Category Archives: Men

Repost: Charles Gatewood Interview

 

Interview and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet Charles Gatewood in person. I was familiar with his subcultural work from his books, magazine assignments, and exhibitions. I admired his anthropologic curiosity and his  significant contributions to the medium of photography and its history. We got to know each other on social media and began corresponding via email until his untimely death on April 29, 2016,  a result of a fall from his third floor apartment in San Francisco. He left several suicide notes.  This is a repost of an interview I conducted with Mr. Gatewood in 2011. His legend continues to live on.

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TW: What do you find most compelling about the medium of Photography?

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CG: I’m a card-carrying voyeur, and my exotic subjects excite me. My camera is a passport to adventure and creative fun. I am my own boss. I have never had a “job.” I travel the world, do whatever I please, photograph famous people, and have kinky sex with beautiful punkettes. ‘Nuff said!

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TW: You have covered a variety of  subject areas in your involvement in Photography.  Which of these subject areas to you find the most compelling and  worthy of further exploration?

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CG: I’ve been photographing almost fifty years, and I’ve covered lots of subjects. Most of my work is about people and behavior, and I’ve spent many years documenting alternative culture in all its ragged glory. My extended photo essays include 60s counterculture, rock and roll (I shot for Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy), the radical sex community, and tattooing, piercing and body art (I helped launch the “new tribalism” movement by sparking the RE/Search book Modern Primitives). I also did lots of traditional photojournalism in the 60s and 70s.

One of my favorite extended photo essays is Wall Street, shot between 1972-1976. This work is more formal, and more about social conditioning, societal control, corporate excess, and fascist architecture. Which subjects do I find most compelling today? Barely-legal girls, ha ha.

TW: How do you think the medium of photography has impacted popular culture at large?

Are you serious?

CG: What was it like to encounter William  S. Burroughs as a subject in your work?

In January, 1972, Rolling Stone sent me and writer Bob Palmer to London to do a feature article on William Burroughs. Talk about a dream assignment. We spent a week with Burroughs, smoked hash, stared into the Dream Machine, played with the E-meter, and dug all Burroughs’ best rants and stories. Rolling Stone liked the story so much they asked me to be their New York photographer.

I shot Burroughs again in NYC, 1975, for Crawdaddy. He and musician Jimmy Page met for tea and chat before a Led Zeppelin concert. I got great shots from that shoot too.

TW: Are you equally compelled to photograph men and women.  If not,  which gender do you prefer to photograph and why?

CG: For most of my career, I’ve photographed everyone. Today, I mostly photograph gorgeous women. Wouldn’t you?

TW: How has photography broadened or defined your view of today’s world?

Like totally!

TW: If you could turn back the hands of time, would you have chosen another profession?

No, no, no. I do enjoy creative writing, but at heart I’m a picture guy.

TW: Describe the feeling of taking a great picture?  What happens at that moment?

CG: Well, for me the creative act is a wonderful high, especially if the subject is exotic or sexy. I go into what I call “magic space.” Psychologists call it “flow.” Athletes call it “being in the zone.” It’s an exhilarating feeling. Time stands still, there is total communion with the subject, and the creative process (right framing, angle, moment) is like a beautiful zen dance. I work it, work it, work it—and suddenly there it is, my shot!

TW: How do you define Photography as Art?

CG: Andy Warhol said, “Art is anything you can get away with.” I agree!

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Erotica, Film, Friends of TWS, History, interview, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel

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/

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Diary, Documentary, Environment, Erotica, Film, Friends of TWS, History, Jewelry, lifestyle, Models, Nudes, Philadelphia, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel, Women

Bob Shell: Taking Offense

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020

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Taking Offense

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I’m somewhat jaded about most current events. I just turned 73, and won’t live long enough to see the longterm outcome of such things as global warming, which may cause the collapse of our social order from the outside, and things like the #MeToo movement that may cause that collapse of that order from the inside. We are in a state of flux right now, redefining the relationships between men and women, in a radicalized culture that confuses both men and women.

Men and women, two sexes, right? I’d like to open your minds to the concept that there are more than just two sexes of humans. In her groundbreaking book, Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men, Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling proposed that there are at least five sexes, men, women, herms, merms, and ferms, and perhaps many more. (I don’t like those names, but I like her ideas.) The famous Greek statue of Hermaphrodite in the Louvre, displayed with its rear to museum visitors, is just one example of a being with both male and female genitals, a classic hermaphrodite like the one photographed by Nadar in Paris in the 19th century. Saying that there are only two sexes is like saying there are only two political parties and ignoring everyone else. And that’s not such a bad comparison. since sexuality has become politicized.

