Tracey Olkus: Behind The Scenes

 

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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Tracey Olkus:Behind The Scenes

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Tracey Olkus and I have known each other for decades.  Philly is a small town amongst creatives.  We worked together on shoots over the years as she is one of the best hair stylists in Philly, but I never had a chance to photograph her as a subject, for years I only worked with her like any other colleague in the Arts. Tracey always had this allure but shy in a way or so it seemed. Last year I invited her up to my new studio in Elkins Park to assist on a shoot and I also invited her to attend a party at my house during the summer. That’s when it finally clicked that I wanted to photograph her for The Vixens Series.  The time was ripe.

After several back and forth communications, she agreed and noted that she had never been photographed by a professional photographer before.  I felt honored and I think she cherished the moment. So the process began.  I asked Tracey to put some fashion together from her wardrobe and explained the process of how I work with creative director, KVaughn. They too have known each other for decades so communicating  by Zoom was easy and so began our team’s creative journey.  There would be four to five changes within a two hour shoot schedule.  My lighting assistant, Anthony Colagreco was working the lights. Fortunately for us, Tracey had lots of interesting costumes that KVaughn curated and molded into the style in which the series has become known. KV especially knows I have a thing for hats. Tracey is also a headdress maker. A creative match made in heaven and the pictures are always the result.

Tracey indicated on the eve of her sitting that she was a little nervous.  That to me usually indicates the person that I am photographing is fully immersed in the creative outcome, which through my experience tends to lead to a positive result.  I simply assured her she was in good hands.

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To be cast for The Vixen Series contact: Tony@TonyWard.com.

To access The Vixens Series gallery link herehttps://tonyward.com/the-vixens-series/

Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana: You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup

Beautiful tall black woman models a KVaughn couture jacket photographed by Tony Ward Copyright 2024
Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Text by Antoinette, AKA Scorpiana

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You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup

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You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

This was the single best piece of parenting and life advice I have ever received and my continuous reminder to take care of myself. Navigating multiple polyamorous partnerships requires a lot of time and effort but those relationships continuously fill my cup. It was thru one of those relationships that I was introduced to rope bondage, and with it a whole new world in the BDSM community.

Chinese woman hanging upside down in bondage in her bedroom
Savanna. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024. Rope Work by Scorpiana.

Rope spoke to me in a way nothing had previously. The artistry, the physical challenge, the emotional connection it can foster. Being restrained was the first time in my life I could turn my brain off and just be in the moment, in my body. Learning to tie others was the most fantastic puzzle that continues to challenge me physically and mentally years later. It is a rare situation where I have never gotten bored, and boredom is ever present in my life as a human with ADHD. Balancing my kink life with my vanilla life as a working mother of two kids has me literally and figuratively pulled in multiple directions every day. Yet it is thru rope that I keep my cup full for the rest of the things in my life. Rope bondage has provided a unique emotionally connective experience with friends and partners alike. It is an expression of my creativity and an artistic outlet unlike any other.

closeup bondage photo of woman's butt
 Tony Ward for KVaughn Scarves, Copyright 2024. 

Sculpture with the human body, a transient dynamic living piece of art. Expanding access to rope bondage for those who are traditionally not included due to body size and ability is this intersection between my professional life as a physical therapist and my personal life as a rigger that allows me to share my love of learning and teaching with other marginalized groups. Tying others, and being tied, has been a source of joy that has kept me happy and grounded and better able to show up in all other aspects of my life; as a parent, as a partner, and as a physical therapist. 

