Amanda Stevenson: The Creative Process


Text by Amanda Stevenson, Copyright 2022


The Creative Process


Is that a painting? No, it is a photograph. This is the question I have heard during my entire 35yr. photography career. Now in 2022, I only have clients I choose that give me full creative freedom.

Let’s start from the beginning. I am an artist, I do not think linearly, my mind works in an abstract way. I sees in colors and shapes not beginning to end. I was fortunate to have a fashion model as a mother so I was influenced by a creative field that could bring home the bacon and still be creative.

The creative side: I am fulfilled when I can explore the unknown and respond to the situation (did I just write my true self realized). It is like a puzzle. How can I create a photograph with a set, models, products, weather conditions, clients requests, egos, budgets and deadlines. This may not appear to be a creative process. As I write it, does seem more like a business negotiation. It is artistic, because we are in the moment creating and everything is evolving. I can create a photo set up in my controlled studio. Take notes, calculate the light and can document every angle and the next day it is different. I can’t explain it but it is never exactly the same. It is the unknown element. Maybe it’s the weather, the position of the moon, maybe it is everyone’s mood, maybe a bad hair day or the chemistry of the people I are working with.

Life is always shifting. Maybe it is just a new day and a different perspective. The plus side is that when I work with a creative team and creative directors, it evolves and we find our voice together. It may not be like the original layout but it’s better because it is ours as a team.

My Advice: In the beginning I tried to produce/create what I thought my clients wanted like a spread sheet. But the truth was they didn’t really know, they are looking for my inspiration. It is a creative process. Who knows what can happen. Create what you see and feel and you will be rewarded by using your own vision and delivering above exceptions.

What does this have to do with art and photography. Stay true to your self, take risks, stay in your power. Enjoy and respect your creative process. 


About The Author: Amanda Stevenson is a professional photographer having over 25 years of experience. Amanda uses her diligent nature and artistic vision to collaborate with her clients to display the still and video imagery in various publications and exhibitions around the world. To learn more about Amanda Stevenson photographic services, click here


Portraits of Amanda Stevenson by Tony Ward. Creative Direction by KVaughn. Photographers assistant, Anthony Colagreco.  Copyright 2022.

Katie Kerl: The Long Haul


Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2022


The Long Haul


I am trying to remember the last thing I wrote here and I can not. Life is such a mind fuck. Yes, I said mind fuck. I had covid right after my father died in December and it is now March 30th. In between that time symptoms come and go every few weeks just as If I had covid again.

I write about wellness all the time, I take care of myself, I got the shots, I bought any and everything to get better. I felt absolutely insane complaining about being sick like this because not one person I knew felt that way except the one other person who got it when I did. 

Months have past, doctors called, prescriptions written, and NOTHING.

I will go for one or two weeks and be completely fine. Then taken down again.  All of this I was not fine with but it was manageable. I could not work out, and slept like a narcoleptic cat. If you know me, sleep is not really my forte. 

The thing that finally was enough? 

Standing in an upholstery store with my mother and getting chest pains across my back shoulder blades and down my arms. 

I’m standing there trying not to upset my mother who just lost my father but the pain just kept spreading.  

We ended up in the ER and the woman said this is the most common trait of long haul covid. She kind of smiled with a concerned look on her face and let me know she could give me a recommendation for a pulmonary doctor, but I would be waiting months out like everyone else. 

MONTHS you could have serious damage to your internal organs and this woman is saying months. 

I really feel for the first responders who have patients like me sitting there saying now what with zero resolution ZERO.

A week later that pain has subsided . I am still run down, but much better. 

I decided I am going to live my life freely. 

Not that I don’t now, but in a much different way. I will not waste my time doing things I do not want to do. I will see all the things I want to see, take care of my mom, make meaningful connections ,and help as many people as possible in the time that I have here. 

The fact so many people have died leads me to believe the ones who are left were meant to move on to the next phase of life. 

