Shanell Verandez: A Musical Journey

Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2022


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022


Assistant to Photographer: Anthony Colagreco


Creative Director: KVaughn


A Musical Journey


Hola, My name is Shanell  and I am a “Jane of All Trades and Master of None”. I have dabbled in almost every Artistic, Academic, Athletic and Spiritual endeavors one can possibly expose themselves to. I feel blessed to have an open mind and heart to be able to comprehend what I am absorbing from different kinds of people, places and things.
Most of all, Music has been one my favorite artistic endeavors, it runs through my family’s bloodline literally….I started when I was 6yrs old in Elementary school with a Music Aptitude test that I passed with flying colors which enabled me to receive an instrument of choice. My music teacher guided me to a room filled with instruments. It looked like a treasure chest! I wanted the Cello, they didn’t have one, so my teacher suggested the violin, but my arm length was too long.  So ,she finally introduced me to the Viola and the start of my ongoing relationship with that instrument began.
Then in Junior high school came another desire to play another instrument, the Oboe.  Once again, another unavailable instrument, but the teacher brought out an elegant beauty, the French horn. I was baffled because I had never seen this instrument before, so the teacher instructed that I had a week to blow one note in that instrument or move on. This instrument was meant to be mine, because by the end of that week, I got the note( a high C) and another musical relationship began.
I have another relationship with an instrument we all take for granted, the vocal cords. My singing journey began in a Baptist church set in a row house in the Historic “Black Bottom” section of Philadelphia. Most of my family was either in the choir, playing the drums or organ as well being a member on the church board. I had the chance to sing solos that were taught to me by my Aunt. Later on in life at High school I was singing in the bathroom stalls with my friend and we didn’t realize that there was another person present until she knocked on my bathroom stall and asked me to come out. She was a vocal teacher and an active Opera singer that had an interest in me becoming her student. I started studying with her and it turned out to be a very powerful  relationship out of my musical “ménage a trois”. She guided my vocal career throughout the years( high school and college, beyond).
So one would wonder… What is holding me back? I would point the finger at those who didn’t believe in me and tried everything in they could to block me, but no, I need to get past that pain and realize it is me holding myself back. Why? It is because I have really terrible stage fright and I have to believe in myself more and become more centered. The very thought of becoming more focused and centered within myself has inspired me to take another step and start writing songs, here is one I would like to share with all of you, the song is Titled …
                   ” Soul Centered “
                     Sittin’ on a Whim
                    Just Wastin’ Time
                     Feel like I’ve Lost
                           An Oasis 
                    Traveling thru Time
                    A Rush of Feelings 
               To Get Up and Get Mine
                        Soul Centered 
                    Is where I want to be
                         Soul Centered 
                    Is where I want to free
                    Different but Familiar
                             From Afar 
                  Sometimes it makes me
                     Wonder why you are
                     A Touch of Brilliance 
                     Growin’ From Within 
                  I’ve Trekked on Somethin’
                   Different why it’s a Sin
                          Soul Centered 
                     Is Where I Want to Be
                          Soul Centered 
                     Is Where I Want to Free
One Day I will be able to perform this Song during my Music Journey… Peace❤️
Editor’s Note: This is Shanell Verandez first sitting with Tony Ward for the Vixen’s series. To see all of the work to date from the new series, click here

Bob Shell: Photographing Music Stars

Photo of blues singer Cathy Jean topless for Tony Ward Studio magazine
Cathy Jean. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022


Photographing Music Stars


Back in the early 1970s, I was a photographer for PBS for a couple of years. One of my jobs was photographing musicians before, during, and after concerts. Music stars were a lot more accessible back then, less protective of their images, and I had very open access to most of them. 

The producer and I would meet the performers at their hotel several hours before the concert for candid conversation and photos, then we’d ride with them to the concert venue. I’d have a stage pass to be on stage during the concert and catch them in action. Then, after the concert we’d go back to the hotel with them and hang out, or go to the after party, if there was one. Those parties weren’t lavish events back in those days, just some tired musicians and a bunch of roadies, groupies, and assorted hangers on, drinking, smoking (tobacco and pot), and some catered munchies. There were no orgies, or if there were, we weren’t invited. I suspected that the musicians were just too tired to really do much partying, and mostly just sat around in a haze of smoke relaxing.