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Beautiful tall black woman models a KVaughn couture coat photographed by Tony Ward Copyright 2024
Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Behind The Scenes: March Cover Shoot 2024


Text by Tony Ward

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BTS: Steve Feldman, Copyright 2024

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I first learned about Lileet and her modeling interests when she started following me on Instagram. After looking over her IG @lileet_miriam  I followed her back. Not long after the initial contact I decided to invite her to be photographed for The Vixen’s Series. Her response was brimming with enthusiasm and eager to set up a shoot date. She mentioned that she was going to be in Philadelphia for a party with her husband on 2-24-24. I thought that was a lucky number and suggested that we figure a way to shoot on that day before she went to the party. We settled on “the lucky date” and that she would be arriving at around 10:30am for hair & Makeup and to meet with KVaughn, creative director to discuss the photographic styling  and flow of the two hour shoot.

The husband and wife of 12 years (impressive by most standards these days) took the 2 hour ride from their home in New York only to arrive a little early. I already had the coffee on and some snacks, but I didn’t expect a request for champagne.  I guess Lileet and her husband knew this would be day worth celebrating. So I ran off to the nearby state store for a couple of bottles of Corbel.  Bottles  were popped and the mood was set.  The champagne was finished by the end of the shoot. Everybody was in a good mood.  KVaughn directed  Tara through a medley of costume changes including personal items from her wardrobe like the corsets she loves to wear mixed in with some of KVaughn most eye popping fabrics. For the  grand crescendo, KV would paste on blue costume jewels over her Tara’s spectacular naked torso! That was a tough shot to frame, just kidding!!

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Relaxing after the shoot. Photo: KVaughn

Behind The Scenes With Savanna

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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Behind The Scenes With Savanna

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Photographs by Al B For, Copyright 2024.

I was introduced to Savanna a few months ago at an exhibition of my work curated  by my  friend and colleague Bob Neroni, owner of Prism Arts Philadelphia.  When we met at the exhibit she seemed very enthusiastic about meeting me, so I reached out to cast her for The Vixens Series, a series of portraits inspired by women from all walks of life that exude; strength, intelligence, heroism and inner beauty.

We settled on a date and aligned the production crew to meet at my studio for the series of pictures that would define the beginning  of a new year as we enter 2024.  I contacted veteran Philly photographer, Al B For to cover the behind the scenes of the production involved in creating Savanna’s remarkable series of pictures.  Al B is quite known in Philadelphia creative circles as a go to guy for candid event photography . His bubbly personality makes everyone around him comfortable as evidenced in the photographs captured on shoot day.  Al B is the ultimate fly on the wall.

Many thanks first of all to Savanna, who was fabulous to work with.  She’s quite daring and provocative as you can see.  Thanks also to my team including: creative director KVaughn, lighting assistant Tony Colagreco, Shibari rope specialist, Scorpiana,  makeup artist extraordinaire, Octavia Monroe and behind the scenes pictures by Al B For.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

To access the complete set of Savanna’s pictures for The Vixens Series, link here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/savanna-autonomy/

Behind The Scenes: KVaughn Winter Collection 2023

Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023
Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

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Behind The Scenes: KVaughn Winter Collection 2023

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Photography by Brian Hunt and Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023

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On November 19, 2023 a group of creative talents, models, photographers and stylists  arrived at the enclave in Elkins Park determined to produce a series of photographs representative of KVaughn’s Winter Scarf Collection 2023-24.  The first to arrive was a tall young man with long hair who pulled up in my driveway at around 10:30am.  I greeted model Larson Hunt and he quickly asked where he should put his wardrobe in preparation for the days work.  Frankly, I didn’t know because KVaughn, the auteur of the days activities was running behind schedule as he was caravanning to the location with photographers, models and lots of scarves ready to be photographed.

This first gallery of photos above are by Ernest Thomas.  He like Brian Hunt are veteran photographers that have worked with KV on various shoots over the years.  Teamwork is what made this seasons photography of KVaughn’s remarkable collection come to life.

This second  gallery of photographs below are by Brian Hunt. Brian is the father of model, Larson Hunt.  One of the joys of observing the talent working around the property that day was the interaction between father and son.  It was quite a moment. KVaughn’s team is a tight knit group.  Everyone is supportive and fun to work with.

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Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023
Photo: Brian Hunt, Copyright 2023

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