Category Archives: Fashion

Rachel Grand: Eating the Forbidden Fruit

Photography by Rachel Grand, Copyright 2021
 

Photography and Text by Rachel Grand, Copyright 2021

.

Eating the Forbidden Fruit

.

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.

.

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

Katie Kerl: Thirty Seven – The Power of Enlightenment

 

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. 

Thanks fellas!!

.

.

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

.

Photographs of Katie Kerl by Frank Siegel, Copyright 2021

Email: fsiegel@comcast.net

Instagram: nikonfrank2807

.

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

Interview: Riza Oliva

Self Portrait by Riza Oliva, Copyright 2021
 

Text and Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

.

Riza Oliva: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

.

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. 

.

Photography by Oliva Reza, Copyright 2021

.

 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. 

.

Photo: Reza Oliva, Copyright 2021

.

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!

.

.

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

.

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

.

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

 

 

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

.

The Importance of Looking Back

.

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.

.

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

 

Andrea Blanco: Gianni Versace a Seductive Mind

Gianni Versace a Seductive mind by Andrea Blanco
 

Text by Andrea Blanco, Copyright 2021

.

Gianni Versace a Seductive Mind

.

Gianni Versace was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy in 1945, the son of a dressmaker is why Gianni became interested in fashion at an early age. He spent a lot of time in her workshop learning the craft from his mom while developing a talent for drawing fashion figures with a charcoal marker. He was very interested in art and poetry during his youth.

Gianni was always a familiar person and from a young age his muse and main inspiration was his sister, Donatella. The relationship between them was very close and they have a multitude of stories to tell about their lives together. In fact it was Gianni at just 11 years old who convinced his sister to dye her hair blonde due to her fanaticism for Patty Pravo, a famous  Italian singer.

Gianni’s career in the world of fashion began in 1976 with designs made for his own sister, after having worked for
various companies in the sector. With the help of his brother Santo, he decided to create his own brand with the symbol of the medusa as the company logo. Gianni had a great interest in classical culture, therefore, this mythological character that represents strength, power, and to ward off evil was the perfect logo for his firm.

Art has always been an important part of Gianni’s life. During his lifetime he collected some classics including Degas and Modigliani. He also enjoyed the work of contemporary artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In the fashion world, Yves Saint Laurent was a steady influence.

With respect to Pop Art, Andy Warhol played with the idea of producing images of Campbell’s soup or icons like Marilyn Monroe and turning them into works of art.  In the same way, Versace influenced by Warhol designed garments stamped with the image of Marilyn Monroe have become unique pieces.  Allessandra Fanari, a teacher at the L’institut Marangoni in Paris says, “when we talk about art the concept is more important than the object itself. If you change the context of an object you turn it into something different, into art itself.”

Thanks to Gianni’s great knowledge of the history of art, he was able to combine opposing styles giving rise to extravagant and unique designs.  In addition, he was passionate about the Baroque period, its forms, extraordinary flair and style.  Versace knew how to see art, appreciate it and express it through his designs as a way to show the world beauty.

He is considered one of the first designers who related fashion and music by collaborating  with good friends such as Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Madonna.  Those collaborations brought him great prestige and notoriety on the international stage, getting music and Hollywood celebrities to start looking towards him in the early 1990s to design costumes for their performances and movies. Gianni brought the rock concerts to his catwalks and made fashion shows popular in different sectors by using actors, movie stars and singers as his models.

At the beginning of the nineties, Gianni Versace put together all the top models of the moment on the same catwalk, an action that changed the history of fashion, since until then super models were reserved for magazines.

Under his motto “I don’t have time for the boring monotony of good taste” he combined leather, lace and metal to fill Haute Couture with sensuality and a move away from minimalism with a strong brand identity recognized for its extensive use of color and extravagant prints.

There are many reasons for Gianni Versace’s lasting success. According to Tony Ward,  currently a visiting Instructor of Fine Arts at Haverford College and former lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, “one of them is that he was one of the first fashion designers to reveal his sexuality. It was a risky decision because many in his field thought that he would alienate his client base, however that was simply not the case.” In addition, “Versace differed from most fashion houses because Gianni believed in running a family business and that was one of the keys that allowed the brand to continue with success after his death in 1997.” On the other hand, Ward considers that the way Versace combined fabrics with bold color, graphics and modernist design was the work of his genius.

.

Portrait of Bryan Abrams by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

.

For some mega fans like Bryan Abrams, a prolific collector of Versace since meeting the designer in 1982, spoke at the University of Pennsylvania about his Versace collection during one of professor Ward’s fashion classes. Bryan has collected exclusive and unique pieces for years, because he states, “wearing Versace is completely different from any other brand. Gianni created a completely new way of looking at fashion.  His colors and vibrancy are like no other fashion house. When you wear Versace, you stand out!”

.

Portrait of Andrea Blanco

.

About The Author:

Andrea Blanco is studying for a masters degree specializing in fashion communication and marketing in Barreira A+D, Valencia (Spain).  “I studied this because I love fashion and everything in this world and I like to learn more about fashion and art, fashion and music, history…. Moreover I like to be up on the latest trends. Someday I would like to work in fashion communications and share my passion for fashion with the world.”