Category Archives: Books

Bob Shell: Bondage?

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Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #31

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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BONDAGE?

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Why are “straight” people so freaked out over bondage? That’s a real puzzle to me. Here in the enlightened Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC), all bondage photos/videos are classified as “violent.”. That would come as a surprise to the thousands of couples who employ bondage as part of their sex play, and buy their bondage gear and sex toys at the local shopping mall or on line. In England the big Sainsbury’s supermarket chain just announced that they will begin selling a selection of sex toys.

Sure, restraining an unwilling person is a violent act, but when both people, Dom and Sub (or Top and Bottom in today’s terminology), are voluntary participants, where’s the violence? Only in the eye of the beholder. And who else’s business is it, anyway?

I can attest to the fact that there was no violence in the 100+ bondage photos I shot for my bondage book. The only violence was violent fits of laughter that the models and I sometimes fell victim to. We laughed until we cried.

Not long ago I had an issue of Vogue confiscated as contraband. You heard right, Vogue, the 126 year old fashion and culture magazine. Why? Bondage. One of the advertisements showed a full page photo of two young women playfully wrapping stockings around one another. That’s bondage? Yep, in the eyes of the VDOC it is. Even though the mailroom censors approved the magazine and gave it to me, I still got a “possession of contraband” charge for having it!

At the same time in the buildup to Halloween this year several cable channels that we get showed movies in which involuntary bondage, usually of nubile females, played a part. I don’t even have a TV, but just passing by the big pod TV put these images before me. Talk about violence! The old “damsel in distress,” (Little Nell tied to a railroad track by Snidely Whiplash, waiting for Dudley Doright to come to the rescue), still attracts viewers, and if she’s mostly naked, so much the better. I’ve got news for the VDOC, I’ve never tied Little Nell, or anyone else, to a railroad track! And seeing two women playfully wrapping stockings around each other only brings a chuckle from me. It never even occurred to me that anyone could look at that playful image and see violent bondage

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If people want to tie each other up, and there’s no force or coercion, whose business is it besides theirs? Even if for sex? So fucking what?!!

For some time the Fifty Shades of Grey books were on the VDOC’s disapproved publications list, but after a while and many complaints, the Publication Review Committee (PRC) changed that and now our libraries can have them. Out of curiosity I read all three books. They’re awful! How they became best sellers is beyond me. But, awful as they are, they should never have been disapproved for anything other than bad writing and saccharine plotting!

Even having something like a publication review committee strikes me as very un-American. You know, the old First Amendment and all that. The current disapproved publications list is many pages long in small print! And they pay people to be on the PRC!

My first bondage photography was with a beautiful young woman who modeled as Elkie Cooper. She’d been referred to me by a photographer friend in DC, and had just turned 18. She says I was her first real photographer. I photographed her for years. I loved her sense of humor; Her website said, “Elkie Cooper, The Other White Meat,” parodying the pork industry’s slogan. I hadn’t even thought about bondage until she sent me some bondage photos of her that another photographer had made. So we tried a bondage session, and got some good images. The only photos in my bondage book made on film are the photos of her. She also appears in the Rotovision book Erotic Photography, to which I contributed several images. A little later that year I booked Maria Shadoes for a shoot, not realizing she was heavily into bondage. She brought her friend Heather along, and I made a bunch of light bondage photos of the two of them. I wanted some of them in my bondage book, but the publisher didn’t like them and they were cut. Maybe someday I’ll do Volume Two and include them.

Then along came Marion and changed everything. I’d never before had a romantic relationship with a model. Of course there is always a measure of sexual tension between photographer and model, and that, in my experience, energizes the session and the resulting images. Some of the best nude photographs ever made are those of Charis Wilson that Edward Weston made, and, of course, they were lovers off camera. Weston’s best are full of erotic tension, even when they’re just bell peppers! I like to think that a similar tension inhabits my best photographs of Marion, bondage or not. To me, and I believe her previous boyfriends, Marion was sexual energy personified. She was like a runaway generator, shooting sparks to anyone nearby, male or female. She couldn’t have turned this off, even if she tried. Only one model I’ve worked with even came close, Tina Marie. Put her together with Marion, as we did, and the energy took over the photo shoot and comes through in those images.

I feel like I was at the peak of my creativity and craft in those bondage and fetish photographs I was making from 2002 until 2007. Then the state shut me down. Maybe one day I will be able to pick up where I left off. I’ve still got a lot of ideas for new images. Just set me free and I’ll go to it!