Here are some of the musicians I have photos of in my archive:

Ozzy Osbourne: I photographed Ozzy when he was fronting Black Sabbath on their first U. S. tour. He and bassist Geezer Butler were both very nice, friendly, talkative. Not stuck up at all. Tony Iommi was less friendly, but not really standoffish, just maybe more reserved. They were in their transition to the band’s new name and dark image, after being a hippie ‘Earth Band” originally. Sorry, but I can’t remember the band’s original name. The concert was good, mostly songs from their first album that had just been released.

On stage, I had to rely on the stage lighting, since flash was not allowed. The musicians found it too distracting, and it would have destroyed the mood. Back then the fastest films we had were Kodak Ektachrome 400 and GAF (Ansco) 500 in color films. For black and white I used Kodak 2475 recording film, which, if I remember correctly, I rated at EI 1,000. We had none of these super high ISO speeds offered by modern digital cameras. 

That meant shooting wide open with my 50mm and 135mm lenses, with slow shutter speeds. Lots of ‘creative blur’ in those shots, which we pretended was intentional artistic effect. Drummers were worst since their arms were never still. I don’t think I ever got a picture of a drummer in which his arms weren’t blurred.

Rod Stewart: I thought he was an insufferable prick. Difficult to photograph due to top heavy ego. At the time he was fronting Faces, originally called Small Faces, and the lead guitarist was Ron Wood, called Woody by his bandmates back then. He was very nice and laid back, and I got some good photos of him. I could tell, even then, that he was looking for bigger and better things, and he found them when he joined Jagger and Richards.

Black Oak Arkansas: A much underrated group today that never got the acclaim they deserved. Jim Mangrum, ‘Jim Dandy,’ was one of the most dynamic performers I’ve ever watched on stage, with an energy level that infected the audience immediately when he walked onstage. Offstage, he was relaxed and friendly, and very intelligent. I asked him why they’d named the band Black Oak Arkansas, and in his lazy Southern drawl he told me that was the name of a town they’d once been run out of.

Traffic: A short-lived ‘supergroup’ put together by Steve Winood and Jim Cappaldi, with a little Nigerian drummer named Rebop Kwakuu Bhah. 

Now all the names in this blog post are from memory, so they may not all be spelled correctly, and I hope you will forgive me any spelling errors.

Iron Butterfly: The original light/heavy group. We didn’t get to hang with them, so all I got were the concert shots. Their song “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” was supposed to be “In The Garden Of Eden,” but singer Doug Engle was so stoned during the recording sessions that he couldn’t say it. I’m not 100% sure, but I think guitarists Mike Reinhart (“Rhino”) and Pinera (don’t recall his first name) had replaced the original guitarist by that time. “Rhino” later did some work with the Allman Brothers. Ron Bushy was also with the Butterfly at the time. In-a-Gadda-da-Vida was famous for being up to half an hour long in concert, with an interminable drum solo. I have their “Live in Copenhagen” album where Engle forgets the words and sings the same line twice. That version is only 27 minutes long!

Redbone: The only Native American rock group I’m aware of. Leader Lolly Vegas played his guitar through a Leslie speaker, which had a revolving sound cone for a very unusual sound. They also did some Indian chants. Lolly is probably best known for writing “Niki Hokey” which Neal Diamond made popular. Lots of Redbone is available from music services today and is worth giving a listen, although the lyrics are often incomprehensible. Try “Maggie,”if you want to sample their unique sound. They were excellent in concert.

Fairport Convention: Their album “Nine” had just come out when they were on a U. S. tour. We hung out with them in their hotel suite most of the afternoon of the concert, smoking some excellent weed. Violin (Actually a viola, I believe) player Dave Swarbrick and singer Davy Pegg were two of the nicest people I’ve met anywhere. Their version of the old truck driver song “Six Days on the Road” is one of my favorites and I listen to it often. Peggy’s vocal really owns the song, although I think he got the words of the first line wrong. He sang, “Well I pulled out of Frisco down on the eastern seaboard.”. Maybe, as an Englishman, he didn’t know that Frisco is on the west coast. But I still love the song. I also like his “George Jackson.”. As a prisoner, that song speaks to me.

