Behind The Scene: With Kasheem “The Dream” Peterson


Photographs by Al B For, Copyright 2024

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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Behind The Scene:  With Kasheem “The Dream” Peterson

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This shoot brought back a lot of memories.  It started with a text from a very good friend of mine that recommended that I take a call from a guy who he thought I would find interesting to photograph.  His name is Kasheem Peterson.  I said ok I’ll respond should he try to contact me.  Sure enough he did. Within minutes after responding to my friend’s recommendation Kasheem did indeed reach out.  He said that he needed some new photographs and that he was in the adult film business.  That statement was what brought back the memories of decades past when I was producing content for Penthouse and other high end adult magazines.   Kasheem was well up to the task and made the transition from clothed to unclothed in the blink of an eye.

He arrived ahead of schedule.  Which is always a good sign.  He was polite, friendly, confident and ready to rock the set with a body that was defined by years of conditioning, discipline and lots of work in the gym.  Instead of making him feel comfortable, he made the crew feel at ease while we produced some fabulous photographs for an industry in which he has become a Star.

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To learn more about Kasheem Peterson, link here: https://tonyward.com/feature-kasheem-the-dream-peterson/

War: Is Netanyahu Ready For Peace?

surrealistic-portrait-of-Benjamin-Netanyahu-in-a-cubist-style-composed-exclusively-of-squares-and-circles.-The-portrait-should-feature-Netanyahus
Benjamin Netanyahu. Generated by A.I. 2024

War: Is Netanyahu Ready For Peace

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Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Israel, has been a polarizing figure in Israeli and global politics. While some hail him as a steadfast leader who has bolstered Israel’s security and economy, others argue that his prolonged tenure has been detrimental to the country’s democratic fabric, its societal cohesion, and its international standing. The case for Netanyahu’s removal from power is compelling for several reasons, including allegations of corruption, his divisive politics, and his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Firstly, the corruption charges against Netanyahu undermine his credibility and the integrity of the Israeli government. Netanyahu has faced multiple investigations and charges, including bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. These allegations not only tarnish his personal reputation but also cast a shadow over the political system he leads. The ongoing legal battles have distracted the government from addressing pressing issues such as the economy, healthcare, and national security. A leader embroiled in such controversies cannot effectively govern or inspire public confidence, making a change in leadership necessary to restore trust in the government.

Secondly, Netanyahu’s political strategy has often relied on divisive tactics that have exacerbated societal divisions within Israel. His tenure has seen increased polarization between different segments of Israeli society, including secular and religious Jews, Jews and Arabs, and left-wing and right-wing factions. Netanyahu’s rhetoric and policies have sometimes fueled these divisions, prioritizing short-term political gains over long-term national unity. This divisiveness weakens the social fabric and hinders collective efforts to address common challenges. A leader who fosters unity rather than division is essential for Israel to move forward cohesively.

Thirdly, Netanyahu’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has drawn significant criticism both domestically and internationally. His hardline stance and expansion of settlements in the West Bank have been major obstacles to peace negotiations. These policies not only strain Israel’s relations with its neighbors but also with its allies, particularly the United States and European Union, who have repeatedly called for a two-state solution. The lack of progress toward a peaceful resolution perpetuates instability and violence, adversely affecting both Israelis and Palestinians. A new leadership approach is needed to break the deadlock and pursue a viable path to peace.

Moreover, Netanyahu’s extended grip on power raises concerns about democratic principles and the health of Israel’s political system. Long-term incumbency can lead to the concentration of power, weakening democratic institutions and processes. Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken the judiciary, control the media, and marginalize political opponents indicate an erosion of democratic norms. For a vibrant democracy, regular leadership changes are crucial to ensure accountability, transparency, and responsiveness to the people’s needs.

In conclusion, while Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure has had its share of achievements, the arguments for his removal from power are substantial. Corruption charges, divisive politics, a stalled peace process, and threats to democratic integrity highlight the need for new leadership. Removing Netanyahu from power would provide an opportunity to restore public trust, heal societal divisions, reinvigorate the peace process, and strengthen democratic institutions in Israel.

