Category Archives: Art

Bob Shell: Art of Rope

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Bob Shell: Art of Rope

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #16

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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Just how did the book Erotic Bondage: Art of Rope come about? Basically, it was Marion’s idea. She’d been looking at my collection of books, including Tony’s Obsession, Petter Hegre’s My Wife, Ralph Gibson’s Deus Ex Machina, Lee Higgs’s Generation Fetish, and others (all confiscated by the cops, none returned, most of them signed copies given to me by the photographers) and decided she wanted The Marion Book. She was heavily into sexual bondage, said she had the most intense orgasms when restrained. She’d shown me a bunch of Polaroid snaps of her bound taken by an old boyfriend. The photography and rigging were amateurish, but she still shined. She also described the bondage sessions she’d done with a recent boyfriend, and complained that he tied the ropes too tight. So I began shooting some bondage sessions with her, something new to me. Oh, I’d played around with handcuffs and such with a few models, but nothing hardcore. I then built a suspension frame, incorporating suggestions from her dad, and built a couple of sets. It was then that I discovered rainbowrope.com, where I found nice soft 1/4 inch Nylon rope in all sorts of colors. I bought a bunch of rope from them as well as some props like an old style dental clamp that Marion fell in love with. We commenced shooting for the book each week after my other obligations were out of the way. After we had some pictures we really liked. I went looking for a publisher. I didn’t think an American publisher would be interested. so I went looking in Germany, where several of my books had been published. My main German publisher was a wing of the Vatican, so I didn’t take this project to them! After several dead ends, I found a publisher, and we began to rough the book out – and then that publisher went bust. I was discouraged, but this had happened before, and so I started over. If I had all the money publishers have gone broke owing me, I might have been as wealthy as the prosecutor thought!

I talked to Lee Higgs and he put me in touch with his publisher in Germany, Goliath. They loved the project and over the course of a year or so we put the book together. In fact they liked it so much that they decided to make it the first of a series under a new imprint, MixOfPix. In the middle of this process Marion died. I was very conflicted about going on with the project, but Marion’s best friend Samantha had seen the photos (and was in some) and said Marion would have wanted me to finish the project, and her other friends I talked to felt the same, I felt they were right, so I hired other models to do the shoots we’d planned and sketched, and finished the book. That I published under my Edward Lee pseudonym had nothing to do with Marion’s death, but had been the plan from the beginning. I had some very straight-laced clients at the time and wanted to keep things separate.

The prosecutor implied that I’d made a lot of money from the book. As photographers who have done picture books will tell you, you do not get rich from this type of book. I did not do a detailed accounting, but by the time I figured in model’s fees, cost of set building, and all the other expenses of doing the shoots for the book, I might just have broken even. I did have some quiet support from photo industry companies, and a cheering section from my dear old friend Monte Zucker, who gleefully showed me the gay bondage he was shooting and critiqued the images for me. But, no matter what the prosecutor implied, I was not rolling in money from this project. The book is out of print now, and my royalties ended long ago, but I’m told it is available from Amazon.

Marion also wanted a website along with the book. She’d been inspired by boundndetermined.com, the website owned by my friend Maria Shadoes, and wanted to call hers bound2bwild.com. I’d registered the name and Maria and I were working on the design. Maria made a good living from the websites she owned and webmastered and was to be our webmaster. All those plans came to naught, though. Marion’s website never went live. So many plans and dreams died with her.

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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 at Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Mr. Shell is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-15/

 

Also posted in Blog, Books, Cameras, Documentary, Erotica, Popular Culture, Portraiture, women

Cover Shoot: July 2018

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TWS Cover Shoot: July 2018

 

Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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To see additional pictures from the Catherine Trifiletti Lookbook Summer 2018, click herehttp://tonyward.com/portfolio/catherine-trifiletti-2018-lookbook/

 

Also posted in Cameras, Documentary, Erotica, Fetish, Glamour, Models, News, Photography, Popular Culture, women

Announcement: Community Festival at Pennsylvania Convention Center

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CC PACC June 30th West Wing Art Tours Ad_festival

West Wing Art Tours

 
 
In partnership with Wawa Welcome America, the Center is opening its doors for the 1st time to the public this Saturday, June 30th, from 12pm – 5pm for free, self-guided art tours of our newly installed $1.5 million West Wing Art Collection. Enter on Broad Street with last entry at 4:30pm. We are also hosting a Community Festival in our Grand Hall with free, fun-filled activities for all. We hope you can join us & “Make It A Day” by also enjoying Reading Terminal Market’s “Philly Ice Cream Scoop” & PAFA’s “Free Museum Day”. 
 
