Category Archives: Erotica

Photography by Rachel Grand, Copyright 2021

 

Photography and Text by Rachel Grand, Copyright 2021

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Eating the Forbidden Fruit

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In this composite portrait, I play with the notions of the abject and how it can play with the traditions and experience of Bryn Mawr College. I create a narrative that dramatizes the transformation of going to a women’s college. Many love it here, many can’t wait to graduate, but most will agree that this place is special. Living and learning among these somber, stone castle-like buildings reminds its students of its identity.

In each student’s freshman year, they are given a lantern during the ceremony that signifies the passing of wisdom. In my portrait, the figure with the donkey head acts as the physical embodiment of a mystical bearer of knowledge, shining the light of the iconic Bryn Mawr lantern and giving the forbidden fruit, like that of the tree of life, to its new student. The construction of other figures in the frame is inspired by princess and purity culture. The strappy white dress, instead of signifying sexual virginity, signifies informational virginity. She willingly approaches the donkey figure because she wants to know more.

Once she eats the forbidden fruit, and begins to gain knowledge herself, she maintains her corporeal beauty, but becomes one of the abject with the head of a frog. She lies like a corpse, having now understood the world, and her place in it. With her women’s college education, she is too smart to be attractive, as shown by her frog head. She mourns herself because she understands that society will never truly let her rise to her full potential. Her dress remains unchanged as a reminder of the implications of her physicality as a woman, despite her animal head. 

As a second semester senior, thinking about what I have learned here, and where I will go next, this series plays with those anxieties.

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About The Author: Rachel Grand is a senior enrolled at Bryn Mawr College majoring in Fine Arts and History. Class of 2021.

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Environment, Fashion, Film, Glamour, Haverford College, lifestyle, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Women

Sharon Wang: Love is a Decision

Photography by Sharon Wang, Copyright 2021

Photography and Text by Sharon Wang, Copyright 2021

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Love is a Decision

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“Ah, Moon – and Star!

You are very far – 

But were no one

Farther than you –

Do you think I’d stop

For a firmament

Or a Cubit – or so?”

The decision to love is never an easy one to make. It is a mutual commitment from each person that chooses to be in love. The story in this series exhibits a girl who is deeply in love. The setting is my room, where all my emotions are witnessed. 

Just by looking at the Polaroids on the wall saturates the room with the smell of sweets, the sound of laughter and the sensation of rising adrenaline. Love offers us the highest highs and it is the energy that gets people through the tedious work. It is the happy annoyance of choosing what to wear for a date. However, love is also a poison.

There is no way for two individuals to share the completely same emotions, and that is when miscommunication and disconnection comes into play. The sadness and disappointment that accompanies the fact that some of our love is not being echoed compels the individual to do silly things — like talking to stuffed animals, wondering what they are thinking, or using substances. Love sometimes loops us into despair. However, the only antidote of love is love itself. It is a touch, a kiss and being in the vicinity of the person on your mind.

After all, love is a decision that we make. It is a fancy trap that lures everyone that falls for it to enter the swirl of every possible feeling, but hey, it is love.

“But, Moon, and Star,

Though you’re very far –

There is one – farther than you – 

He – is more than firmament – from Me – 

So I can never go!”

— Poem by Emily Dickson, #240

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About The Author:  Sharon Wang is a sophomore enrolled at Haverford College, Haverford, Pa.

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Environment, Film, Haverford College, Health Care, lifestyle, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Travel, Video, Women

Mikala Mikrut: Hot Thoughts with Hot Thots

Text by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2021 

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Hot Thoughts with Hot Thots

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Change has been one of the few constants in many people’s lives, myself included, as of late. Over the past year I: graduated college early, got two part time jobs, and obsessed over avoiding the virus that has consumed not only a staggering amount of lives, but our media and thoughts daily. Over the past month I: started a podcast with one of my best friends, quit one of my jobs to get a full time one, and was a passenger in a rear-ending car crash. All that to say, I’ve had to learn to not only be okay with change, but comfortable with it. Yes of course there is so much to fear in our world as we know it today, but there is still so much to look forward to. And while it may not feel like it at times, we are still in control. In fact, these turbulent times may be the best opportunity to initiate the change you’ve been craving rather than sitting back and letting the universe have the only say in how your today is any different from your yesterday.

Yesterday I chose, last minute, to spend some time running errands with my podcast cohost, Sabrina. Our new creation and bundle of joy (yes, the podcast) is called Hot Thoughts with Hot Thots, and it all started with a drink. Sabrina and I were sitting at a table in the courtyard of The Velveteen Rabbit, a bar in Las Vegas, feeling sorry for ourselves that we apparently chose to sit next to the heater that was only for decoration. We laughed over our recent turmoils, tried to make one another feel better, then landed on how proud we were of our friends who have started businesses and hobbies to keep themselves busy and creative…Well that sort of turned into complaining about acquaintances who seemed to be getting attention for things that Sabrina and I felt we could excel in. One of those things, happened to be podcasting. For years, we would stop mid laughing fit to ask ourselves why we didn’t have our own reality television show as we find ourselves to be quite the comedians.

