Pat Cleveland: Legend of Fashion Modeling

Fashion model icon Pat Cleveland with star photographer Tony Ward
Fashion icon Pat Cleveland with Tony Ward. Photo: Paul  van Ravenstein  Copyright 2022

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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Pat Cleveland: Legend of Fashion Modeling

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I first came to know about Pat Cleveland in the mid 1970’s when I was a graduate student at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  I saw some of her earliest published photos in fashion magazines and noticed right away something unusual about her pictures.  Pat was one of the earliest models of color to be published prominently in a major fashion magazine.  Pat, Grace Jones and Beverly Johnson broke the glass ceiling for being the first women of color  to be recognized for their natural beauty.  Needless to say, Pat was more curvaceous than the standard white female model because of her exotic mix of both Irish and African American blood.  She opened the door for lots of other women to explore the world of fashion and runway modeling. Iman and Naomi Campbell owe a debt of gratitude to the legend of Pat Cleveland.

I could relate to her upbringing when I read her memoir Waling With the Muses. I am also of mixed heritage, my mother was Italian and my father was African American.  Pat and I had other similarities as well in that both of  our parents, were artists. Pat’s mother was a painter as well as my dad. There was also the connection to Harlem, Pat was born there, my parents lived there when they got married and stayed for a time until my parent’s moved to Philadelphia in the 1940’s. Pat and I first met at a mutual friends home in Elkins Park, just a few minutes drive to where I was born and raised.  In this picture we were reunited again by our friend Sandra Blumberg, an artist and humanitarian who recently had a reception of her most recent works of art at Beaumont in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  

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To access additional articles by Tony Ward, link herehttps://tonyward.com/tony-ward-diary-happy-hour/

Harvey Finkle: A Legend Amongst Us

Portrait of photojournalist Harvey Finkle of Philadelphia
Harvey Finkle. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Photography and Text by Tony Ward,  Copyright 2022

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Harvey Finkle: A Legend Amongst Us

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I first met Harvey Finkle at The Bean coffee shop on South Street in Philadelphia in the early 1990’s. At that time this particular coffee shop located on the North side of the 600 block of South street was a fixture for artists, photographers, writers and hard core coffee drinkers.

Each morning at around 7:30am a group of friends that lived in the neighborhood assembled to talk shop. The group included Harvey Finkle, Zoey Strauss, Robert Asman, Ed Simmons, Sam Binder, Pat King, Gary McQuitty and others usually sat outside the bean where we drank java and watched the eclectic mix of passersby the neighborhood was famous for.

Harvey and I lived a block a way from each other in Bella Vista, a neighborhood known in Philadelphia for housing a variety of artisans. The proximity to Harvey provided us an opportunity to see each other around the neighborhood and spend time together. I became a regular guest at his exhibitions and he came out to support mine as well. Over the years, we became really good friends. You knew you were in Harvey’s good graces when he invited you down to his shore house or over to watch Monday Night Football with his life long friends.

His 5o years of photographic work is a testament of his compassion for the disadvantaged and downtrodden. His early years working as a sociologist sharpened his cameras eye on immigrant communities as well as political and social activism. 

In recent years Harvey unfortunately started to lose his vision.  A cruel twist of fate given his profession. He’s taken it in stride, by recently donating his collection of photographic archives to his alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania where future generations will learn about the legend that lives amongst us.

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To learn more about Harvey Finkle’s photographic work, link herehttp://www.harveyfinkle.com

Light Table: Frank Kelly Style Icon

Frank Kelly. Philadelphia, 1983
 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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I was looking through the archives recently and came across a photo of Frank Kelly, the man about town who defined mens fashion and style in Philadelphia during the 1970’s and 80’s. Frank was a style icon that I truly admired.  Always dressed to the nines, tall, handsome and seemingly always in a good mood.  He worked as a model between gigs in Philadelphia and New York and eventually became one of the most successful fashion salesman in Philadelphia, where his customers felt they could take  advice from him on what to wear in a boardroom or casually on the street.  He was incredibly charming and charismatic, qualities that defined his ability to sell to a wide range of customers.  Frank worked at various boutiques and eventually finished his career at Burberry’s until his retirement. Frank passed away in 2018 at the age of 79.

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For additional Light Table posts, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/light-table-portrait-of-the-day-2/

 

Picture of the Day: Ike’s Study

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020
 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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Ike’s Study

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I visited Ike Hay at his home on many occasions.  He was a great teacher of art and design at Millersville University where we first met when I was an undergraduate student from 1974 to 1977. I took several classes with him as he was a great teacher of art and design.  Ike’s first love was sculpture, but he had other interests as well.  Ike was a collector of Empire furniture and a significant amount of his scholarship was defined by his love for French culture, especially French antiquities and an emphasis on the history of Napoleon Bonaparte, the great French military leader and emperor of France. Ike’s study was a place where we often chatted about art and also life. He became a lifelong friend and confidant until his untimely passing in 2014 at the age of 69.  When I began the project of a book of Tableaux Vivants,  I selected Ike’s study as one of the nostalgic places I wanted to photograph because of my longstanding friendship with Ike and his family. So one summer day in 1994, I packed up my gear with models in tow and traveled from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he lived with his wife Teri and his daughters Miraya and Mistral. On this particular occasion I decided to shoot in black and white and in color, an unusual departure for me at the time. 

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To see selected works from the book of Tableaux Vivants, click herehttps://tonyward.com/early-work/tableaux-vivants-1993-2000/