I am currently sitting in Atlanta at my work experience center area in Atlantic Station . Thinking how much personal work went into sitting here today. Also, how lucky I am to be in such a forward thinking company. 

On my way to the airport I passed my old job. 

Nothing had changed, the same workers, and I was no longer confined to a building. Amazing business to have the opportunity to design restaurants. I did not want to be a body in a store designing or not. 

Last night on the news they said 4 million + people quit their jobs this month. The great resignation is an ongoing thing. You can watch the United States unravel daily. People are fed up. If you play it right you can make a living on Instagram and Tik Tok. That will never be totally for me, but for the people pushing out content three times a day…. GET THAT MONEY

Did I mention we are at war??? Not that I need to tell anyone but,  It is 2022 and I feel like we may be using some of those fallout training we were made to do in elementary school. If anyone thinks for a second we’re just safe here I beg you to think again. To all of my Ukrainian friends and just the large population of Russian and Ukrainian people in the Philadelphia area. My heart goes out to both sides. People with families suffering, and ones who are being ridiculed for being Russian. When are we just going to accept PEOPLE as PEOPLE ?!?!? That is the entire point of the world catching fire the last three years. 

Start living your best life now. Not tomorrow, not when you feel better, not when you lost weight, and not when you are in a better place .

This piece is going to be as ADD as my brain. 

Anyone that has read my past pieces knows that I invest, and am into crypto. For the second time Game Stop and AMC have short squeezed. I held my AMC after trading it many times. I have watched CNBC daily for two years. The first time they said get into crypto was just a few weeks ago right after the war started. There are metaverse and crypto commercials daily on that channel. I had said to many people; crypto will run up again after the shorted stocks do.  That is not a new occurrence, more people just caught on. 

I took those gains right to my crypto. 

I am not sure why so many people hate crypto when the stock market is corrupt. If you could potentially double your business revenue from NFTs & the Metaverse are you really that averse to change you would miss out on this type of real wealth?

Teenagers are making more money than their parents because they get it, just like social media. We are going to see more digital millionaires and billionaires in our lifetime because of this.  

My company just created a metaverse, crypto coin, our own wallet, and avatars.

I highly suggest researching  blockchain, stable coins,  utility coins, transaction based, metaverse related ,and get into some of it now. 

Before some are too high to buy into . Get Kracken /Gemini apps, and get interest on your crypto and your US dollar coin. 

The Gemini dollar  is like 8% some apps up to 12% in some cases. 

You become the bank. 

One of the old school banks I had an account left in infuriated me. They blocked some of my crypto trades. The teller’s response?  “ We are trying to protect you”. Excuse me, overdraft fees ,0% on your savings ,and cards that do not work internationally just sound like they were controlling how I spend.  I have never been happier switching than when I did. 

It is two days after my 38th Birthday. Last year I was in Miami partying at Miami Music Week. Those few days always set me free. For the first time in a decade I came to the vivid realization that week was no longer for me. At least not in that way.

I still love Miami though. I went in December and did it a much different way. We went to Strawberry Moon pool ,and Dante’s HiFi. Rich Medina played an awesome vinyl set. What I took away from the two experiences; I don’t want to be at your oversold party, I do not want to get treated like a piece of meat at your table, or on your boat with strangers. I am not for sale. Granted not all of Miami is like this, but its the majority of d*ck swinging men trying to get the most pretty women to party with them. 

My goal is to own the boat.  

They say you meet people at the most unexpected times. If you would have told me I would meet someone at 3 am at a party we both didn’t intend on being at and bonding over Solana.( you would probably ask me what that is. I will let you google that and maybe it will inspire you.) It is now about to be April and he is as supportive of me, my goals, my dad’s death, being covid sick forever, and I am not easy to deal with for most people given my be yourself attitude. 

Alice crossed a Mad Hatter who was just as out there and caring as her. 