Well this comedian stopped sipping her fruity, pink, sugar-rimmed cocktail when Sabrina asked, “Why don’t we start our own podcast?” When I back-handedly said “good for” the podcasting acquaintance, I didn’t actually think we would start a conversation on creating a platform for ourselves to prove we could do it better. We decided to talk about what we love most, our opinions. And while we always enjoy each other’s advice and quips, we were pleasantly surprised by the support of our friends from coming up with the name to the amount of listeners. We received over 100 listens before we even released a third episode! In our episodes, Sabrina and I ask each other a question, answer a couple questions sent in by listeners, and then ask the listeners a question for them to answer in the next episode. With such a simple formula, we thought it would give us plenty of room to be creative and hopefully stay fresh long enough to keep our current following as well as generate more listeners in the future.

This small change we made in our lives, to record a 30 minute podcast about once a week, has given both me and Sabrina something to look forward to. We talk to each other that much anyway, but the fact that other people want to listen to and support those conversations make us feel appreciated in a way we’ve never felt before. This past year has been so isolating that I finally understand the craze of YouTubers and why someone would watch a person they’ve never met simply play a video game. It’s not connecting in the same way our parents taught us, through hugs and play and being together. This type of connection touches you in a different way, it’s hearing your thoughts come out of someone else’s mouth or finding out that you’re not alone with your questions or problems. While we may not know all of our listeners personally, we feel the support, love, and understanding of each one. People are asking us questions that not only allow us to share the things we have been waiting to say out loud, but also ones that challenge our thoughts and what we say and have said.

So while change can be scary at times, it may be invigorating to respond to life’s unexpected changes by making a change all on your own. Buy that house, move to that state, date the guy, get to know the girl. Whatever change you have been debating, its outcomes may pleasantly surprise you. If you’re scared, go ahead and think about that worst possible outcome and then ask yourself, “Would I be able to handle that?” Because if the answer is yes, what is holding you back? An “oh well” is always more fun than a “what if?” In my opinion at least. Moral of the story: do the thing. You already have at least one supporter, me.

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FIRST THREE PODCASTS:

1.Bleached Thongs and Lady Songs

 

2. Better off Alone and Australian Moans

3. Save Your Money and Be Happy Honey

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About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a recent graduate of Southern Utah University. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/mckayla-mikrut-impeachment/

Also posted in Affiliates, Announcements, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Health Care, interview, Media, News, podcast, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Women

Interview: Riza Oliva

Self Portrait by Riza Oliva, Copyright 2021

 

Text and Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

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Riza Oliva: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

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We are one year into a devastating pandemic in this country, and everything is changing. Instead of doing my own recap I decided to start promoting women empowerment. Not meaning being a feminist; In waking up to your true potential and building together. When we collaborate, anything is possible.

We have a woman vice president! Your opinion if she should be there is irrelevant. The drive, determination, and hustle were there. No one can deny her of that! The day of the mean girl, and attacking others you are jealous of; is over. I cannot tell you how unattractive and embarrassing that is to watch. If you are that girl work out your  insecurities and stop worrying about everyone else. Trust me, you just might start to like yourself.

More and more I am noticing the rise in female entrepreneurs who are going away from the traditional 9-5, or even dating for that matter. Prioritizing themselves over just claiming ownership of their partners/previous employers’ status. 

Social media has become a place to network and build your community. It is where I have found many of the interesting people I have interviewed. Instagram, Tik Tok, and Club House are all excellent avenues in the day of distance. 

This time I happened to come across a woman named Riza Oliva. She is a highly creative photographer and brings whatever concept she comes up with to life. Not only does she manage being a woman in business, but she is also a mother & partner as well. Riza seems to be balancing it all while never giving up on her dreams! 

You can have it all when you structure your life for your goals. 

The photo that caught my attention was Alice in Wonderland themed. If you know me, it is my thing. That landed me on her Instagram page only to find photo after photo of fierce women in well thought out outfits with themed back drops. 

Riza’s range is why I see her being able to scale the way she is with multiple studios. From glamour maternity, baby’s first birthday, couples, erotic, music video recording/editing, and gorgeous women of color.

She just so happened to have one of her studios in my parent’s area in Delaware County, and soon to be a second in Ohio.

Before I messaged Riza I watched her stories to see what she was putting out there. I noticed she was posting a lot of things about women supporting women, and that is what sparked me to ask for the interview. 

Building a community of likeminded woman hustlers doing alternative things.

