Category Archives: Models

Katie Kerl: Thirty Seven – The Power of Enlightenment

 

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

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Thirty Seven: The Power of Enlightenment

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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!!

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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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Photographs of Katie Kerl by Frank Siegel, Copyright 2021

Email: fsiegel@comcast.net

Instagram: nikonfrank2807

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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

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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/

 

Bob Shell: In Praise of Ecdysiasts

Portrait of Miko by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021

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In Praise of Ecdysiasts

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Because I spent more than thirty-five years photographing nudes, I appreciate people comfortable in their skin. Ecdysiasts are people, usually female but also male, who make their living taking off their clothing to music, strippers in common parlance, but also modern dancers. 

I found my best photography models from among their ranks. It’s not that I specifically sought out strippers, that’s just how it turned out. In the pre-Internet days I found my models in two ways, advertisements in college newspapers, and word of mouth. I don’t remember how many times I’d have a model in my studio for a shoot, and after the photo session she’d say, “I have this friend…” I always told her to invite the friend in with her next time for a test. In several cases these friends turned out to be better models than the original woman. This was particularly the case with dancers, and dance students who tended to have other dancers/dance students for friends. 

The other best models I found were naturists, commonly called nudists. There was a naturist camp near Richmond, Virginia, called ‘Whitetail Park’ where I must say all the tails I saw were nicely tanned, and I found a number of very good models. It may still be there, but I’ve been unable to travel since 2003. I also found a large nudist colony in Cologne, Germany, beside the Rhine River right across from the Koln Messe, the giant exhibition halls where international trade shows used to be held, and found models there when I was in Germany. 

After the rise of the Internet, I found most models through my own website (bobshell.com) and sites like OneModelPlace and ModelMayhem. 

The other way I found models was referrals from other photographers. My late friend Johnny Meeks of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, referred a number of very good models to me. Johnny was the original drummer for the Allman Brothers, whom he met while in art school in Sarasota, but turned from music to photography. 

Now, before anyone calls me a sexist for concentrating on photographing women, I’ll say that I also photographed a few men, but I find the more rounded contours of the female body more attractive photographically. 

I always paid my models well, even when I was first starting out and had little money myself. I also kept scrupulous records, keeping signed model releases in a file of everyone who ever modeled for me. After my arrest in 2003, the police had access to those releases, which have name, address, and Social Security number, and tried for more than four years to find anyone who’d ever modeled for me with anything negative to say about me. My models never felt exploited, and a number are friends today. 

I’ve photographed nudes in Virginia, Illinois, Louisiana, California, Nevada, Maine, Florida, etc., and internationally in England, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Japan. In every case I honored whatever the local laws were, but the USA is the most restrictive, allowing me to only photograph women eighteen and older. 

My career as a photographer was cut short by my conviction in 2007, based on testimony the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia says was, “Just wrong!” Once I’m out of here and free again, I plan to renew my career. I’m full of repressed ideas for photos.

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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 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonyward.com/cosmic_dance/

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.

Andrea Blanco: Gianni Versace a Seductive Mind

Gianni Versace a Seductive mind by Andrea Blanco
 

Text by Andrea Blanco, Copyright 2021

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Gianni Versace a Seductive Mind

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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.

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Portrait of Bryan Abrams by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

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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!”

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Portrait of Andrea Blanco

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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.”

 

Bob Shell: Learning to See and Equipment Meditations

Portrait of Kimberly Kane. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020
 
Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020
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Learning to See and Equipment Meditations 
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Many people, when they get into photography, become “equipment freaks,”. buying lens after lens in a quest for better photographs. I know, I was one myself. Those people keep the camera companies in business. I didn’t understand that better photography comes from training the eye and mind, not from accumulating more equipment. Yes, you do need some good equipment to make the best photographs, but adding lens after lens won’t make you see better. After going lens crazy early in my career I reached a point of saturation. Then I began to pare down my equipment to just what I needed. For most of my travel I carried a simple outfit of a 24mm lens, a 28-80 zoom, and a 100-300 zoom. Depending on where I was going I might add a 20mm, 100mm macro or a 400mm and 2X tele converter. I found I could handle almost any contingency with that simple outfit. I rarely used the 24mm or the long end of the 100-300 zoom range. My kit fit handily in a medium sized camera bag with room left for a flash unit and a bunch of film. After digital my kit didn’t change much, just a bunch of storage cards instead of film.

One time when I was going to Las Vegas for a week I challenged myself and took only a little Leica point and shoot with a 28mm lens. I came back with a bunch of great shots, and only wished for my regular kit a couple of times. When you only have a lens with one focal length you learn to zoom with your feet. I wrote an article in Shutterbug about that experiment and illustrated it with some of the photos from the trip. The only time the 28mm was a problem was in closeup photos of people, but just stepping back took care of the distortion.

In my studio I found that I could do just about anything with a 28-80 zoom, and rarely attached anything else to my camera. For my outdoor nudes the 28-80 f/2.8-4.0 and 70-200 f/2.8 could handle all my needs. The 24 was in my bag, but rarely came out. I had a 20, but used it so seldom that I sold it. I kept a 16mm Russian fisheye around for those rare times that it made sense.

Try an experiment. Spend a week photographing with only one lens. Instead of changing lenses, change your point of view. Zoom with your feet. Force yourself to think in terms of that one focal length

Many of the world’s great photographers worked with the Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras, with their fixed 80mm lenses on 6 X 6 format. Those photographers learned to see in terms of that one lens, and produced some spectacular images.

In the 70s I tried that for a while. I bought a used Rolleicord, the cheaper model of Rollei TLR and worked with it all one summer. I had a lot of fun with that camera, and got some photos I like very much. That camera taught me the benefit of carrying a tripod for the sharpest possible images of non moving subjects, a lesson I’ve never forgotten. When a tripod was just too cumbersome to tote, I’d carry my lightweight Gitzo carbon fiber monopod, which doubled as a walking stick. A monopod is also great for getting shots from high angles by holding it up overhead and using a remote release or self timer to fire the camera.

My favorite tripod/monopod head is the Acratech ball head. Compact, light, and very sturdy. I’ve tried many other ball heads over the years when reviewing them for articles, but always found myself going back to the Acratech for my personal work. I used the version with the Arca-style quick release, which lets me put a camera and lens on and off very quickly and easily. The only time I used a different head is when shooting with a view camera, either my 4 X 5 Toyo monorail or my old Eastman 2D 8 X 10 field camera. For those heavier cameras I have a big ball head made by Schoon in Holland. Obviously, I really prefer ball heads. When using the big, heavy 8 X 10 I use a heavy duty wood tripod. Mine is the Brom Master, made in Germany. It will support damn near anything. But the times I’ve used my view cameras after I started working with digital can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I wouldn’t want to be a view camera salesman today. I even thought of selling my Toyo outfit until I saw the low prices they were going for, and decided just to keep it. Maybe one day the prices for digital backs for them will drop down to my level. There are many things you can only do with a view camera with full swings, tilts, and shifts. Tilt-shift lenses can come close, and are sufficient for many applications. Zorkendorfer in Germany makes adapters to allow tilt and shift on most digital SLR cameras using medium format or enlarger lenses (www.zoerk.com).

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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 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/civil-war/

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.