There were many others I photographed, but I’m out of room for this post. More another time.


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. 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 additional articles by Bob Shell, click here:

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 . 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 Here’s the link:  

Katie Kerl: Philly Reloaded-Life After Lockdown

Aronimink Swim Club. Drexel Hill, Pa. Photo: Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021


Philly Reloaded: Life After Lockdown


After a year and two months, Philadelphia is about to lift all the restrictions put in place for COVID.  I get my second Moderna Shot June 1st. I honestly am having a hard time wrapping my head around all of it to be honest. It was a Rainy Memorial Day weekend in the city. What better way to spend it than to inform people of some upcoming events, and other local small business re-openings.

We all have setbacks and I am healing from the entire year. I have no idea what the fuck I am doing now, but its working for me…

My lips and Botox…….. I wake up every day and am so happy I did it. because adulting Is hard, but we really do not have to look old anymore. 

My idea of fun has changed so drastically, I think I am still discovering what new things make me happy.

Personally, I do not think I am ready to be in large crowds even after being vaccinated. While others slowly got to see more and more people, some never stopped what they were doing to begin with, and I am still getting used to being around 5-10 people again. 

Be mindful that not all your friends will be running out the door to large events. That has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with their own comfort level, and their experience this year. more importantly feeling freedom again.

The beginning of summer always leads me to the pool..

I belong to a quiet & a party pool (balance).


Aronimink Swim Club

Address: 1180 Dermond Rd, Drexel hill Pa 19026

I am fortunate to belong to Aronimink Swim Club in Drexel Hill with my parents. A much more subdued non partying pool, but it is a perfect pool if you have children. There is a large main pool with a connected baby pool, diving board, and a slide. There is a smaller adult pool which is nothing but peaceful. Downstairs from the pool deck is basketball, tennis, volleyball, BBQ stations, food to order, and a playground for kids. My father’s family has been a member there for as long as I can remember. He coached the diving team when I was a kid, and I was a swimmer. Generational membership was a real thing there is the 1960s- 1990s. Families with their great grandchildren and everyone knew each other. It still has that vibe today. Sometimes I complain about things feeling like I am stuck in the 1950’s, but something about the pool never changing kind of reminds me of a scene from Dirty Dancing. That type of nostalgia I am completely ok with.


Vesper Day Club


Vesper Day Club

Address: 1031 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia Pa, 19123


IG: @vesperdayclub


Vesper Day Club


Located in Northern Liberties and a convenient 10 minute walk from my house . I have been a member here for a few years now. When I had a regular 9-5 job, I could not take advantage of how peaceful it is there during the week. I want to go when there is not a large crowd. It really satisfied my need for me time, and quite a few frozen Pina Coladas. The slushie drinks are lethal in the sun. Be sure to have many and stay hydrated. I do not remember a time walking out of there without being a shade darker, and a smile on my face.

The staff there this year is nice. Another reason I like going places when it is not crowded. There is nothing worse than  a bad attitude.

The host Gia was informative about renting out the private cabanas with tv, seating, and your own private elevated pool. Perfect for birthdays and business events. There are two levels to the pool deck. If you want a quieter experience the upstairs lounges are nice as well. There is a DJ on the weekends and music playing around the pool daily. They also do networking and wellness events. Be sure to reserve your lounge, daybed, or cabana, and the time slot you wish to go on the website.

To receive 20% off your season membership please use my link on the website:


Fold Theory Presents Michelle Sparks


Fold Theory Presents: Michelle Sparks

Date: 6/26

Time: 10-2:30am

Music style: Techno

Artist info:

Price: $20 presale/ $30 at the door


Venue: Warehouse on Watts (WOW)

Address: 923 N. Watts St. Philadelphia, Pa 19123

Fold Theory and their large group of like-minded friends held a live stream fundraiser totaling $5k to benefit Warehouse on Watts. Seeing communities of people coming together to save a venue is huge. After losing so many restaurants/clubs in the city; it would be nice to see more of this.


