One of the joys of being a photographer for the past 40 plus years is that I’ve accumulated a large body of work and incredible visual memories. In this series of pictures, the subject met me only once but left a trail of images that brings back memories of the days, months and years I worked in Amsterdam photographing some of the most beautiful women in the world.
On September 25th, 2003 I was out having dinner and drinks at Club Nl, a very well known night club in the heart of the city that was frequented mostly by locals. This was the place where I often met with Dutch friends to enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife. It was also a place where I scouted for models.
On this particular evening almost 30 years ago, Frans a close friend mentioned there was a young woman by the name of Layla who wanted to meet me for a casting. Arrangements were made for the prospective model to meet me at the apartment I was renting in the Red light District. Layla arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon looking forward to the opportunity to meet me with hopes that she could model for one of the magazines of which I was a contributing photographer. She knew that I was a specialist in erotic photography so the sitting went smoothly as she was eager to exhibit her youthful beauty within this small sliver of time that has left lasting visual memories.
So, what am I up to these days? Sexually, of course.
Who am I as a woman, a lover…someone who knows herself in a way that is shaped by my past.
This question is deep and substantial, but let’s focus on the present. The satisfaction of knowing my desires and needs and being able to obtain them is something that many never achieve.
So here is a little of me.
Let’s talk of “simple pleasures” which are not simple in any sense. Having my lover against me, so intense, their scent, the quite whispers, giggles and moans of pleasure as we enjoy intimacy and connection. An experience reached by opening one’s mind and vulnerabilities to their partner. To allow myself to open this way can only described as “next level” and goes well beyond sexual actions.
Toys are something that are always a part of my fun. I have a convenient spot where they are kept in a box that can be locked. Even big girls need a toy box. Inside is an expansive collection of playthings, so many that sometimes I forget a few. When away from home, there are one or two hidden away for use in whatever situation may arise. Creativity…solo or otherwise is always welcome.
I am a tease. Leaning in and quietly suggesting scenarios that cannot be played out is appealing. Sending pictures at times of the day when it is genuinely distracting makes me giggle. Texting suggestive ideas, building on it and abruptly ending the conversation? Not me! Sharing that, “My fingers were between my thighs a few minutes ago.” when out for a meal or in a public place achieves such pleasing results. Sharing one of my sexy written stories and knowing exactly the response it will create warms me up in all the right ways. Mentioning in passing that, “I’m not wearing panties.” or saying that, “I want to get on my knees and linger there for a long, long time.”This is who I am.
Porn, naughty stories and “dressing up” are things I incorporate into my days and nights. Spontaneity should not be overlooked. Sliding my hands up a shirt or down past a waistband in a dark corner of a public place? Yes please.Climbing on a lap in a car. What surface of the house is yet to be explored? How about a public restroom? Always ready for the challenge. A quickie on the kitchen counter? How fast can my panties drop??? Tie me up, spank me, cover my eyes and surprise me!
Treat me like the Vixen that I am.
About The Author:
Meg is a tenacious person. She has a lot of interesting life stories and likes to challenge herself by learning and trying new things. She is an excellent cook and baker. She can make and decorate elaborate cakes.Health and fitness are a part of her lifestyle. She bought and is living in a foreclosure which she is making her own room by room. She is certified to teach pistol because she believes a woman should be comfortable defending herself. She enjoys hiking and is completing a certification in personal training. She is a badass 50 plus year old woman living life to its fullest.
Photography: Tony Ward – Creative Director: KVaughn – Hair Stylist: Michael Connor. Copyright 2022
From Russia With Love: Part 2
Present: Miss Joy’s Tale
As I sit back at my desk and look out my third story window to reflect, a few things come to mind when I think about the present.I’m living the dream I had of residing in Philadelphia and having a happy independent life.In my room sits over 20 houseplants, a petite black and white kitty named Trolley who wears a bright pink tribal print collar (aka my Princess Poops) and there are enough bike parts and sex toys to open up strange bicycle themed sex shop.Every morning I wake up cozy and warm with the sun beaming on my face and start my day with a shower, shit, breakfast and computer work.I’ve been entirely self-employed since August, am on the beautifully arduous journey of self discovery and am a passionate cyclist with 4 bicycles in my stable.