There are many empowering women groups in the area. They can be great, but a lot of them that are your cookie cutter wellness based, or self-improvement sort of talks. I want to see the women going against the grain. Break the cycle of thinking you belong in one category and take it all on. Riza does that in almost everything she does. 

I hope some of her life will inspire more females to take on their dreams despite other opinions. 

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Photography by Oliva Reza, Copyright 2021

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 Interview Q&A: 

Name: Riza Oliva

Industry name: Riza

Age: 32

Hometown: Cebu, Philippines 

Current city: Philadelphia, PA

 

KK– Were your career choices accepted as you got older having an alternative to a 9-5? 

RO– No, unfortunately not. Not too many people were supportive when I decided to get into modeling. It was outside of the “norm” for my family and it went against my family values. 

KK– Has that been easy to overcome?  

RO– It was hard at first. When you do not have many people supporting your goals and ambitions, it almost makes you feel alone in the journey. It made me stronger as a person and the value of believing in yourself. 

KK– Are you single or involved? Is your partner supportive of your lifestyle if so? 

RO– I am involved, my partner is a photographer, so he is incredibly supportive in everything that I do. He has taught me many things in the photography world and we both have grown together in our careers. 

KK– Do you have children?

OR– Yes, I have one son.

KK– Were you ever judged for working a lot and being a mother?

OR– Yes, I had my son during the end of my senior year of high school. I walked at my graduation ceremony just a week after giving birth. Growing up with a child and trying to find yourself at the same time was very hard. I worked a lot but also was lost at times trying to figure out who I was as a person. I tried my best to be the greatest mother I could be. People who did not understand judged me a lot. I think people did not understand until they had to grow up and go through the situations I went through.

KK– How can we change that zone of heavy judgment? 

OR– I think people need to be more open minded. Women are expected to do a lot, become providers while being a mom along with going through life’s challenges. It is hard and I believe people are judgmental because they have never gone through it. We must stop judging one another and instead, praise one another for what we have accomplished. 

KK– What are your hobbies outside of your job? 

OR- I enjoy playing flag football, watching movies/shows, and traveling. My work feels like a hobby at times

KK– Did you attend college?

OR– Yes, I graduated from Temple University.

KK– What was your degree in?

OR– I have a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management.

KK– Do you have any other certifications, or academic achievements that helped you along the way? 

OR– Cosmetology license, Honors Society: Phi Theta Kappa

KK– How old were you when you discovered your talent for photography and editing? 

OR– I grew up in the AIM/AOL era. I would say around 13 years old. I loved being on my computer 24/7 and would use photoshop to edit background/templates for personal pages and other people’s pages. My dad is really into technology and he purchased this Sony camera which I started borrowing. I would take pictures of myself, my family members and then my friends. They wanted photos for their myspace profiles so they would ask me to take them. I ended up purchasing my own camera and would bring it everywhere. I would be the “event” photographer to many of my family events. I still have these photos uploaded on my Facebook and I believe I still have my first camera that I owned somewhere at home. 

KK– When did you decide you wanted to be an entrepreneur? 

OR– I have always enjoyed learning and using my skills and what I have learned to create and perfect. I used to create and sell many things like cakes, gift baskets, t-shirts, etc. I didn’t apply my knowledge and my love to create until I started modeling. I realized as a model that I could help grow other businesses including my own. There’s such an importance of being an “influencer” in today’s market and there’s so much potential in helping not just my own brand but other businesses/brands around me. I think I was blessed to meet many people who were on the same path as me in the business aspect who have taught me their world and they really believed in my worth. 

KK– What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve that being a woman in business? 

OR– They have that saying that it is a man’s world, well, I grew up always being around men. I was taught that I could not do things my boy cousins were doing because I was a woman, so it has always stuck to me to “prove them wrong”. I did not understand why there were boundaries between me and my cousin, so I made sure to be the over achiever.  I never noticed that I was always the “only female” in the group so growing up, I had to make sure the men around me took me seriously. I had to prove my worth as a business woman and make sure my work spoke for itself. Many of my close friends are men and they respect me a lot. 

KK– What current Business/ businesses are you involved with? 

OR– I currently co-own a studio in Drexel Hill, PA called Lokahi Photography studio and we just opened a 2nd studio in Columbus, OH called Hustle House Studio.

KK– Being in the entertainment industry; what is it like working with mostly men? 

OR– Being in the entertainment industry with mostly men means that you have to make sure you set boundaries. You must make sure that they understand that it is all business and not pleasure. I made sure to not work with people who I believe may take advantage of me. 

KK– The pressure to be pretty in that world is heavy. Have you had any plastic surgeries and are you happy with them?

OR– Yes, only one but I had it prior to modeling. Yes, I think it gave me some self-confidence.

KK– How can we normalize accepting women’s choices that do so? 