Behind The Scenes: KVaughn Summer Linen Collection 2024


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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KVaughn Summer Linen Collection 2024

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Photography by Al B For, Copyright 2024

I thoroughly enjoyed hosting KVaughn’s  100% linen scarf collection photo shoot for summer 2024.  Veteran photographer Ted Kawalerski was the first to arrive driving in from Sleepy Hollow, New York.  Since he was a little early we had breakfast and started to plan out his shooting strategy.  He and  I have been talking about KVaughn’s extraordinary work and for this shoot Ted wanted to participate  because he knew there would be great fashion to photograph and amazing portraits to produce. Matt Sampson aka The Sneaker King and the rest of the crew followed shortly afterwards including KV’s creative assistant  Milton White,  photographer Brian Hunt drove his large van filled with camera and lighting equipment  and  his son aspiring model Larson Hunt enjoyed being photographed by all of the talented photographers on hand. Many thanks to my man AL B  for his amazing video and still work as well as photographer Isiah from Blacklight Studios.

Video Clip by AlB For. Copyright 2024

 

Kareem Black: Interview

Portrait of celebrity and lifestyle photographer Kareem Black by Tony Ward copyright 2024
Kareem Black. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Kareem Black: Interview

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TW: Do photographers continue to drop off print portfolios these days to potential clients, or is that way of getting assignments a thing of the past?

KB: I think there is no one way of showing work. I think that these days most photographers do prepared digital presentations on an Ipad or laptop.. I personally really like having a really nicely printed analog book and promo pieces.. one of the reasons I like this technique is specifically because most people aren’t doing it that way. I do also have a digital presentation that can augment the analog stuff. But, at the end of the day, each photographer chooses his or her own way really.

TW: Can a NYC photographer make it without an agent or does word of mouth continue to be an effective business strategy?

KB: I’d say that there isn’t one way for doing these things. I have done both and also a hybrid of both. When I didn’t have an agent, I would hire agents to negotiate my fee once I got a client that was calling and inquiring about a big job. I don’t like to negotiate about my work and then be on set with the same people I was just negotiating with. I like to be the good cop. Also, I think it really helps to have someone on your side that is current on all the legalities and usage ratios and concepts. I take pictures.. I want someone on my team that deals well with all of that other stuff, That being said, I know photographers and other artists that are wildly successful without agents. i’ve just preferred to do it the other way.

TW: What is the responsibility of a photographers agent?

KB: Well, Ideally and most importantly they deal with all the technicalities.. usage, percentages, being the bad cop in negotiations. I want my agents to know more people than i do. I want thoier scope of the politics of the industry to be wider than mine.. or at least different. I want them at the parties im not at. i want them to be working while i sleep ha. Contracts are so complex these days that i NEED them and the team at teh agency to be able to make sense of all the legalese. Agents are meant to make the photographers job easier.. The photographer’s job is to be a photographer.. not a lawyer or any such thing. Photographers are problem solvers and I think it’s logical to delegate the responsibilies that we may not be the best at.I deally the agent is another set or sets of eyes on the photographers work. Sometimes agents see trends in the industry that we as photographers don’t. There are many photographers who have work that begins

TW: Do you own the copyright to your images? Or do you or your agent sign work for hire agreements?

KB: Depends on the usage for the job. In most cases yes, I own the copywrite.. but part of usage negotiations are exactly that. Most of the time it is not an outright buyout in perpetuity.. Clients usually dont do that because it’s costly. Most of the time they negotiate an exclusive arrangement that overs a set amount of time (2 year exclusives seem to be popular). Fun example: I shot a campaign for MGM Grand right before the pandemic hit. there was a two year exclusive on those images.. Meaning, the brand could do whatever they wanted with those images within that time frame. the images were of lots of beautiful people having a good time in the enclosed space of the casino. the pandemic hit and all those kinds of images could not be used.. They just weren’t a realistic portrayal of what the world was like during lock down. Once the pandemic subsided, MGM wanted to used them.. but by this point the 2 year exclusive had expired and they had to pay me my fee AGAIN to use the images! free money is the best kind!

TW: How often do you ask your subjects for model releases and in what context?

KB:  Most of my subjects tend to be celebrities or people who we casted specifically for the job. The releases in those cases are handled by the line producer at the agency or magazine. If I’m shooting ” real” people, I generally ask them to sign a release depending on what’s going on on the shoot.

TW: How much can a photographer expect to earn for a billboard ad on Times Square?

KB: Well, its not really calculated in that way. fees are usually a product of usage ( where the ad will run and for how long ) If the ad is running in Times Square, its likely that it is running elsewhere and the usage has some detail in it that says the ad can be used outdoors etc. So, it kind of runs the gamut.. the first as I shot that ran in Times Square I think I was paid just a few thousand dollars.. I got a 70k day rate for another.

