Category Archives: Popular Culture

Katie Kerl: Picking up the Pieces

Digital Montage of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

Digital Montage of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

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Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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Picking up the Pieces

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Nothing heals a broken heart better then love and support from your
parents and friends. I’m very lucky and have the most down to earth
parental units out there. I have mentioned that a few times in past
articles, but this time my mother and father really outdid themselves.
 
Break ups are never easy. Getting your belongings back, half moving back into your place that you were using for storage, feeling drained, and endless explaining to people about what happened. After all of that, I do have a certain peace of mind knowing I made the right decision for my own happiness.
 
Now, previously I would have went out and tried to busy
myself serial dating, drinking, and not truly recovering. I did download all of the dating apps out of pure anger, but this time I couldn’t bring myself to meet anyone off of it.  It’s not a productive use of my time, or going to make me less angry . I got through my work day, did some yoga, and meal planned. That was about all I had the
energy for the last month.
 
So what changed? My ever praying mother came and helped me. My
father is my personality type and more of my best friend. He has always
listened to me over coffee, or glass of bourbon. Reiterating I do not
need a man to be happy, or take care of me. He said that was his job even in my
thirties. I’m forever grateful for everything he has done for me. I now
realize as an adult I could never have had it both ways with my parents.
Someone had to be the voice of reason and tell me no. My mother was
that parent.
 
She recently turned 60, and we had a really fun weekend celebrating. I
gave her a birthstone ring.  I also wrote down 60 reasons she is the best
mother, and put it in a pretty wooden box. I realized I never told her all
of those things I appreciate now growing up. Now she can hold onto that forever. 
 
I let her know I was struggling going through all my stuff at home, and
didn’t have the space for it all. She came for the weekend to help me. In four days she pulled everything out of the closets, kitchen cabinets, and storage.
She helped me create new spaces for all the stuff I had accumulated. I was floored, Marie Kondo has nothing on my mother. She turned my pantry into a shoe cabinet , and a piece of my entertainment unit for my bags. 
 
She also just listened to me with no judgment. I made dinner the one night , took her to my favorite brunch spot in my area called Morning Glory Diner,
we walked the Italian market , and did some vintage shopping here in
Philadelphia . I couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend. I feel like a
complete human being again, and at home in my own place.
 
She will always be there to help pick up the pieces. Life does not get
any easier in your thirties; you will still need your mother. No one can get through life alone. She has never given up on me even in my most unlovable moments.
 
She really does not get why I like to go to Miami for my birthday, but
always goes shopping with me for it.  She gets  music sets me free, just like
getting tattooed does. My parents only want the best for me and that’s happiness. 
 
I hope everyone finds theirs as well.
 
– Kerl up with Kate
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About The AuthorKatie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology. Occupation: commercial/ residential  design Philadelphia resident since 2011 . Hobbies include: Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos & house music lover. Instagram:  @kerl_up_with_kateTo access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-you-dont-have-to-move-on-to-let-go/
 
Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Photography, Portraiture, women

Bob Shell: Musical Instruments

Photo Illustration: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

Photo Illustration: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

Photography and Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

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I’ve made a sort of study of musical instruments from around the world, each with its own unique sound. From India there is the sitar, best known, but also the sarod, sort of an Indian lute, and another stringed instrument called the veena. All get their unique sounds from having brass strings. (You can hear sitar on recordings by Ravi Shankar or his daughter Anoushka. Sarod by Ali Akbar Khan. Veena by S.I. Balachander.). In Japan there is the koto, a sort of horizontal harp with silk strings, which can be heard in recordings by Kimio Ito. The Chinese have a plethora of instruments with names I never learned. You can hear many in The Chieftains in China. The Chinese also use the pentatonic scale, with only five notes in an “octave,” which is why their music sounds weird to us. The pentatonic scale was developed in ancient Greece, at least so say the historians. Maybe the Greeks got it from Egypt, or even older cultures. Frustratingly we have no idea what ancient Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian, etc., music sounded like since they had no musical notation. We can only guess.