Noto NightClub


NOTO Nightclub

Address: 1209 Vine street, Philadelphia, Pa 19107

For tickets and Vip Bottle Service contact:

Phone: 215.694.8584

Ig: AK Promotions

The opening weekend line up:

Friday 6/18 with Vicetone, Saturday 6/19 Dj Stevie J

Friday 6/25 Andrew Rayel, Saturday 6/26 Dj Spade

I have had some amazing nights here before the shutdown. One of my favorite nights at NOTO was Fisher; his parties never disappoint!

I highly suggest booking a table, so you have room to dance.


Old City Tattoo


Old City Tattoo


Olde City Tattoo

Hours open 11am -7pm

Address: 44 s 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

P: 215.627.6271

IG: oldecitytattoo, jag13badluck

They will soon be open later Saturday and Sunday.


 I may not be ready for giant crowds, but I was however ready to finish my Alice in Wonderland half sleeve. Jason Goldberg is the owner and has been tattooing my whimsical dream since 2017. I finish my half sleeve in June, after starting it right before the pandemic hit. The funny thing is; when I was at Vesper Day Club two of the people had been tattooed there!. Jason has been in business for 20+ years Check them out if you are looking for ink.


Brittany Goldberg

Heavy Metal Hair Salon

1604 E. Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia Pa, 19148


Hours: Mon- Fri: 10-6, Sat 9-6, Sun 10-5

Brittany Goldberg is married to Jason. They are quite the creative hustling couple. She opened her hair salon in the middle of the pandemic! I must give her credit for jumping through all the city’s hoops and restrictions. The rainbow of bold colors that come out of the salon are quite breathtaking. I walked out a perfect dark to light ombre pink. I had tried to get this color for a long time, and no one was able to do it in one shot, or as bold as Brittany did. I will be back there after the city re-opens fully.



Heavy Metal Hair is also Having an event on 6/6

The Sick66 Jewelry Pop-Up with special guest Necronomicharm

Time: 6-8

Beer included




Independent Philly

Owner : David Miller

Independent Philly has been around for quite some time. They will be up and running again next week as well. I remember them running around the venues to get the perfect shots at all the shows. This was when you could go to three amazing events in one night in Philadelphia.

 I think we were fortunate enough to live though the height of the Philly nightlife scene. I was chatting with Dave about it when I asked for this info. We have seen three cycles of venues here over the years. In each the dynamics were a bit different, but it is cool to see the change in the city.

 The photographers working with him all take amazing photos. They have been recognized in one way or another for their creativity in capturing a moment.


Dave Grohl. Foo Fighters. Photo: Dave Miller, Copyright 2021


Dave has also created an NFT Interactive gallery storefront.

NFT Store:

Dave has taken some of his photos and put them onto the Ethereum blockchain network. Creating an NFT (non- fungible token) store front. Which simply means it cannot be replaced with something else. If more creatives got together to learn this forward-thinking way of dealing art; there may not be so many starving artists in the future.

NFT’s are new to me so I am going to leave this link with the basics:


Pete Checchia Photography & Arts

Address: 733 n 2nd St., Philadelphia, Pa 10123


Presents: Jorge Luis Vega’s Paintings

Explore a Personal Vision in Tropocalismo

Date: 6/4       Time: 6-8

Sponsored by: Stateside Vodka & The 700



Revive Medical Aesthetics & Weight Loss



I write about Revive every chance I get to support women run businesses.

Not to mention you leave there feeling and looking like a goddess. I have my Botox, and lip filler done there. Aubrey has yet to disappoint me, although the entire staff is the nicest! There are no stupid questions, no mean girl attitude, and all the information you would want to know about your service. That is absolutely something to celebrate

. Aubrey also balances being a working wife, mom, and has a cool little guy at home to raise. The more I write about the small businesses here you really get to know the people behind them. I think that it is a big factor people do not always investigate when starting a business. What is your mission, and what kind of vibe are you giving off to the community?  