TW: Has AI had an impact on your workflow regarding commissioned assignments?

KB: Not in a major way. I do use the Adobe Ai in photoshop on occasion.. “Generative fill” certainly saves time in retouching. I feel that AI is a buzz word that encompases a bunch of stuff.. most of which isn’t “artificial intelligence” and most of which has been with us in some form for a long while.

TW: For celebrities, do you prefer to shoot in studio or location?

KB: Both. Either. All of the above depends on the story that needs to be told.

TW: Who is or was the most influential photographer that inspires your creative ambitions?

KB: Too many to mention really. inspiration is everywhere if you seek it out. I LOVE William Eggleston, Avedon, Guy Bourdin is probably my favorite photographer of all time. I love Kwaku Alston, Terry Richardson, David LaChappelle, Tony Ward, Matthew Salacuse, Brooke Nipar, Guy Aroch and many many others.

TW:  If you were to pick one assignment that you’ve had thus far, which one would you say was your favorite and why?

KB: I really think that when I shot the 2017 trade campaign for Viacom that was a really big statement for me. It’s one of the biggest shoots I’ve ever done and one of the most fun. For two weeks I shot in ads  NYC and LA for ALL the Viacom properties. Viacom  ( now Paramount )  was MTV, VH1, BET, Cartoon Network, Country Music channel etc. the assignment was to shoot one celeb from each property each in complete and subversive situations.. This involved multiple set builds and hundreds of extras.. Lots of moving parts, VERY challenging. This shoot felt like something that I was training for for all of my career. ALL, the skills that i had acquired ended up being used on that shoot. and I love the way the work came out.

TW: You are an excellent karaoke performer.  How did you get into it and what do you like most about stage performance?

KB: I’ve learned many life lessons from Karaoke: the concept of selling an idea, getting people on your side, convincing people to be excited about what you’re excited about and finally, being able to just let go! That’s Karaoke. there are many ideas that Karaoke taught me that are VERY applicable to my professional photography. including how to run a set with dozens of people on it. Being a photographer can sometimes be like being on stage! 

I got into Karaoke through a friend of mine named Chris Goldteeth,  who ran a party here in the city on the Lower East side called Karaoke Killed the Cat. It was an amazing party and we even went on a world tour in 2007!

TW: If you were to make a comparison to your photography business and your chess game, what is your next move? 

KB: Chess has long been seen as a game that is a measure of intellect and intelligence. This is NOT true. Many chess players are idiots. Chess is more about pattern recognition and prioritization.

Chess teaches us to be creative in our solutions and being able to think and put yourself in your opponents shoes.. In that way, chess teaches a form of empathy. Chess also teaches patience.

In chess, one should never make a move without a reason. Good chess is very efficient that way. Energy and time should not be wasted on extra actions. When it comes to my career, I think many of these principles apply. I think I’ve played a good game so far. I think the overall strategy is: identifying patterns and trends, applying knowledge you have learned from past games and being aware of how they fit into the games of today and being able to adjust actions to fit current circumstances. Chess theory grows and evolves over time.  Yhe more we learn ,  the more novel concepts are introduced into the game. We must be flexible and tolerant of new ideas.. This applies to chess, life and photography.

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To access Behind The Scenes videos of the Kareem Black feature, check out our new YouTube channel here:

 

Behind The Scenes: Kareem Black Feature


Behind The Scenes: Kareem Black Feature

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Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

BTS Photography: Steve Feldman, Copyright 2024

BTS Video: Ted Kawalerski, Copyright 2024

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I’ll never forget when I first met Kareem Black in 1997. He was a student at SVA School of Visual Arts in New York. While finishing up his photography training at SVA he made an appointment to visit me at my studio in Philadelphia to ask my advice on becoming a professional photographer.  He often reminds me that I was the first real photographer that he met. During one of his visits, I asked him to model for a picture for an upcoming book, called Tableaux Vivant’s. The picture is one of my favorites from the book, of which Kareem received a copy during his visit.

Kareem Black in The Figure. From Tony Ward's book of Tableaux Vivants
The Figure. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024.

Our meeting had an impact because when he left SVA and started a career as a pro, he took off! Kareem and I have stayed in touch remarkably 25 years later, and this month of May 2024 I’ve decided to reach out and celebrate his success by inviting back to his home town for a feature shoot.  Kareem was thrilled.  So was I and the results of the cover shoot speaks for itself.

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To access more behind the scenes with photographer Kareem Black, check out our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/0UEYAERF1IM