Category Archives: Cameras

Bob Shell: Old Age and Taxes

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

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 Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #25

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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OLD AGE AND TAXES

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Taxes: we all hate ’em, but we all pay ’em. Right? I’ve recently read an article about Sweden, where they’re getting rid of property taxes. They’ve reasoned that as long as the state can force you to pay property taxes, and take your property if you don’t pay them, no one can really own property. I’ve always felt that way. Once I buy and pay for something, it should be mine, period! Well, now it’s darned nice to find a country’s government agreeing with me.

I’ve watched too many poor rural people forced to sell homes and farms that have been in families for generations because of “yuppification” of rural areas and great increases in property taxes. And cities and towns are the same. Taxes on the house I bought in the early 90s are now more than five times what they were when I bought the place. To me, that’s just unreasonable. Of course, as long as I’m in prison I pay no taxes on property, but when I get out I’ll get a whopping bill for back taxes! A bill I sure won’t be able to pay.

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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The state, by prosecuting me, destroyed my thriving photography and writing business. I lost my studio and other things too numerous to count. When I get out I’ll have no business, no income. Sure, I’ll get Social Security, but that won’t be much, since I’ve been removed from the workforce for ten years. I don’t know how I’ll live, much less pay taxes. I hate to play the age card, but I’m 71 now. Maybe after a certain age people should be exempt from paying taxes. Or at least old people who are forced to try to live on Social Security and other government benefits. Is that unreasonable?

Unfortunately, the article I read didn’t say how Sweden plans to make this work. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more details.

When you think about it, property taxes are a throwback to the old feudal system where the king or lord owned everything and the serf paid dearly for the right to scrabble a living from a little plot of land. So long as the local government can take your property for nonpayment of taxes, you don’t own that property, they do!

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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I saw a more honest version of all this when I was in Malaysia. I asked one of our hosts how expensive it would be to buy property there, because I’d noticed that a lot of British retirees lived there (it used to be a British colony). She looked at me like I’d asked an incredibly stupid question, and explained that it is impossible to buy land there, because all belongs to the King. When she saw my puzzlement, she explained that you get a 99 year lease from the government or buy out an existing lease. Sounded very strange until I thought about it and realized that their system really isn’t that different, just more honest.

I loved Malaysia, and had considered retiring there before my legal nightmare began. Unless things have changed a lot since I was there, you can live well very cheaply.

In fact, I’d looked into several countries for inexpensive retirement locations. I bought two books: Living Abroad in Belize and Living Abroad in Costa Rica, and studied both. Belize has the advantage of having English as its official language, and a very English culture (it, too, used to be a British colony, British Honduras). But Costa Rica is home to a large expat American population, so both have their appeals. It would seem that I could live comfortably in either on my Social Security and the occasional writing or photography gig. If I ever get out of here, I’ll look into these options more seriously.

But back to taxes. In the years when I was running a portrait and wedding studio combined with a camera shop I was forced to collect sales tax. I hated that, because I had no desire to be a tax collector and considered being forced to a violation of the constitutional protection against involuntary servitude. One year, sick and tired of doing the state’s work for them at far below minimum wage, I sent them a bill for my services as a tax collector. Man, that got them upset! They sent me threatening letters, one after another. I just ignored them, and in time they stopped bothering me.

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

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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 herehttp://tonyward.com/bob-shell-car-reviews-in-a-photo-magazine/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Early Work, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture

About: TonyWard.com

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Self-Portrait With Katie. Copyright 2018

Self-Portrait With Katie. Copyright 2018

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Tony Ward Ward began his professional career in 1980 as a corporate photographer for the pharmaceutical giant, Smithkline Corporation. After several years of working in the department of corporate communications for Smithkline, he opened the Tony Ward Studio in 1984, to service a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller business entities.

In 1998, TW achieved global notoriety for his first published book on erotic photography, the controversial and highly praised OBSESSIONS. The monograph was followed by four more challenging, innovative and critically acclaimed volumes on eroticism and photography at the turn of the century. Scholars that specialize in the history and aesthetics of photography such as A.D. Coleman, Rick Wester and Reinhold Misselbeck have written illuminating essays that accompanied the artist published works.