I’ve alienated some people by comparing the #MeToo movement to McCarthyism. The parallels are strong. Senator Joe McCarthy ruined the lives of many people by accusing them of being communists. He and his cronies made the accusations with little or no proof, but in the terror of communism that pervaded American society in the 1950s and 60s, an accusation was enough. People, men and women, lost their jobs, their careers, their homes, their families, over accusations of being “pinkos” or “red.’. It didn’t matter if they’d lived exemplary lives and accomplished much, the accusation of being a communist, or commie sympathizer was enough. The program didn’t end until McCarthy was confronted in public. “Senator McCarthy, have you no shame?” was the final question that disgraced McCarthy and showed him and his followers up for the monsters they were.

Today a person, almost always a man, can lose everything over an accusation of sexual impropriety, no proof required. Now, I’m not defending those who actually mistreated women (or men). I know there are real sexual predators out there, just as there were real communists in McCarthy’s day, some even plotting the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, but they were in the minority, just as I suspect real sexual predators are today.

But, I think we have to draw some lines.

Back in the 1990s I was in NYC with the Shutterbug magazine crew. One night several of us were sitting in the hotel lounge after hours just sipping drinks and chatting, tired from a day at the convention. A young woman who worked for us came over to the sofa where I was sitting, climbed on behind me, and began to massage my shoulders, neck, and back. Was I the victim of an inappropriate sexual advance? I didn’t think so, and enjoyed her attentions. But, what if I hadn’t? Would I have reported her for sexual harassment? Or, if our positions were reversed and I’d started massaging her, would she have taken it as an unwanted sexual advance? This was long before #MeToo, and I just don’t think people were as touchy as they are today.

I wonder if, when I’m eventually released from prison, will I even fit into this radicalized society we’ve created.

I was a victim of #MeToo long before it existed. In 2003 I was accused of sex crimes based on absolutely no evidence. The Commonwealth of Virginia has admitted now, after I’ve spent more than twelve years in prison, that those charges were baseless. They were totally false accusations, yet I lost my job, had my business and life destroyed, and only now is the truth coming out. And I’m still in prison, because I have to fight through the courts to gain my freedom. Once the system gets hold of you, it doesn’t turn loose easily. A conviction becomes a thing unto itself, and the state does not like to admit it screwed up and convicted an innocent person. But, in the last few years, more than 1,500 people have been set free when their convictions were shown to be false, most after serving years in prison. The average time to overturn a false conviction in Virginia is twelve years! That is a travesty. Overturning false convictions ought to be easy, but the prosecutors will fight tooth and nail to keep a person in prison, even when they know a conviction was false.

The job of a prosecutor is to convict the guilty, but not to convict the innocent. So few of them conduct themselves that way. Prosecutors like Mike Nifong, who prosecuted the Duke University soccer team on ridiculous ‘evidence’ seem to be the norm.

One problem is that prosecutors are generally immune from lawsuits, so they are very rarely held accountable for their false prosecutions. They have no incentive to perform properly. I see signs of that changing, and it can’t change fast enough to suit me. Prosecutors who prosecute false cases should be stripped of their immunity and held accountable for their misdeeds.

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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 for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-whats-in-a-name/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Documentary, Erotica, Friends of TWS, History, Politics, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women

Studio News: A Return to Teaching

A Photography Critique at Haverford College. Photo: Dan Burns

 

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

After a two year hiatus from teaching, I have accepted an invitation as visiting instructor of Fine Arts at Haverford College. On December 17th, 2019 my first meeting with photography students took place at the Jane Lutnick Fine Arts Center. My colleague Professor William Williams asked me to join him for a final critique of student work performed during the fall semester. In preparation for lecturing at Haverford I am currently reading, Criticizing Photographs by Terry Barrett. I look forward to the opportunity of teaching a color course with these bright exceptional students at Haverford beginning this month.

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About Tony Ward:

Tony Ward began his professional career in 1980 as a corporate photographer for the pharmaceutical giant, Smithkline Corporation.  After several years of working in the department of corporate communications for Smithkline, he opened the Tony Ward Studio in Philadelphia, to service a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller business entities.

His personal work and research during the past 25 years has been rooted in exploring the visual cross sections of fashion and erotic photography by capturing the impact the sexual revolution of the 1960’s had on advertising and in particular magazine publishing.  His first book of photography, Obsessions with forward by A.D. Coleman was his first attempt at challenging the lines drawn between Art and Obscenity by questioning social mores, existing laws, and the evolution of photographic imagery that is viewed as inappropriate in some cultures and acceptable in others. He is particularly interested in further examining the first amendment right to freedom of expression and the impact censorship has had on the evolution of photography’s history.

To access Tony Ward’s curriculum vitae, click here:https://tonyward.com/about/

 

Also posted in Announcements, Art, Blog, Book Reviews, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Exhibitions, Film, History, lifestyle, News, Philadelphia, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Student Life

Bob Shell: On The Legal Front

Marion in Vegas. Photo: Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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On The Legal Front

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Believe it or not, I stay very busy here, so I hope no one minds these impersonal periodic updates.

