Category Archives: Travel

Bob Shell: Meditations on Cameras and the State of the Photo Industry Today

tony ward cameras meditations industry photography

Tony Ward. Self Portrait. Copyright 2019

 

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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Meditations on Cameras and the State of the Photo Industry Today

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The first professional level camera that I ever used was my father’s Exakta VX1000. It was an odd beast, obviously designed for a left-handed user, with the film advance lever and shutter release button on the left of its angular body. It had shutter speeds, as i recall, down to 16 seconds, and an internal film knife that let you cut off part of a roll of film if you wanted to develop just a few frames without sacrificing the rest of the roll. That camera was my father’s pride and joy, and he’d saved money for some time to afford it. In those immediate postwar years Japanese cameras were considered junk, and the German photo industry was top dog. The Exakta cameras were made by Ihagee in Dresden, Germany, I have that Exakta now at my house in Radford, just waiting for my release. It came to me on my dad’s death in 2000, along with the rest of his photo equipment. It has the 50mm Steinheil lens, a lens that will focus very close; almost a macro lens, and is super sharp. The Exakta VX cameras were mechanical masterpieces. The VX1000 had a top shutter speed of 1/1000 second, while the less expensive VX500 only went to 1/500. My father got some great photos with that camera. It had no built-in light meter, so you used a separate hand meter or guessed exposure. I got to be pretty good at guessing, plus the black and white films we used were very forgiving. You could miss by quite a bit and still be able to pull off a good print in the darkroom. Of course, we developed our own film and printed the photos in our basement darkroom. For a while my father was the photographer for the Easter Seal Society in Roanoke, and the job came with the privilege of using their very nice darkroom so we would do our developing and printing there.

I must have been 12 or 13 when I “souped” my first film, and printed the pictures. Wow, that was a miracle, watching the images appear in the developing tray under the red safelight! I was hooked but good. And the pleasant addiction never went away. That sense of wonder has been lost in today’s digital world. Not that I’m down on digital, I’m not. I was an early adopter of digital, but never thought of how disruptive it would be to the business I love. Suddenly, almost overnight, major photography companies found themselves in the buggy business while automobiles took over the roads. Some companies made the transition and survived, but some didn’t.

A prime example of corporate head-in-sand blindness is Kodak. Essentially they invented the digital camera, and their electronic sensor division made, and may still make, some of the best digital sensors. But did they build cameras to house those sensors? No, they just sold those sensors to camera companies and gave away that market sector. Yes, there were Kodak professional digital cameras, but Kodak just bought Nikon and Sigma film cameras and modified them with their digital sensors and electronics. They shut down this operation some time ago. You can buy a Kodak branded point-and-shoot digital camera today, but it’s not made by Kodak. It comes from a manufacturer in Asia. So far as I know, the last cameras actually made by Kodak were some APS film cameras made at a Kodak factory in Mexico, where they wrestled with serious quality control issues. The last Kodak black and white photographic paper was made at a Kodak facility in Brazil. Rochester, NY, once “Kodak City” has seen the Kodak workforce drop radically, and people there can no longer look to Kodak for lifetime employment. It’s really sad to see this great American company go down, victim of bad management decisions. The same thing happened to Polaroid, another victim of the digital revolution. Both Kodak and Polaroid were instrumental in getting average Americans to make photographs. None of us in the photographic press anticipated the rapidity of the digital revolution, I’m sorry to say.

And now, there is another digital revolution going on, this one moving faster than anyone could have predicted. It is being driven by the cameras built into cellphones. These tiny cameras keep getting better and better. Last year saw the front covers of Rolling Stone and Conde Nast Traveler shot with iPhones! With cell phone cameras so good, many are asking, “What’s the point of carrying around a camera?”. This is a good question for the vast majority of people. And it’s sending ripples throughout the photo industry. You probably didn’t know that those compact point-and-shoot cameras were the bread and butter of the camera companies, and sales of those cameras provided the R&D money for advanced SLR development. Some companies saw those simple cameras making up 85% of their revenue. Where will that money come from now? I foresee a few camera companies going bust, unable to stay in business from SLR, high end mirrorless cameras, and lens sales alone. I’d say that Sony and Canon have the best chances of survival, as both companies are very diversified, with many other product lines to provide income. Fuji has a good probability of survival, too. I wouldn’t bet serious money on the survival of the others. At the very high end, where digital cameras sell for $ 30,000 and up, companies don’t need to sell many to survive, so it’s likely that Hasselblad, Leica, and Phase One will hang on. At least right now you can’t shoot a Times Square billboard with a cellphone, and there are other applications which require more pixels than even the digital SLRs can produce. Serious photographers will want more image control than phone cameras allow, and for things like wildlife photography only a long lens will work, so cellphone limitations will keep up a demand for more capability. To see beyond about ten years my crystal ball becomes hopelessly clouded.