Ward’s  photographs have been widely collected, exhibited and syndicated around the world. His unending quest for inspiring subjects, and new projects compels him to divide his creative time between diverse cosmopolitan centers, including: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris, Hamburg/Berlin and his beloved Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tony Ward has been teaching Photography courses at the University of Pennsylvania since the Fall of 2010, and has published the work of his students in the blog section. The daily blog features articles by Tony Ward and guest contributors who are invited to write on a variety of topics including; Art, Architecture, Photography, Fashion,  Erotica, Politics, Science, Travel and Current Events.

Tony Ward’s online Store is currently open. To access the Store, click herehttp://tonyward.com/shopping-cart/

Also posted in Art, Blog, Books, Diary, Documentary, Early Work, Erotica, Exhibits, Fashion, Fetish, Film, Glamour

The Brandywine: 1997 – 1998

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THE BRANDYWINE: 1997-1998
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In 1997, Tony Ward was assigned by Eliot Kaplan, then editor in chief of Philadelphia Magazine to create a series of photographs centered around the life and times of  George Alexis Weymouth, better known as Frolich Weymouth for a series of articles that were to be published between the years 1997 -1998 in Philadelphia’s regional publication. Mr. Weymouth was an American artist, whip or stager, philanthropist and conservationist who lived on a sprawling estate called Big Bend in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  Big Bend was just a short carriage ride to visit his long time friends; Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, who lived nearby on an equally impressive sprawling estate.  Mr. Weymouth grew accustomed to seeing Tony Ward at various events in the region, including the Devon Horse Show, Winterthur’s annual Point-to-Point steeplechase races and lavish private parties hosted by Mr. Weymouth at his historic homestead. The photographer was often invited by Mr. Weymouth himself to photograph and  mingle with many of his longtime friends. Jamie Wyeth’s wife Phyllis Wyeth also came to know of the photographers omnipresence in the region after she saw a portrait of her husband published in Philadelphia Magazine posing on a plastic horse with two female mannequins. 

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http://tonyward.com/paul-manafort-guilty/

Jamie Wyeth

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On July 17, 1997 Phyllis Wyeth wrote the photographer a letter:

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Dear Tony,

Congratulations on your “One Fine Frolic” article in the May issue of Philadelphia magazine. You truly captured the “bare essence” of Frolic’s May doing’s. But I’m not writing you merely to shower you with compliments: that would be far too easy.  I am also writing to request the return of a favor of sorts.

   Your photo of my husband Jamie (riding the plastic horse) is marvelous, and stated simply, I’d very much like to have two 8 x 10 prints of it.  Not being the shy or retiring type, I’d be the first to remind you that it it weren’t for my picking you up along the road that day, you’d probably never have met Jamie, nor have had so juicy a story!  You might still be wandering around Chadds Ford, asking for directions!  Always keep in mind that it never r hurts to keep one’s contacts happy – with such an interesting cast of characters you just never know when a really special photo opportunity might crop up around here!

So I hope I haven’t made you feel TOO guilty (only enough to send me those copies of that photograph).  Hopefully another opportunity will soon arise for you to chronicle with your camera!

Sincerely,

Phyllis Wyeth

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Tony Ward at Big Bend. Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania

Tony Ward at Big Bend. Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania

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To access more galleries of Tony Ward’s earliest work, click herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Diary, Documentary, Early Work, Film, Glamour, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture

Bob Shell: Car Reviews in a Photo Magazine?

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Cars. Rush Hour Boston, Mass. Photo: David Pang, Copyright 2018

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 Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #24

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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CAR REVIEWS IN A PHOTO MAGAZINE?

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At some point in the mid-90s, Don Cooke, our national sales manager at Shutterbug, had an idea to diversify our advertising base. Glenn Patch, Sbutterbug’s owner, had a policy that there would never be any tobacco ads in his magazines, so we turned away their money, but what about car ads? The car companies had crazy money to throw at magazines, too. Don had worked for car magazines in the past and knew everyone in that business. He thought a series of articles on cars for photographers would get the attention of the right people.

That’s why I found myself early one cool desert morning in a parking garage at McLaren Airport in Las Vegas picking up the keys to a sparkling new black Land Rover Discovery. Don had arranged this through the president of Land Rover U.S.A., who was an old friend. I was to take the car out into the desert for a week and put it through it’s paces as a field outfit for a nature photographer. I’d brought a bunch of outdoor gear with me on the overnight “redeye” flight from Charlotte, and I loaded it all into the Rover’s cavernous back.