We know the Greeks, Egyptians, and other ancient cultures had stringed and wind instruments because both are depicted in their art, but we don’t know what they sounded like. Of course, all cultures had drums and percussion instruments.

The tabla drums of India are made of brass with hide drumheads that can be tuned so that different parts of the drumhead produce different sounds. They are. normally played in sets of two, a smaller one with higher pitch and a larger one with lower pitch. They are played with the fingers, palms, and even elbows. To hear a modern use of tabla drums, listen to Centa Terbaik by Tasya Rosmala. All Indian instruments, so far as I know, are played sitting on the floor, usually with half-lotus or even full-lotus positioning of the legs.

The Arabs have a large drum called a dumbeg and a smaller durbeki, played with the hands or short drumsticks. The Irish drum, played with both ends of a short drumstick is the bodhran. I’m sure the Turkish drums have names, but I don’t recall them. In Japan once I was treated to a performance of traditional big Japanese drums that are mounted with the drumheads vertical, and the players go at them with sticks the size of ax handles, attacking the drums as if trying to destroy them. Very, very loud! Almost .more of an athletic event than a musical performance. The performers wear loin cloths and are very muscular. The whole thing has a very savage feel.

Of course Africa and the Caribbean are where drums, a great variety of types and sizes, are the main instruments. To hear African drums at their best listen to the Missa Luba, a native Congolese mass performed with voices and drums. I’ve heard great drum music in the Caribbean, and, of course, there are the steel drums. There is a good recording of the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drum Band available. Surprisingly, they hail from Rochester, NY! I don’t know how they tune those steel drums, but the sound can be beautiful.

Today the Mediterranean peoples have a variety of stringed instruments played like guitars. The Arab people have their oud, a fretless gut-stringed lute/guitar. To hear an oud played well, listen to Hala Laya by The Devil’s Anvil, from the album Hard Rock From The Middle East (where you’ll also hear dumbeg and durbeki drums). The Greeks have their bouzouki, also similar to a guitar. It is my understanding that the guitar itself was developed from the lute in Spain during the Moorish period. The Irish and Scot people, who originated in the eastern Mediterranean, took the Persian/Greek bagpipe north with them, along with the pentatonic scale. I’m not sure who carried musical instruments to Russia, perhaps the Rus brought them back from their viking raids on other cultures, but once Eastern Orthodox Christianity took hold, the balalaika, with its three strings and three-sided sound box (symbolizing the Trinity) was no surprise.

But a surprise did await the Spanish conquistadores in South America. In Bolivia at lake Titicaca they found Egyptian-looking reed boats and all over northern South America they found musicians playing in the pentatonic scale. In the Andes the local musicians played pentatonic panpipes and flutes. The stringed instrument was the charango, a sort of guitar/mandolin with a sound box made from the shell of an armadillo. Along with the panpipes there was a low pitched very long flute called senka tenkana (growing nose) that made the player stretch his arms. (To hear what Inca music sounded like, listen to “El Condor Pasa” by Los Incas, who also recorded as Urubamba.) Was the pentatonic scale carried to South America by ancient Egyptian sailors, or carried the other way? Apparently there was commerce between the regions because both tobacco and cocaine have been found in Egyptian mummies, and both originate in the Americas. There was apparently cross-cultural exchange in ancient times.

I find it odd that the Native peoples of North America were so musically undeveloped. Drums and flutes seem to be about it for their instruments, and often just the drums, accompanied by chanting. The music never made it up through Central America, apparently. Of course, depending on the date, much of today’s Central America was under water and migration largely impossible.

Humans like to make noise, and in many cultures unique musical traditions were developed. Will people of the distant future still listen to today’s music?

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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-a-stitch-in-relative-time/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Film, Music, Photography

Bob Shell: A Stitch in Relative Time

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Photo: Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

 

Photography and Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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A Stitch in Relative Time

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What really is photography? I think it is an outgrowth of our inability to revisit moments in time. The old tentmaker wrote:

The moving finger writes, and having writ,

moves on, Nor all thy piety nor wit

can lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all thy tears wash out one word of it.

