parrot jungle. The servers are all nice and gorgeous. The cocktails were amazing, and their happy hour is 4-6 Mon-Fri. We had the hummus and a few orders of the grilled octopus. Filled with the who’s who of Miami. Friday nights if your lucky to get a dinner table they have a DJ, fire throwers, and little boutique shops straight out of boho heaven.
We checked out Papi Steak as well. It is a part of Groot Hospitality. We had a surf and turf meal. Aged rib eye, lobster tail, branzino, truffle butter, the asparagus and mushrooms. They brought out a real gold flecked cherry cheesecake at the end that said Happy Birthday. Papi Steak also shows an Alec Monopoly piece located in the middle of the dining room; Alec is a famous graffiti artist. The restaurant Is family friendly and saw many happy kids. The cocktails were even better. While the waiters boasted double breasted jackets; the dress code vibe was Miami luxury streetstyle. I would absolutely go back there.
This really made me appreciate how far I have come this year. Everything I did by myself went seamlessly and better than my expectations. No one next to me on my flights, barley spent any money in certain places, getting let into table only events, and sliding into Dance floor at Space Park that we just so happened to be guest listed on; thanks to a friend.
We also hit Tree House and Space Miami for Solomun. One of my favorite techno DJ’s.
This week also happened to be one of the girls 40th as well.
Let me tell you; life is a trip with how this week ended.
The Airbnb they rented was made for a party house. All Miami themed rooms, outdoor graffiti art, and pool table which ended up being the DJ set up instead.
Thirty-three people, three tables, and $9700 later Space music never disappoints.
Although, when you find yourself at these events there is always the one completely out of control person who just never seemed to grow up mentally. Now, I’m standing there realizing this in a night club and thinking to myself, “thank you god I do not solve my problems by partying anymore.” It made a friend look so ugly to me. I had it with the weirdness and popped up on the raised area and shook it off dancing for a bit realizing I made every right decision for myself this year. A week in Miami was not going to change that. I got to see a few people I had not in years who ended up being even nicer the more I talked to them.
The last day kind of just made me feel sorry for the person who upset almost 30 people being selfish and not dealing with their real-life issues. Letting someone know their actions were inexcusable was one of the most eye opening, and sad things I have had to do in a long time. We all go though it. It is the effort it takes to put your bruised ego aside and save your friendships before you have none left. Another point I tried to make before leaving; own you mistakes to keep people in your life.
If there is a consistency to your issues and multiple people have brought it to your attention.
It is you, not everyone else.
When do you decide to do the work and become self-aware?
All in all, outside of a few strange hours I had an amazing week of self-discovery.
I am coming home for a Photo shoot for my latest interview.
It is about empowering women entrepreneurs who are doing alternative things, while still having it all.
I hope to do many more of these with the laundry list of things that stop women from starting.
Crypto is up from my latest piece. I am overjoyed I took the leap and jumped in. Now I am looking into NFT’s which is art built on digital block chain on the Ethereum network. As of 3:33am march 31st Ethereum is at $1851. I also picked up cardano, polka dot, chainlink , Vechain, cosmos, and uniswap. This is by no means financial advice, but everyone needs to be waking up to the bigger picture. Financially, cultural equality, environmental changes, and the way we interact with people.
This weekend case in point.
We have all been through enough this year.
It is time to take a step back and all become better in order to be happy.
You are not finding that in a club or sitting doing the same bullshit you have been for decades.
Once you realize your true potential and power no one can say anything to you.
You have fuck you power. Which hopefully follows with fuck you money.
Men have been saying fuck bitches get money for decades.
Now we are just taking your advice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached on Instagram @kerlupwithkate
For collaboration e-mail: Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs of Katie Kerl by Frank Siegel, Copyright 2021
To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click here: https://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-the-ascension/