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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 for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Shell was recently moved from Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia to River North Correctional Center 329 Dellbrook Lane Independence, VA 24348.  Mr. Shell continues to claim his innocence. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-the-evolution-of-photography/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Erotica, Fetish, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, women

2018: The Year in Covers

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December 31, 2018

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Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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As 2018 draws to a close, I would like to thank all of my contributing writers, associates and affiliates for the many compelling articles I’ve had the pleasure of posting over the past year. This gallery of covers represents the diversity of articles and creative talent I’ve had the blessing to work with over the past twelve months, as we converged on a variety of topics ranging from politics to art. The 2018 contributors list includes: Kathryn Brooks, Summer Thomkins, KVaughn, Stanek Gallery, George Krause, Catherine Trifiletti, A.H. Scott, Bob Shell, Mikala Mikrut, Suzaan Talib, Robert Asman, Ed Simmons, Thomcat23, and our newest contributing writer, Katie Kerl.

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

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Perfect Holiday Gifts: Fashion Fetish 25 Years. Available in Store!

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Tony_Ward_new_book_Fashion_Fetish_25_Years_in_Store

Fashion Fetish 25 Years

 

 

FASHION FETISH 25 YEARS now available in Storehttp://tonywarderotica.com/store/

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With introduction by A.H. Scott.  Copyright 2018

 

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Now Available in Store: Fashion Fetish 25 Years!

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Fashion Fetish 25 Years

 

 

Studio News:

Fashion Fetish 25 Years.  Introduction by A.H. Scott: Now taking orders in limited edition of 500 copies. Click here to enter Storehttp://tonywarderotica.com/store/

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

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Fashion Fetish 25 Years: Now Available!

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FASHION FETISH 25 YEARS: ORDER NOW!

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Now taking orders for this special limited edition print run of 500 copies on superior quality, Proline Pearl Photo 140# paper stock.  Standard portrait size, image wrap cover 8 x 10 in, 21 x 26 cm. 240 pages. Each copy sold is printed to order, signed and numbered until the edition is sold out. U.S. customers please allow 14 days for printing and delivery. International customers please allow 30 days for printing and delivery. Click here to enter check out: http://tonyward.com/shopping-cart/books-bonus-gift/#gallery/537ab8257ae5dd811ebdcab8cff3523a/102/cart

I would like to thank all of the incredible models, editors, stylists, magazines and companies that made this book possible! 

In order of appearance:

Mikala Mikrut, Alice Chaillou, A.H. Scott, Titziana, Michelle Seidman, Anthony Goaslin, Pascale Descance, Bill Weiting, Ayesha, Dana Rochelle, Sandy Ward, Sharon Franklin, Monica Miraglilo, Marita, Paul Mojica, Deborah Shaw, Richard Elms, Ingrid Cesares, Lee Henshaw, Sandra Bauer, Angelique, Wendy Taw, Nami, Vibe Magazine, Scott & Richard, Bob & Becky Marker, Deann, Paulette Fallon, Bobbi Eden, Kianna Dior, Shay Sights, Rachel Louise, Kelly, Holly Singelyn, David, Savanna, Hallie, David & Devon, Diana Desiderio, Tyson Beckford, Thandie Newton, Quincy Jones, Keith Murray, Heidi & Michelle, Andrea Suwa, Blend Magazine, BLVD Magazine, Lilian DeJong, Steffi, Justine Bakker, Ivita Rence, Jana, Anna Borleffs, Allison Dunlap, Dagmar Rose, Ettore Salon, Elizabeth Southward, Jennifer Cole, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vault Productions, Domina Barbie, Jilian Nonemacher, Leg Show Magazine, Isabella Reneaux, Esther Young, Sascha Lilic, Spoon Magazine, Neiman Marcus, Penthouse Magazine, Natascha, Emina Cunmulaj, Sonya Bright, Tony Ward (the model), GQ Magazine, Thomas Kramer, Park Avenue Magazine, Guinevere Van Seenus, Atomic Bombshell, Catherine Trifilleti Design, Alex Wagner, Louva, Alejandra Guerrero, Floore Jansen, Kimberly Kane, Jennie Shapiro, Maggie Stein, Delicious Corsets, Taboo Magazine, Rachel V, Ashlynn Brooke, Bonnie Rotten, Jessica Saint, Jennifer Lester, K Vaughn, Aradia Ardor, Kevin Stewart, Becky Marker, Katie Kerl.

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