We move through time headlong, like a boat with no rudder, and must follow the current wherever it takes us. When we die, all the moments of our lives are gone, “like tears in rain.”

That, at least, is the viewpoint of most people, who never realize that they are projecting a Newtonian viewpoint onto external reality. But since 1905 and Einsteinian Relativity we should have realized that we actually exist in a Relativistic reality. Time, that we seek to capture slices of, is not something that flows. It is the fourth dimension of reality that Newton simply took for granted as being the same everywhere. But Einstein showed us that time is not absolute, that it varies depending on the position and motion of the observer. Most of us haven’t integrated Einsteinian Relativity into our daily worldview, we’re stuck back centuries ago with old Isaac Newton.

“Physics itself recognizes no special moment called ‘now’ — the moment that acts as the focus of ‘becoming’ and divides the ‘past’ from the ‘future.’. In four dimensional space-time nothing changes, there is no flow of time, everything simply is…It is only in consciousness that we come across a particular time known as ‘now’ …It is only in the context of mental time that it makes sense to say that all of physical space-time is. One might even go so far as to say that it is unfortunate that such dissimilar entities as physical time and mental time should carry the same name.”. — Russell Stannard, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Open University.

“Particles themselves do not even move, being represented by ‘static’ curves drawn in space-time. Thus, what we perceive as moving 3D objects are really successive cross sections of immobile 4D objects past which our field of observation is sweeping.” — Roger Penrose

So if the time we perceive and the motion we perceive are illusions, what is the point of photography? I’ve been wrestling with that question. Will we one day be able to get outside time and revisit “moments from the past”? I’d be very surprised if we don’t.

Years ago, in the early 1960s, my father came home from his job as a TV news reporter one day very excited. He showed us a press release from the U.S. Navy in which it stated that the Navy had developed a “time camera,” which could take photographs of a scene as it was hours before. The example they used was to photograph an empty parking lot and get images of all the cars that were parked there earlier in the day. We were all wowed by this announcement, and I remember anxiously awaiting more news about this “time camera,” but none was ever forthcoming. Nor was there ever an official denial — nothing. If it was a hoax, I’d have expected some official denial. Periodically over the years I’ve tried to find any information about that camera, but have never found a thing. I’ve always suspected that the information was released to the press by mistake, and quickly withdrawn behind a veil labeled “Top Secret.” Just imagine what a powerful historical research tool that would be!

In a very real sense we always photograph the past. Say you are photographing someone twelve feet away. Light falls on that person and some is reflected to your camera, but it takes time for that light to come from your subject and reach your film or digital sensor. Light travels at a rate of one foot per nanosecond, so if your subject is twelve feet away, you are photographing them not in the present instant when you trip your shutter, but twelve nanoseconds in the past. Your subject is always younger in your photographs! Your camera is always a time machine. However, until that light strikes your film or sensor the image is in the future relative to you.

Now twelve nanoseconds is pretty small potatoes, but what about when you hook your camera to a telescope and point it at the moon, which is one light second away, or at the sun which is eight light seconds away, or even at Alpha Centauri which is 4.3 light years away. You’d be photographing respectively 1 second, 8 seconds, or 4.3 years into the past. From the perspective of someone on the moon, the sun, and Alpha Centauri, you are 1 second, 8 seconds and 4.3 years in their future. So you see their past, but their “present” overlaps with your past so from their perspective they see your past. Clear? Relativity can be confusing!

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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-why-radford/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Erotica, Glamour, Men, Models, News, Photography, Travel, women

Katie Kerl: You Don’t Have to Move on to Let Go

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Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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You Don’t Have to Move on to Let Go

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Who would have thought I’d be quoting a Deadmau5/ Kaskade song at my age. Thirty five is slowly creeping up on me next month.

35.35?!?!  I’m supposed to have 2 kids, a husband, & the dog with the white picket fence right? 