We will see how far this rabbit hole goes lol. 

I am beyond blessed and thankful for the life I have right now. 

Am I still grieving ? Absolutely

Do I still have awful reoccurring covid symptoms 100%

Did I just drop  enough money into crypto in the last four month to help all that just a bit. 

You are damn right I did. 

Tomorrow I am going to a women’s executive networking event being hosted by KewCali of the Fostered Foundation in Atlanta. It is called The Kewl Experience. One Hundred women coming together to progress forward. 

My ability to connect real people together is kind of my superpower. Sounds funny, but I owe everything I have to building relationships.

People ridicule you for going through acquaintances or friends. I will never understand that. If you do not change your circle how will you ever change your life? 

How do you grow without expanding your reach and trying new things ?

I usually have some meaningful closing to these pieces. 

Not this time. It is more of a warning. 


I do not care what you do; just START. 

As someone who decided to do just that; I can’t wait to see more people in this position. A position to design your life. Not have it dictated to you. 

While I never felt grief like this, I feel free.

No one will be taking that from me.

 I walked through my fire . I dare you to do the same.


portrait of Katie Kerl, lifestyle writer for Tony Ward Studio
Katie Kerl. Spring of 2022



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 

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click here:

Bob Shell: Hypnosis-Good or Evil?

Illustration of man having been hypnotized
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022


Hypnosis-Good or Evil?


In spite of the fact that hypnosis, originally called Mesmerism, was discovered by Anton Mesmer around 200 years ago, we still don’t know much about it or what it actually does. My father was interested in hypnosis, and had books about it that I read in my teens, but I don’t believe he ever actually tried to hypnotize anyone.

At my junior high school we once had a touring hypnotist present a program in which he did all the standard corny tricks, like making one girl go rigid and putting her across two chairs, head on one, heels on the other. He told one girl that her arm was attached to a helium balloon, and, sure enough, her arm went up over her head. He told her that the balloon would still be lifting her arm after he woke her up, and she just sat there, arm high, until he said, “you can lower your arm now.”. She started, and was amazed because she hadn’t realized her arm was up there until he told her to bring it down. 

We used to have a lot of assemblies like that, where traveling showmen would put on demonstrations. Another was “Bob Brown’s Science Circus,” that came around once a year.

Anyway, that show was my first experience with real hypnosis. I was suitably amazed and impressed, even though most of his tricks were silly.

I pretty much forgot about the subject until college, when I took a psychology course and the textbook had a section on hypnosis. I decided to give it a whirl. As it turned out, my roommate was an excellent subject and went into a trance easily. We played with it for a while, but I began to feel uncomfortable because I saw how easily it could be misused.

You’ve probably heard the statement that no one can make you do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t do otherwise. I’m here to tell you that that’s Grade A number one gold-plated bullshit! There was a famous court case in England against a doctor who was hypnotizing women and sending them out to commit robberies for him. None of those women would have done anything like that normally. But under his hypnotic command they would do anything he told them to. 

There are things about hypnosis that simply cannot be explained by conventional theory. One is the invisibility trick, in which someone is hypnotized and told that another person in the room isn’t there. When they are awakened from the trance they simply will not see that person. Not only will they not see that person, they can see through them and correctly identify objects held behind the person. You may say, “Nonsense!”. So would I until I saw this phenomenon demonstrated.

In one demonstration the hypnotist held a watch behind the “invisible” person and randomly twiddled the stem to put the hands in different positions. He then asked the subject what time the watch showed, and the subject identified it correctly every time.

Can anyone be hypnotized? I believe so, although some people are more resistant and the setting would have to be just right. There are drugs that facilitate hypnosis, but I believe that they are dangerous and could harm the subject. Similarly, I believe that hypnotizing a person too often may be harmful. 