This will be an exciting afternoon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center tomorrow. I will be set up in front of my permanent installation of the House of Prayer portraits on the ground floor of the west wing from 12:00PM to 5:00 PM. I hope to see you there!
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Also posted in Exhibits, Popular Culture

Catherine Trifiletti: Lookbook Summer 2018

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Catherine Trifiletti: Lookbook Summer 2018

 

 

To access the Catherine Trifiletti Lookbook for Summer 2018, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/gallery/catherine-trifiletti-design/

 

Also posted in Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Fetish, Glamour, Models, News, Popular Culture, women

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #14

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Photo of Marion Franklin by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

 

 

Letters From Prison: Part 14, 2018

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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I should explain my reactions on being arrested. I was raised to believe the police were my friends. My father, a TV news reporter, had many friends on the Roanoke force, and one of my cousins was a police chief. So I’d been around policemen all my life and was comfortable with them. So when the Radford police arrested me I talked to them honestly and figured they’d quickly realize they had it all wrong and drop the charges. Wrong!

When I first got to know Marion in early 2002, she was very open with me that she was a druggie. Said she’d been a “pill freak” since the age of 13. Called herself a “walking PDR” (PDR is the Physician’s Desk Reference, a big book that includes information on all prescription drugs, what they are used for, and pictures of all pills, capsules, etc.). Marion could identify almost all pills and capsules on sight. She was also a pot smoker, on pretty much a daily basis. I wasn’t concerned about the marijuana, because I knew it wouldn’t hurt her, but did have some concerns about the pills. Back in the late 60s I’d known Dr. Humphrey Osmond, a researcher at NIMH in Bethesda. He had a project in which he gave people money to buy street drugs and bring them to him. Then his lab would analyze them to see if they were really what they were sold as, and if not, what was really in them. Not surprisingly, many were not what the sellers claimed they were, and some contained pretty nasty stuff, like belladonna, formaldehyde, etc. According to studies I’ve read, the situation is even worse today. A fairly high percentage of “X” sold today is something other than MDMA, the real substance that’s called “Ecstasy.”. MDMA is a so-called “super amphetamine,” and even the real stuff can be dangerous because it spikes body temperature and blood pressure.

Anyway, the question was asked, “did you ever give Marion drugs?”. The honest answer was yes. Marion was taking Valium, and so was I. We both had prescriptions from our doctors, hers in North Carolina, mine in Virginia. Did I have any proof that she had a prescription? All I know is that she would periodically go home to North Carolina and come back with a big prescription bottle full and the label had her name on it. Anyway, she ran out one time and couldn’t go home to get a refill right away so I gave her some of mine to fill the gap. You might think “No big deal!”. But you’d be wrong. I got a one year sentence for that. Did I ever give Marion any other prescription or illegal drugs? Emphatically no! And I’ve offered to take a polygraph exam on that (or any other questions), but the prosecution turned down my offer. Polygraph results are not admissible in court in Virginia, anyway, but it would have been nice to demonstrate that I’ve told the truth from day one.

What about the marijuana? I never bought any for her, but I did pay her for modeling and studio assisting, and I’m sure she spent some of her money on marijuana and pills. Her supplier, a college student named Rob, came to my trial and testified that he’d supplied her with pot, pills, and cocaine. But he said he was not a drug dealer, just a guy who got drugs for her (!). In spite of this admission made under oath in court, he was never charged with anything!

When they searched my studio the police found in Marion’s purse her pipe and the plastic box she carried her stash in, and ignored them. The detective said that they weren’t interested. After my 1969 experience in Richmond, that really surprised me. What a turnaround in those years!

Shortly before her death, Marion had gone to Florida to spend a week with friends near Orlando, had gone to some sort of concert/party/rave and came back with some pills sold to her as X. She’d taken some at the party and said she thought it wasn’t really X. I told her to throw them away, and thought she had. I’ll talk more about those suspect pills another time.

(How many of you know that, at least in Virginia, if you pick up someone else’s prescription medications from a pharmacy, you are violating the law? I was in court for a hearing one time. The person ahead of me was a frightened young woman who had been caught with her grandfather’s pills during a traffic stop. She was facing six years in prison! I don’t know how her case turned out because the judge didn’t drop the charges at the hearing, and sent her off to jail. That’s insane!)

Since Richard Nixon pushed the “War on Drugs” all his successors have followed suit, persecuting drug users but little else. Sure, they make a big splash now and then arresting people like Pablo Escobar and “El Chapo,” but that barely dents the river flowing across our borders. The government should have learned with the Volstead Act and the “Hooch War” of the 1920s that prohibition does not work. As long as there is a demand, someone will fill it.

As far as Marion’s drug use, I figured that she would outgrow it, as I had. By the late 1970s I had completely given up on drugs and considered them time wasters. I was just too busy. I even gave up alcohol, except to nurse a single Campari and soda all evening when appearances demanded.

Marion and I went to several parties when she accompanied me to Las Vegas for a photo industry trade show in 2003. She loved it, all the glitz and glitter. At a party at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, she was delighted to meet a very drunk Val Kilmer, who was a Nikon spokesman at the time. There’s a picture of us taken by Vladimir Samarin, Editor of Photomagazin in Moscow, at another party on that trip on the opening page of bobshelltruth. com……

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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 at Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Mr. Shell is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-13/

 

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Erotica, Fetish, Models, Nudes, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, women