Instead I’ll be celebrating my 35th at Miami music week. Yes, there are endless locations to pick for vacation. That’s just what I enjoy doing. It brings me inner peace.  Dancing my life away one week a year on my birthday, to some of the best house music you can find. Eating Cuban food and drinking Mojitoon the beach until my heart is content.  Sounds awful right? 

To some people that is actual torture. 

I’m sitting here a little high after a hot shower thinking, “What the fuck?” Taking the appropriate steps with someone in a relationship is what we dream about right? 

What happens when money and a dream of a different kind of life gets in the way? 

Believing in someone is one thing. Supporting their choices is another. Watching it change who they are is heartbreaking. Even if they don’t see it now, or do and will never admit it. Money with no meaning in is an empty feeling.

He said, “I wanted to give you everything.” I said, “All I wanted was you.”

In a world of fucked up dating, pretty vs. money, one would think finding someone who completely understands you would be ENOUGH

Think again. If you have to fight for the things you find important, and someone dismisses your concerns. It’s time to rip the bandage quickly. 

People do not change overnight ,or by accident. They change because something drastic happens. They change because they can’t go on living a lie. They change because the stressful world they live in has beaten them down. They change because life has become unmanageable. 

Finding yourself, and not letting go of who you are is just as important as chasing your dreams. I’ve mentioned it before; no one wants to feel dropped into someone else’s life and expected to act accordingly. Gold diggers want that. Not REAL women.

I never want to feel like I have to give up who I am , my hobbies , health , or views on family values for someone working themselves to death chasing money . 

Money won’t be there when you get sick, it’s not going to support you when you’re down, and it’s not going to make a home out of the house you live in. You’re supposed to grow as a couplelearn from each other,and accept problems as they arise,and address them together. 

If you are so busy taking care of everyone else around you that you forget to be good to yourself, of course you will feel mentally drained and used. A person’s presence will fill the room with joy, or it will suffocate you to the point you feel like you’re not going to make it up for air. 

Being single I feel completely free to be my ever weird self. If I let you in you’re special.  You’re adding to my happiness that took me so long to find. Once you start taking that away from me, I retreat and go back to doing exactly what makes me happy alone. 

Someone out there needed to hear this today. I know I did while typing it. I’m not quite sure if anyone is meant to be permanent in your life, or just come in and out to teach you lessons. 

To those who feel they cannot be alone. You truly become the person you are meant to be without any outside persuasion. If you’re stuck making that decision to stay or go, my grandmother always told me to list that person’s good and bad qualities, then make your decision based off that. 

Her system has yet to steer me wrong. I am going to continue to be myself. If I find that person to compliment my ever complicated life great! 

If not at least I am doing my best.

That’s more than enough for me. 

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Portrait of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

Portrait of Katie Kerl by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

About The AuthorKatie Kerl. Born 1984. Raised in Drexel Hill,  Pennsylvania. Attended Drexel University for Behavioral  Psychology .Occupation : commercial/ residential  design Philadelphia resident since 2011 . Hobbies include  : Foodie, whiskey drinker,  fitness , cooking  , tattoos , & house music lover . Instagram:  @kerl_up_with_kateTo access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: http://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-love-the-one-youre-with/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, News, Travel, women

Mikala Mikrut: Red

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Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

Text by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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RED

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You said you liked red.

So I started seeing it everywhere:

The fabric on my couches,

The scratches you made when my chest was bare.

You said you liked red.

I’ve always loved the drive behind passion,

The power behind anger,

And its symbolism in fashion.

You said you liked red.

And blood became alluring,

Cherries suddenly voluptuous,

All my feelings of black, you were curing.

You said you liked red.

I want to be red for you.

Red from acts of affection,

From what my cheeks can’t hide when I speak too.

You said you liked red.

And it had to find me like the melody of a song,

My fire, my crazy opinions, and my desires.

You knew I was red all along.

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About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a sophomore enrolled at Southern Utah University. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click here:http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/mikala-mikrut-sense-of-place/

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Early Work, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Photography, Portraiture, Travel, women