On the legal front, which so many of you ask about, progress is slow but certain. On Feb. 1 of this year I filed an Independent Action to Vacate in the Radford Circuit Court seeking to overturn my convictions based on the use of false evidence to convict me. Much to my surprise, the Radford prosecutor did not oppose this action, which, under Virginia law, means he accepts my allegations as true. Of course they’re true! The Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia has said unequivocally that the medical testimony (That Marion was dead when I took my last pictures of her) from the local medical examiner was “Just wrong!” This case is working its way through the courts right now. Another Independent Action on the grounds that they missed my speedy trial deadline by over a year was filed last September, and is also working its way through the courts. Courts are slow!

My other legal effort, to get my precious forest land, my “outdoor studio,” back after it was illegally sold is also moving slowly through the courts. To prevent the persons who now illegally hold my land from altering, selling, subdividing, etc. I have filed what’s called a Lis Pendens in the Floyd County courthouse. This blocks such activity on contested property. I WILL get MY land back, and will build my planned house and studio there when I’m released. I’ve been more upset by the possible loss of my forest, forest sacred to me, than anything in my life. Hardly a night goes by that I don’t have nightmares about this, and my daytime mind is constantly preoccupied with stressful worries about losing my forest and someone destroying it. It’s only a small forest, but it means the world to me.

On other fronts, things have been mixed. My book COSMIC DANCE has been out since April, and has gotten great reviews on Amazon, but without an advertising budget it’s been hard to get the word out, and sales are slow. Virginia prison inmates are forbidden to have Facebook or other social media accounts, a blatantly unconstitutional policy, so I can’t use the obvious promotional vehicles. Low cost/no cost promotional ideas welcome.

My blog that appears at www.TonyWardStudio.com/blog is popular, with many regular readers., and let’s me write about anything. Tony calls me “a natural storyteller.”

I’m also writing now for Prehistoric Times magazine, (www.prehistorictimes.com) about dinosaurs and such, a preoccupation of mine since my teens. It’s been nice to see my name in print again. The VDOC can’t ban us from writing for publication. That old First Amendment stops them, but they would if they could.

On the living conditions/health front, I’ve been back at Pocahontas State Correctional Center (PSCC) since late August. On April 4, 2018 I was shipped off to River North Correctional Center (RNCC), a high security facility built specifically to house gangs. There are no windows in the cells there, and many restrictions. My windows here at PSCC aren’t big, but at least I can see if it’s raining or snowing outside.

I was sent to RNCC due to a “clerical error.” I received a serious charge here in 2017, but the charge was dismissed by the Assistant Warden. Unfortunately for me, whoever was supposed to enter that dismissal into the VDOC’s database failed to do so. My counselor at RNCC fixed the problem, but it took well over a year for me to get back to PSCC, where I’d been since 2009.

When I got back here there was no bed available in the handicapped pod, so I was held in a medical unit holding cell for over a month until a bed opened up there. As many of you know, I suffered a serious stroke in 1991, shortly after becoming Editor of Shutterbug magazine. Due to that stroke, vertigo (I’ve had that since the 1960s), and a bad left knee (torn cartilage), I require a handicapped shower, and was walking with a cane. There’s only one handicapped shower in this whole facility, in the handicapped pod, pod A-1. I was there among old friends, had a great cellmate, and was as happy as it’s possible to be in prison.

On the morning of November 15 it all went to hell. That morning a voice came over the cell intercom, “Shell, pack your stuff. You’re moving to B building.” Sure it was a mistake, I refused to pack and move until the building manager got here, assuming he would straighten it all out. He didn’t. It seemed that the order the doctor wrote saying I require a handicapped shower couldn’t be found. The doctor who told me he wrote it isn’t here anymore, and the doctor who is refuses to write such an order.

On the same morning that I was kicked out of the handicapped pod, they called me to medical, and gave me a McKesson Rollator, a sort of four wheel walker with a seat on it. It’s not for riding, like wheelchair. The seat is only for use when you’re not moving, but it’s great in long lines, since I can sit until the line moves. My health is generally good, my hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes all controlled by daily pills. My arthritis doesn’t bother me much since I was put on Celebrex about a year ago.

I’m now in a very rough pod. I’d only been here eight days when my cell was robbed when I was out at chow or pill call and about $ 200 worth of commissary I’d just bought was stolen. Staff treat it like it’s my fault for not locking my storage box, but the box they’ve issued me cannot be locked. The flange you attach the lock to is missing. I’ve had a combination lock for years, but rarely had to use it, and in my twelve years down, I’ve never been robbed before. But, I’ve never been in such a rough pod before. Friends sent me money to replace the stolen food, but I have no assurance I won’t be robbed again.

I’m fighting now to get back in the handicapped pod where I belong. Thanks for everyone’s support! I couldn’t make it without you!

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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 for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-doing-time-in-virginia/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Cameras, commentary, Documentary, Erotica, Friends of TWS, History, lifestyle, Models, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel, Women