In the 70s and 80s my “go anywhere” vehicles had been Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruisers, first a 1966 that I bought from Arthur Godfrey (now there’s a story for another time) and later a 1972 that I bought new for $ 3,400. That sounds cheap today, but in 1972 that was a relatively expensive vehicle. The FJ-40 series were built to withstand rough use and to last, but in common with other Japanese vehicles of the day, the steel used to make the body panels was prone to rust. Both of mine suffered from body rust. I see that restored FJ-40s are commanding high prices today.

I backed the Rover carefully out of its parking place and headed out for Highway 15 northeast and let the big V8 open up (I love to drive fast!) My destination, The Valley of Fire State Park. I’d conducted photo workshops there for years, ever since Wayne Collins and David Brooks had hipped me to the location back in the early 80s. The Valley of Fire is one of the prettiest places on the planet, and in all my world travels I’ve never found a better place for photography. The red rocks and clear desert air cast a warm glow on anything and anyone you photograph there. Of course, if you’re doing commercial photography there you need to jump through some hoops, get a photo permit, and pay into workman’s comp for any assistants and models you use. I was keeping it simple this time, no assistants, no models, just me and the car, and a basic photo permit. I did have to get special permission to go off road, and the rangers gave me a limited selection of places where I could do that, and a couple of brooms to hide my tire tracks going off and back onto the road.

You may not know it, but unless you’re that rare person who never watches TV, you’ve seen The Valley of Fire. It’s a favorite location for commercials for cars, and many other products, and as a standin for other planets in SiFi programs.. At the time of writing there’s a commercial for “tactical” sunglasses airing on ESPN that was shot there. Being located not far northeast of Las Vegas, it’s convenient to Los Angeles and the photo and movie businesses. If you saw the movie Star Trek: Generations you’ve seen the Valley. The climactic scenes of the two Captains fighting Malcolm McDowell was filmed on the red rocks there. It was near those rocks that I chose to position the Rover, on top of a big rock.

I’d decided to shoot medium format in case we wanted to use one of the pictures on the cover, so I’d brought my Mamiya 645 Pro and 50, 80, and 150 Mamiya lenses, and several “bricks” of Fujichrome Provia in a Styrofoam cooler. Of course I’d brought a sturdy tripod (I don’t recall which one, probably a Manfrotto) and my Sekonic light meter for both spot and incident readings. I didn’t anticipate needing any wider or longer lenses, but had a 30 fisheye, 40 and 300 in the bag just in case, and I turned out to shoot most of the photos with the 150, a few with the 80. The light was perfect, a high overcast sky serving as a giant softbox. We did use one photo on the cover, and some detail shots with the article. We got a lot of reader feedback, most of it positive, with a few, “Whaddaya think you are, a car magazine??” letters. Unfortunately, the hoped for advertising never materialized, and we never ran any more car tests. But a while later my friend Scott, who worked for Nikon, stopped by my house in his brand new — Land Rover Discovery! He said he’d bought it on the strength of my review. So Land Rover sold at least one car from our experiment. Too bad the advertising didn’t follow, I was looking forward to test driving other cars in a variety of locations.

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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 herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/09/bob-shell-the-weinstein-matter/

 

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Photography, Popular Culture

Early Work: The College Years 1974 – 1980

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Portrait of Yousuf Karsh by Tony Ward. Copyright 1978

 

 

Early Work: The College Years 1974 – 1980

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Like many photographers during the mid-1970’s Tony Ward embraced the documentary tradition early on in his career and was very influenced by the images he saw in Life Magazine and other leading periodicals including TIME. He began to sharpen his photographic skills by photographing  people on the streets of Philadelphia, his hometown as well as people he encountered during his early travels through Canada, including a sitting with the legendary photographer, Yousuf Karsh.  He photographed Karsh at the Chateau Laurier Hotel where his studio was located in Ottawa, Canada. Karsh had a major impact on Tony Ward’s approach to portraiture and was one of the most famous portrait photographers in the world until his death at the age of 94 in 2002.  Karsh sent a letter of gratitude after receiving a print from the sitting with the young photographer on July 12, 1978.

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Yousuf Karsh Letter 1978

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This gallery represents some of Tony Ward’s earliest photographs produced during- the college years – where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Millersville University, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (1974-1977).  After graduating from Millersville University he immediately applied and was accepted to Graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography (1978-1979). During his college years Tony Ward also began to experiment with color photography and alternative silver processes as he learned how to manipulate traditional gelatin silver prints into one of kind works of Art. 

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To see more pictures from the Early Work by Tony Ward, click herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Early Work, Film, Men, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture