Category Archives: Men

Bob Shell: Prostitution?

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Photo: Tony Ward. From the book of Obsessions. Copyright 2019

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #32

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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PROSTITUTION?

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As you know, prostitution is illegal almost everywhere in the USA. Should it or other “victimless crimes” be? That’s a question I’ve pondered over for years. Basically, I’m a Libertarian. I’m in favor of the smallest possible government with the least possible intrusion into our lives. I don’t want a government that’s a surrogate parent, or a government that thinks it owns me. I don’t need a parent and no one owns me! And, so long as I harm no one else, government has no damned business intruding into my life. I’ve always felt that way, and being put in prison has only strengthened that belief. I’ve never harmed anyone, but an overbearing government put me here after sticking its long nose into what should have been private grief over an untimely death.

I see nothing wrong with prostitution so long as the woman (or man, but for the rest of this post I’ll talk about women) is doing it voluntarily, and has not been coerced into it. In Germany, and I believe in most of the European Union, prostitution is legal and regulated, with regular medical checkups. The women are businesswomen, each running her own business and paying taxes, not the property of a pimp (pimping is illegal). All are adults under their country’s definition, usually 15 or 16 depending on the country.

Have I known and patronized prostitutes? Yes and no, respectively. Some of the women who modeled for me also earned money as “escorts.”. I didn’t care so long as they were good at modeling.

When I first started photographing nude models I was young and pretty naive about things. I ran an ad in the Roanoke newspaper for models willing to pose nude, and got a number of responses. One of them was a very pretty black woman who lived in one of the big housing projects in Roanoke. On my first shoot with her I brought her to my home studio and found her to be a natural at posing. She had a great, expressive face and was slender and very flexible. After a couple of hours of shooting I told her we were through for the day and I’d take her home. She put her hands on her hips and a pout on her face and said, “Ain’tcha gonna fuck me?”. It turned out she was afraid I wouldn’t pay her unless she “serviced” me. I put her mind at ease by paying her and assuring her nothing else was expected. After that she modeled for me several times and we became pretty good friends. Last time I saw her, she was pregnant with a “trick baby.”. I never saw or heard from her again after that. I felt bad for her because I was pretty sure she had turned to prostition because there weren’t many other opportunities available to her to make money.

Other models I knew had turned to escort work just as an easy way to pick up extra money. One I knew put herself through college with modeling and escort work, and went on to a successful career. She liked and respected me because I kept my hands to myself and never hit on her for sex during or after a modeling session. We also became friends.

Back in the 60s when I was living in DC, I knew a high class “call girl.” She had a very nice apartment in an upscale building, expensive clothes, and ate very well. She kept in shape with regular exercise. Her clients were senators, other government men, lobbyists, and wealthy businessmen. She only had one client a night, and charged hefty fees for her services and her confidentiality. When I was between jobs one time she let me stay at her place for a couple of weeks and fed me. On evenings when she didn’t have a client, we sat around and listened to music and talked. We talked philosophy, about the latest books we’d read, etc., but she never talked about her work or her clients. She took her confidentiality very seriously. I knew her for a couple of years and never knew the names of any of her clients.

I used to go to Las Vegas often, but I never frequented the legal brothels outside town in the desert. Was I tempted? Not really. I’d never had to pay for sex and just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea. Since there is no federal law against prostitution, and no state law in Nevada, it’s up to local jurisdictions to regulate. It’s illegal in the city of Las Vegas, but legal in a nearby county where the brothels are.

Once in Tokyo I’d gone out bar hopping with some executives from one of the big camera companies. By the end of the evening, after visiting many little bars where we drank warm saki and ate various things on skewers cooked on hibachi drills, we were holding on to each other just to stand up. As I was getting ready to take a cab back to my hotel, the senior of the two said, “Bob-san, I have arranged for a girl in your room tonight,” He saw my negative reaction and misunderstood, “Don’t worry, she is very clean girl, you won’t catch anything!”. In Japan it is an insult to turn down a gift, so I had to pretend I was pleased, and flopped into the cab and headed off to my hotel, falling asleep on the way. Shortly after I stumbled and fumbled my way back to my hotel room, there was a quiet knock on my door. I opened the door and there stood a lovely young Japanese woman, more of a girl really, since she looked like she couldn’t have been out of her teens. Even if I’d been interested, I was still pretty blotto, and doubt that I could have done anything. I explained my predicament in slurred English, and she seemed to understand. “No worry,” she said, “I tell Mr. —– that you perform very strong.”. I was grateful to her for understanding, gave her a generous tip, and sent her off into the Tokyo night, then fell across the bed and woke up hours later with a fierce hangover.

She was probably older than she looked, since Japanese men tend to like really young-looking women. When I was sending glamour and nude images to my Tokyo agent, she was always telling me my models looked too old, even though they were barely legal in the US. She wanted models who looked around 13, and I couldn’t get across to her that in the U.S.A. I could get arrested for photographing girls who looked underage, no matter how old they really were. It’s called “virtual child pornography,” and is illegal, which I think is a totally ridiculous idea. I’ve photographed 16 year old nude models in Germany, where it was totally legal, but I can’t bring those pictures into the U.S.A. They’d be illegal here. It’s sheer insanity!

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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://tonyward.com/bob-shell-bondage/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Early Work, Erotica, Fetish, Film, News, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, women

Bob Shell: The Evolution of Photography

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Louise Daguerre

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #30

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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THE EVOLUTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY

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When and where was photography invented? The standard story you will find in books on photographic history is that a Frenchman named Daguerre first fixed an image on a silver plated metal surface. The negative/positive process that became the standard for so many years is credited to William Henry Fox Talbott, an eccentric Englishman. Those are the standard stories.

Long before photography artists were using the camera obscura (literally dark room), a device which projected an image onto a surface. Someone had observed that in a darkened room with a hole in the wall an upside down image of the world outside was projected onto the wall opposite the hole. Fitting a lens into the hole allowed focusing of the image and made the image sharper. Fixing that image became an obsession of many, but none succeeded. Artists at first just tacked a sheet of paper to the wall and drew the scene. Later, the lens was mounted on the front of a portable wooden box with the glass plate at the other end. The artist would put his paper against the glass and observe and draw the image seen through the paper. At some point it was discovered that a mirror could be mounted in the box at a 45 degree angle to the lens axis and the glass plate moved to the top of the box. This made the image upright, but left to right reversed. This worked great outdoors so long as the artist was in the shade or had an assistant holding an umbrella (literally little shadow). Some brilliant person invented a leather or wood hood that surrounded the glass and blocked off excess light. I’m not sure at what point it occurred to someone to mount the box on a tripod, but the whole apparatus was then nicely portable. Thus, by the time of Leonardo most of the elements of a photographic camera already existed. The camera obscura revolutionized perspective in art and we begin to see paintings like those of Jan Vermeer that look remarkably like photographs. Although there’s no proof, I’d put money on Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura. Before photography, the camera obscura also became a popular attraction. There is a beautifully preserved Victorian one at Hove/Brighton on the Sussex coast. It is a round building with a big lens on top that projects a wonderful panorama of the surrounding. landscape onto a big bowl-shaped screen that you walk around and look down into. If you’re in the area, it is well worth seeing.

Who solved the problem of capturing the projected image chemically rather than artistically? In Russia you will be told that photography is a Russian invention. In Brazil you will hear that it is a Brazilian invention. And in China … And so on. maybe a lot of folks got the idea. I’ve seen pictures of ancient Chinese plates that have images on them looking for all the world like photographs, so maybe photography is much older than we’re taught in class. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone found photographic images in an Egyptian tomb. There’s an old saying: There’s nothing new under the sun.

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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://tonyward.com/bob-shell-family-of-photographers/

 

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

Vote: November 6, 2016

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Vote! November 6, 2018

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

Portrait of the Day: Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!

 

Photograph by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018 

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To see additional photographs from Tony Ward’s Wasteland portfolio, click herehttp://tonyward.com/early-work/wasteland/

 

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

News: Pennsylvania Convention Center Launches New Website

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Photo: Tony Ward. Preacher. House of Prayer. Pennsylvania Convention Center. Copyright 2018

 

 

Pennsylvania Convention Center Launches New Website 
featuring its $1.5 million West Wing Art Collection
Paconventionart.com hosts information about 69 artists and their works
 
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 16) – The Pennsylvania Convention Center announced today the launch of a new website to serve as an online platform for the public and art lovers to discover and learn about 131 pieces of fine art installed throughout public spaces within the facility’s 2011 expansion, which increased the venue’s saleable space by more than 60 percent to 1 million square feet. 

 

The Pennsylvania Convention Center invested $1.5 million in the acquisition and installation of the artworks, produced by 69 Pennsylvania artists, which are now placed throughout the facility’s West Wing Expansion. The Center hosted a formal public unveiling of the art earlier this year, as well as public tours of the art in connection with Wawa’s Welcome America’s summer festival.  The venue’s West Wing art collection features 42 paintings, 31 works on paper, 26 photographs, 10 sculptures, eight cased objects, eight textile installations, five tile mosaics, and one video artwork by Pennsylvania’s most inspiring artists. 
 
The site, www.paconventionart.com, provides a detailed map of the facility that identifies the location of each piece of art, images of the artwork itself, as well as biographical information and additional facts on each artist. The website also features video interviews with 38 artists and allows users to search works by title, artist, and location within the Convention Center.  A two-minute introductory video can be viewed on YouTube.  Previously, the collection was available only for viewing during conferences, meetings, or private events hosted at the Convention Center.
The website also contains a downloadable brochure that people attending events at the Convention Center can print or reference for self-guided tours. Website visitors can sign up for mailings and notices of future art-related activities at the Center.
 
 “This artwork was selected with the goal of utilizing our facility to showcase some of the incredible talent of Pennsylvania’s many gifted artists,” said Gregory J. Fox, Esq., Chairman of the PCCA Board of Directors. “Our facility hosts more than 1 million visitors each year who have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate this art in person, but we wanted to provide even greater access to the public.  This new website makes these works accessible to art lovers anywhere in the world while also showcasing our facility as the cornerstone of the region’s hospitality industry.”
 
The website was launched to coincide with the year-long 25th anniversary celebration of the opening of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Half of the artists featured in the collection attended the Center’s free, public Community Festival on June 30 to discuss their works with attendees.  The new art website can be reached through the Center’s website at www.paconvention.com.
 
“I am delighted that the Convention Center is making its art collection available online to a wider audience with significant detail on the artists and their individual backgrounds,” said Astrid Bowlby, whose 100 foot-long, commissioned work, “That Music Always Round Me,” is featured at the Center. “The website also provides convention and meeting attendees with a resource to learn more about specific pieces of art, as well as seek out additional works during their visit.  The site is not just an archive of the collection, it greatly enhances individuals’ experience and their ability to appreciate both the art and the artists who created these works.” 
 
The Convention Center joined with Pennsylvania arts organizations to select and curate the works in the collection.  The Center received significant administrative assistance from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) in Harrisburg under the direction, guidance, and counsel of now-retired Executive Director Philip Horn.  The new website lists the names, titles, and organizations of both the Art Purchasing Committee and the Pennsylvania art professionals who served on the Blind Jury who were all instrumental in the art selection process for the pieces in the Center’s West Wing Art Collection. 
 

“Our incredible collection of outstanding works of museum-quality art, which can be found in public spaces throughout our facility, really differentiates the Pennsylvania Convention Center from other meeting venues,” said John J. McNichol, President & CEO of PCCA. “This new website showcases Pennsylvania’s talented artists and the diverse creative culture of our region.  It also allows the Center to highlight our unique collection for prospective customers as an added benefit that their event attendees can enjoy.” 

  
About Pennsylvania Convention Center
The Pennsylvania Convention Center is celebrating its 25th year in the center of Philadelphia’s cultural offerings and world-class dining and entertainment scene. The Convention Center is managed by SMG, the nation’s leader in public facility management. It is the 14th largest such facility in the nation and features the largest exhibit space and ballroom in the Northeast. It has won numerous awards and recognition, including a designation as the Best Government/Public Building of 2011 by the Engineering News Record of New York. For more information, visit www.paconvention.com.
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Media Contacts:
Deirdre C. Hopkins, Tel. 215-680-1526. Email: dhopkins@paconvention.com
Pete Peterson, Tel.  215-893-4297, Email: ppeterson@bellevuepr.com
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