Aubrey DelVescovo PA-C (Aesthetic Physician Associate)


Ig: preferred contact  

Availability: Tues-Turs 11-6pm, Fri-11-3, Sat-10-2

Revive Med IG: @revivemedphilly



K Vaughn Scarves


K Vaughn Scarves

Designer: Kevin Harris

Ig: k.vaughn_scarves

I have been friends with Kevin for quite some time now. I am always floored at his creative energy, and ability to pick fabrics that look amazing on everyone. He took the time to hustle out in the pandemic and did pop-up shops, designed masks to go with his scarves, and coordinated a spring photoshoot in Rittenhouse Square for his line. The thing about Kevin that I love is; he is always changing and onto the next thing.

There is never a dull moment, and he is well respected in the Philadelphia arts community. The launch of his new website & Instagram events posted through the week. My grandmother told me no outfit was complete without a scarf. She was not incorrect .

Looking back, I know some amazing business owners that were able to maintain their shops. A few opened new ones in the middle of a pandemic & a shut down!!

Resilience in the face of anarchy is what we need to survive. People who live Alternative lifestyles that have different careers seem to be the ones winning.  Also, empathizing with people going through it this year. We seem to be much better with this drastic change. If you are used to life not being normal, why would this be any different?

We adapt, grow, soften with every tragedy, help others win, and support the people who have made an impact on your life.

 It is the effort we put into our lives that will direct us from here.

Good luck to all the businesses in the city about to fully open.

Happy Memorial Day!


Katie Kerl: Summer of 2021



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:

To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click here


Abby Harris: Happier Than Ever

Photography by Abby Harris, Copyright 2021

Photography and Text by Abby Harris, Copyright 2021


Happier Than Ever


I wanted to create a piece about music and how it can change, effect, and help you feel emotions. Music is there for us when we have our highest highs and our lowest lows, when we are in love and when we are heart broken. When I was going through a hard time in my life I purchased this pair of headphones to try and make myself feel better. Music has helped me through so many things in my life. When everything else felt like it was falling down around me I knew I could just lay on my floor and listen to my favorite song on repeat and it would be okay for a second. The headphones pictured in the shoot are the ones I purchased as a retail therapy present to myself.  These headphones have let me experience music in a way that I didn’t think was possible. You can feel every note and hear every layer. In this piece I hear three different songs playing, each with a different mood. One of the songs I hear is “When The Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. When I listen to it I just want to curl into a ball on the floor and experience my emotions. This is partly why I had the idea to do the photoshoot from above. The other two songs that inspired this piece are “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish and “American Cliche” by FINNEAS. “Happier Than Ever” tells the story about being in a relationship with someone, yet when you are together you are both hurt, and when you are apart you are happier. The song painted such a picture in my head I wanted to portray it on film. “American Cliche” is a song that makes me wanna dance around my bedroom all by myself, so I had to include it for good vibes. Overall I wanted people to see how I feel about music and feel their own emotions about music through the images. 


About The Author: Abby Harris is a sophomore enrolled at Bryn Mawr College, Class of 2023.

Bob Shell: The 60’s

Bob Dylan circa 1960’s. Photo: Charles Gatewood, Copyright 2020

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020


The 60’s


In the summer of 1966 I moved to Washington, DC, to take a job I’d been offered at the Smithsonian Institution as a biological illustrator. I’d been making detailed paintings and pen and ink drawings of insects, birds, and animals since grade school. I was getting published regularly in wildlife magazines around the country, starting while I was still in high school.

In college at Virginia Tech I had a job making drawings of insects for scientific papers written by one of the entomologists there, and was becoming well known in the small population of professional biological illustrators, while studying biology.

I’d become sort of a pen pal with Andre Pizzini, one of the Smithsonian artists, who became my mentor, and helped me get the job there.

So that’s when and why I moved to DC. This was in the American social catharsis that was 1960s, when the civil rights movement was going full bore, the protests against the Vietnam war were accelerating, music was transitioning from Elvis to The Beatles to acid rock, and all of American society was in foment.