OR– I think with this day and age, plastic surgery has become so much more common, in both men and women. It is more accepting and almost normal.

KK– Do you find respect is an easy thing to achieve in your area(s) of work?

OR– No, I think respect always has to be earned no matter what industry you are in. 

KK– What do you do to overcome stress? 

OR– I usually travel to overcome stress. I call it my refresh button. It helps me reflect outside of my surroundings and gives me a clearer mind.

KK– Do you have a wellness routine?

OR– Yes, I usually go to the gym and drink a lot of water. 

KK– Your photos are so creative, how do you come up with concepts for shoots? 

OR– I watch a lot of movies, shows and go to museums. Once I think of the idea, I find images and put together a mood board. 

KK– Best and worst filming/shooting moments? 

OR– My worst moment would be having someone smack my butt. I never worked with the photographer again. I have so many great moments that I don’t think I could choose which one is my best.

KK– What camera and editing programs are you currently using? 

OR– I am currently a Canon user and mostly use photoshop for editing.

KK– Are you currently happy with your endeavors?

OR– Yes, but there is always room to grow and achieve other goals.

KK– What are your goals for the future?

OR– To be happy, and to hopefully open more businesses so I can quit my day job. I also want to retire young.

KK– Do you invest in the stock market, crypto, or real estate? 

OR– Yes, I recently started investing in stocks during covid.

KK– What tips would you give women just starting on their road to entrepreneurship?

OR- You can achieve whatever your heart desires. I always believe that you are your biggest obstacle so do not ever be afraid to take the leap. Also, you are your biggest motivation and support so do not look to other people for this or you will give up easily. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, you can go far in life. Also, always plan, brainstorm, and continue learning.

KK– Lastly, how can we spread positivity and support to other women trying to rise-up as well?

OR– I believe we must be there for one another and be able to give advice when we can. Knowledge is power, so helping others grow is always the key. We also have to learn to be happy for each other’s achievements instead of hating on them. 

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Photo: Reza Oliva, Copyright 2021

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Riza is in the process of acclimating to her Ohio studio, Hustle House. This was something she had not intended to do. One of the investors backed out and Riza saw an opportunity to expand what she was already doing here  in a different state and dove right in. 

When I sent Riza this long E- mail of questions; I did so because they are the questions holding most women back from starting. I did not expect her answers to be like how I started writing a year and a half ago. Modeling for Tony has led me on my own journey of self-discovery in a world that typically has judged women since the beginning of time. No negative opinions have stopped me. I started here, and now it is taking me places that I was hoping for. Meeting likeminded individuals that want to create and grow together.  Until you start talking to new groups of people and understanding them; your circle and life is not going to grow outside of your comfort zone. 

Ladies let’s start stepping outside of the box together!

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Riza’s contact and social Media Links:

www.RizaOvi.com

Instagram: @O.Riza

Hustle House 614

4430 Westerville Rd

Columbus, OH 43231

www.hustlehouse614.com

Instagram:@HustleHouse.Studio

Instagram: @HustleHouse614

Lokahi Photography Studio

4043 Garrett Rd

Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Instagram: @Lokahi.Photography.Studio

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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.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click herehttps://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-the-ascension/

 

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Jewelry, lifestyle, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Video, Women

Light Table: The Importance of Looking Back

Jennifer. Old City Rooftop, Philadelphia 2009. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

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The Importance of Looking Back

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Photographers are always searching for the next shot,  especially if they are working in fashion. A new model brings a new thrill with the hope that the next picture will be the best in an ongoing process of creating something new.

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March of 2020 I haven’t taken a new picture that was worthy of cataloging.  That is the longest stretch of inactivity I can recall in my career as a professional photographer since I started producing images for a living in 1980. 

Over the past 12 months I’ve looked back at the contact prints and digital files of countless photographs taken over the past 41 years and found previously unedited pictures that brought me much pleasure and satisfaction. I often tell my photography students how photographers can miss a meaningful photograph from a shoot because we often times produce a new shoot with certain expectations of what we think the newest picture should like like. In the case of the above photo of model Jennifer Grabel Rooney, I hardly noticed this picture 11 years ago when it was taken. However,  just a couple of days ago after looking again very carefully at each image taken that day, I began to see a new image emerge on my computer screen that was lying dormant for over a decade.

A photograph is one of those art forms that can be transformational when a picture is edited in Photoshop.  Ideally, as a photographer matures and evolves he or she learns more tools to edit a photograph that previously may have not been part of the image makers play book.  That was the case with this recent edit of Jennifer’s sitting from 2009. I continue to enjoy practicing and learn new editing techniques to bring previously overlooked photos to life.

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To access previous articles on photography by Tony Ward, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/ride-to-atlantic_city/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Fashion, Glamour, History, lifestyle, Light Table, Models, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women