The best thing about being self-employed is that I set my own schedule and truly get to focus on what’s most important to me.Right now what’s most important to me is the relationship I have with myself, body, mind and soul.During my 2.5 years of living in Philly I’ve learned to sit with a lot of uncomfortable feelings and work through them with the help of my support system and sheer determination. Through hours of research, embracing spirituality and food as a way to connect with my Southern Ural roots, I’m finding peace not knowing who my direct family members are – it’s also a slow moving goal searching for my birth parents. Therapy sessions help me to reframe how I handle unforeseen challenges in a calm way without attaching the terms “bad” or “good” to the emotions I feel.As I continue to set strong boundaries and high standards for myself, I feel empowered to take on all the activities and projects that call to me.
Aside from working as a dominatrix in the Philadelphia area, I’m creating a small line of impact play toys made of recycled bicycle parts such as old inner tubes, handlebar grips, and raw leather.My first line consisting of 4 tools ranges from innocent to incredibly mean and is inspired by my trip to San Diego last year when I attempted to bike across the USA.It features shades of terracotta and sand, brass rivets and uses components commonly found on Lowrider bicycles that first gained popularity in California in the 60’s.The next pieces I’m making are inspired by Ural Batyr, the epic poem of the Bashkir people and where the Ural Mountains gained their name from.They will feature carved and burned leather along with symbols from Russian Paganism and Tengrism.
About The Author: Joy Arnold aka Miss Joy is a Philadelphia based Dominatrix that services clients at her center city studio. She is an avid cyclist and is working on a series of adult toys designed from spare bicycle parts. This is her first contribution in collaboration with Tony Ward Studio.
It was hard in the beginning being sentenced to Riverside Correctional Facility, but at the end I was grounded in – as they would say. While serving my time, a corrections officer was harassing me. She was in charge of locking me in every night. One day she came into my cell and I fought her when she tried to have me put into 23/1 for indefinite time.I beat my case due to the fact that I called prison society.It turns out a corrections officer is not allowed to enter a cell without a white shirt or a person above in the chain of command.Fortunately, I only did 30 days in the hole (23/1) where you only shower once every few days and are locked in a cell for 23 hours with nothing but a blanket, a cup, and hopefully toilet paper. You also do not get commissary and if you do you are to only order shower items and writing pads . Yes this is real!
I went to the hole a few times because you have to defend yourself in a place like that, its only you! I also got my Ged and spent days in the law library studying the law and learning different things.At first, I didn’t want to study for Ged because I could not learn by looking at a screen or listen to somebody talk. The program made me wait, because they didn’t think I had it in me to succeed. Then one day I complained to the warden. I told her that I passed all my tests and only missed by one point on the math. She said if I don’t pass the Ged test I owed her because she pushed it through so I could take it. I passed every test without studying. Instead, I was studying on how to beat my own legal case working everyday in the law library when I was supposed to study for the Ged. Certain c/os believed in me. Teachers knew I was smart and when I passed I made it known who made it happen. My teacher started calling everyday (get her this ged test asap ) warden called for the tester. I eventually fired my attorney and went pro se on my case because he said he couldn’t do any better then 3-6 years upstate. I went in there and said what I said and got 23 flat .
When I came home after doing 2 years I tried finding employment but nothing was good enough to be able to make enough money to be approved for apartments; due to the fact I am now an ex felon and have little to no chance even with ex felon friendly companies. So I began going out with friends to after hours places that go from 12-5 and needless to say are all in some area of the hood no matter which one you go to its always in dangerous places. One night I was working and had just bought my car. Somebody broke into my car by busting a window. Now these places barely had security and people would be in there touching you for no money. Customers don’t have to tip. They just pay to get in and pay for drinks so its basically a house party. Hopefully people bring ones. After the night my car got broken into I decided to stop putting myself out there for less and brought myself to Cheerleader’s Gentlemen’s Club in Philly. I heard a lot of people talk about it and I took it as an opportunity. Since then I haven’t been to an after hour or anotherclub.
Since being at Cheerleader’s I’ve gotten an apartment and needless to say that within the first month working there I make a good amount of money. I work every day from 3 to 2 am by choice. I never had stability so I’m excited to be able to finally have it and will make sure I keep it ! Couch room is 20$ a dance. Vip is (30 min) $170 to $650 (1 hour). The customers are high end mostly gentleman who are kind. Some get crazy but alcohol does that.
About The Author: Snow Baby is an exotic dancer at Cheerleader’s Gentlemen’s Club in Philadelphia. This is her first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.
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.
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.