The late Dolores Cannon hypnotized hundreds of people and wrote about her results in a series of books. She found hidden personalities under the surface personalities of her subjects. Much has been written about hypnotic regression to uncover traumatic events in a person’s past. Used carefully this can be very beneficial. But I’ve never undergone hypnosis myself, even though I’m pretty sure there was a major traumatic event in my childhood, because at this point in my life I’m just not sure it would do me any good to know what happened way back then. After all, at 72 I’m pretty set in my ways!


 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:  

Bob Shell: Fixing Forensics

Forensics lab technician working on a case
Lab Technician. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022


Fixing Forensics


I urge anyone who believes that our American justice system works to get a copy of the November/December DISCOVER magazine. On page 40 you will find an article with the same title as this post. Basically, the article says that real scientists have found that ‘forensic science’ is largely hogwash – to put it politely.
The article talks about Keith Harward, who spent 33 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, convicted with junk science. In his case an ‘expert’ testified that Harward’s bite marks matched those on a rape and murder victim. After 33 years, the Innocence Project had DNA testing done that showed Harward was innocent and pointed the finger at another man. But it should never have taken 33 years. Is that justice? Bite mark comparison has now been completely discredited as evidence.
If you watch CSI and NCIS on TV, you get the impression that their techniques are infallible. But that simply is not true. The Innocence Project documented 25 false convictions based on bite mark comparison. There are probably many more.
What about fingerprints? Aren’t they conclusive? In one case, examiners matched the fingerprints of an unidentified corpse with those of a woman whose prints were on file, and notified her mother of her death. The mother grieved and prepared for a funeral. Luckily, the woman turned up in California before her funeral. The fingerprint match was just wrong!
The FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield for involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombing that killed 191 people. The arrest was based on fingerprints found on an explosive-filled bag at the scene of the explosion.
Fortunately for him, Mayfield had not been out of the country in ten years and could prove it. But the FBI had said the fingerprint match was “100 percent” and “verified,” before having to eat their words and release Mayfield.
Scientists showed fingerprint analysts pairs of prints they’d testified were 100 percent matches without telling them they’d seen the prints before. Most of the examiners said the prints didn’t match or were inconclusive! That was 15 years ago, and every study done since has produced similar results.
There’s much more, and I urge everyone concerned with justice to read the article.
Hundreds of people are in American prisons based on false forensic testimony, and I am one of them. It is long past time that something is done about this travesty.


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: 

Tony Ward: Highlight of Summer 2021

Thunderbirds in the sky in Atlantic City July 2021
Thunderbirds. Atlantic City, NJ. August 18th, 2021

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021


Highlight of Summer 2021


Like most of us I too am looking forward to leaving 2021 behind.  It was another year of Covid to contend with not to mention the economic, social and political  turmoil its caused.  For a moment though on August 18th, 2021, a mid point of the year seemed to have reached a peak. Not for a spike of new covid cases.  No . This peak was one of fun and pure joy as hundreds of thousands of people journeyed to the Jersey shore for the annual Atlantic City Airshow. It was definitely my favorite highlight of the summer.

My son Julian Ward came up with the idea of attending the airshow. He planned the perfect place to meet up with family and friends. Julian carefully choreographed where we were to meet on the beach in front of Bally’s Beach Bar and BBQ. It was a sunny day in the open air with a slight breeze.  Not a soul was wearing a mask. It was perfect weather to enjoy an assortment of old and new airplanes including our newest fighter jets maneuvers  thrilling the crowd with surgical precision. 

I shot the footage of this video clip using a combination of my I-Phone and a Sony mirrorless RX100V mirrorless camera. Julian edited the clip brilliantly in I-Movie.   The Thunderbirds of course were my favorite. This clip is a most see. Enjoy!



Tony Ward in Atlantic City with daughter Racquel and son Julian Ward
Tony Ward with two of his children, Racquel and Chanel Ward. August 18th, 2021.


About The Author: Tony Ward is the publisher and editor of Tony Ward Studio blog.