The despised Lyndon B. Johnson was president, followed by the even more hated Richard Nixon.

We were asking ourselves why, in idealistic America, we had a two tiered society, with blacks as second-class citizens. “White Only” signs were on restrooms, restaurants, and in other places. We were drafting our young men and shipping them off to southeast Asia to be slaughtered. Country Joe was singing the “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” — “And you can be the first ones on your block to have your boy come home in a box.”. Many of my high school friends were drafted and some did come home in boxes. All for a stupid war the US should never have gotten itself mired up in.

I got caught up in the protest fever. I joined protests, picketed the White House, was teargassed on the lawn of the Pentagon, holding and calming a hysterical friend. Saw soldiers lined up in front of that imposing building to guard it from us, unarmed kids. Saw those same soldiers. break down in tears when girls put flowers in the barrels of their rifles. They were no older than us, didn’t want to be there, caught up in an idiotic confrontation.

The Smithsonian Institution was created by a gift to the United States from James Smithson, an Englishman who never set foot in America. He left us a fortune in his will to create, “in Washington,DC, an institution for the increase and dissemination of knowledge among men.”

Unfortunately, the Smithsonian depends on Congress for funding, Smithson’s money having run out long ago. Projects I was working on often lost their funding, and I bounced from job to job, working for a while at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, just outside DC, drawing mosquitoes for the Southeast Asia Mosquito Research Project, that I learned was a CIA front when the Washington Post outed it. So I actually worked for the CIA for a while, although I was never a “spook.”

Please remember that America in the 1960s was like an alien planet compared to today. Many years of inflation hadn’t yet made the dollar practically worthless like it is today. Gasoline was less than 25 cents a gallon, an expensive car was under four thousand dollars and you could get a hamburger for fifteen cents and a bottle of Coke for a dime. I paid fifty bucks for my first serious camera, a used Nikon F with lens and a separate handheld light meter. That was a significant investment for me, since the museum projects paid me sixty bucks a week, which also happened to be the monthly rent on my big, two-bedroom apartment in central DC.

The sex, drugs, and rock and roll movement was in full flower, and I leaped in with both feet, going through a succession of live-in girlfriends, popping psychedelics, which were still legal, and going to rock concerts.

Some people I knew had bought an old movie theater, the Ambassador Theater near Georgetown, and tore out the seats, leaving a bare concrete floor. They brought in west coast bands like Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and many more, plus local bands like The Andorene, and had an elaborate light show projected behind the bands on the old movie screen. Since I knew the people, I never paid admission, and was there just about every weekend.

For live music, there was also the Merryweather Post Pavilion just outside DC, founded by the Post cereal fortune heirs, which was an outdoor theater, with seating and overflow onto a big lawn. I listened to Ravi Shankar there, and folk groups like Peter, Paul and Mary.

I was making Beardsley-esque pen and ink drawings of nudes for the Washington Free Press, an underground newspaper of the day, doing art on commission for anyone who’d pay me, and living well, but not extravagantly. When I was between grants I’d head up to New York City and hang out with people I knew, taking in the East Village scene, going to concerts by groups like The Velvet Underground, The Grateful Dead, The Mothers of Invention, The Fugs, Pearls Before Swine, Bob Dylan and many others. I was in my twenties and enjoying life to its fullest.

In 1968, for reasons I no longer remember, I moved to Richmond, Virginia, and lived in “the fan,” the area near Virginia Commonwealth University, where my cousin, the same age as me, was living. We’d grown up more like brothers than cousins, and many who knew us in school thought we were brothers. I lived with him and his wife until I found an apartment of my own and was happy in Richmond until early summer of 1969, when the apartment I shared with four others was raided by the Richmond police. One man, who was visiting from DC had one marijuana “joint” in his pocket, and they arrested all six of us for possession! Marijuana possession was a felony back then, and we could have been given up to thirty years, but we all got three years each, suspended. That meant being on probation for five years. That was my first brush with the American “justice system.”


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:

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 . 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