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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-music-photography/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Film, Men, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture

Portrait of the Day: Laura

Tony_Ward_Studio_portrait_of_the_day_Laura_dutch_model_Amsterdam

Portrait of the Day: Laura. Amsterdam 2014.

 

 

Editor’s Note: To see more pictures of Laura as well as other pictures and films from Tony Ward’s erotica collection, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/category/membership-account/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Diary, Erotica, Fashion, Fetish, Glamour, Jewelry, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, women

Portrait of the Day: Alexandra

Tony_Ward_Studio_glamour_portrait_ParisAlexandra

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

 

Editor’s Note: To see more pictures of Alexandra as well additional pictures and films from Tony Ward’s erotica collection, click herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/category/membership-account/

 

Also posted in Art, Books, Cameras, Diary, Documentary, Early Work, Erotica, Fashion, Fetish, Film, Glamour, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, women

Katie Kerl: Take me to the Disco

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Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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Take me to the Disco

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Reflecting on this Miami Music week, I have to say it was the best one to date. I have incredible friends and family that made this birthday beautiful. It started off with our friend Bob upgrading Amiee and My flights to the admirals club, and TSA pre check. We got in a few pre flight eats and cocktails. We touched down in Miami ready to shake shit up. 

Bob arranged our room the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse. The staff was the nicest there. I highly recommend it. We went right to the roof for their happy hour and for photos of course. There were beautiful views of South beach in every direction. We shopped a bit on the city walk and ate before getting ready. 

After more than a few drinks in the room, we were off to our first party at Do Not Sit On the Furniture. It was the Sweeeet Party with Dennis Ferrer & DJ Sneak. I love that old school funky house vibe. The venue was intimate, and there was so much room for dancing.  I have to say it was amazing for a small setting . We walked back to the hotel and got a few hours of sleep. 

I woke up on my birthday around 7am, and went to see the sunrise on the beach for the first time and not in a club. I realized that this trip was different, a much more mature way of doing it. I sat with my Cuban coffee pondering life, and what was in store for the day .It felt amazing to be alive and 35. When everyone was awake we headed to the classic News Cafe for breakfast. I really needed that Bloody Mary, chicken, & French toast. 

The Esscala Pure Trance yacht party was next on the Musette with Gabriel & Dresden, Solarstone, and Simon Patterson. 

One thing about yacht parties, the drinks are the least expensive you’re going to find in Miami. Needless to say we left a little wobbly after dancing for 5 hours. After a disco nap we were ready for the coming night, which was The Paradise Party at Space.

Amiee and I went to that and gave Bob a break. We were in the front of the DJ booth and it was pure musical happiness. One thing I noticed, I didn’t need to stay till the end . By end I mean to be determined into the next afternoon. We went back and slept around 5am. 

We got up and ate at Puerto Sagua the best Cuban diner you’re going to find in South Beach. Aimee had the whole diner singing Happy Birthday to me over my tres leches. 

From there we walked to Wet Willies. 3+ hours of Call-A- Cabs , and one entertaining Britt offending people’s outfits , talking in a Brad Pit pike like voice from Fight Club , we were more than on our way to a good night. 

After that hilariousness, Aimee and I walked back to the room. Of course we got side tracked by the shopping mall with a bar and Dj outside. When in Rome (Miami) you order more frozen cocktails. 

By the time we got back to the room, I had fallen asleep with a trail of gold fish behind me in the bed, and my hand still in the bag. 

After my 4 hour coma, I rallied & we were off to the Laser Face party at Mana in Wynnwood. Gareth Emery put on an amazing show! It was something I usually would not have picked, but was so happy I went, as did my voice from there on out for the entirety of the trip. 

I found myself wanting to get up and do the things I hadn’t before. The next morning I walked the ocean drive market, saw the Versace Mansion, got fresh coconuts, and just laid on the beach. 

Now, to many people this may seem normal for vacation, but not this week in Miami. Usually, you pass the beach on the way to a party, or coming home from one. I’m so happy I slowed down enough to enjoy the city I already loved even more. That final day we ate at the hotel restaurant Havana 1957. The lobster /seafood dish we had was amazing. 

Then, we went to the Spinnin Records pool party at the Sixty Nautilus hotel on Ocean Drive. We walked up and who did we see? Only Sander Van Doorn, the headliner doing an interview. The pool was beautiful, and even the 71$ drinks were worth it. Leaving a bit before it ended, we ran into Erick Morillo. He just ended his pool party at The National Hotel. He was nice enough to take a photo with us. I rarely ask Djs for photos, but his energy while performing his sets is amazing. 

We went back to the room for the last time, but I wasn’t done just yet. I went back to Mana in Wynnwood for Elrow. I decided that hanging with the new friends I had made was better than trying to get out of that place at 6 am. 

I made my way back to the hotel.

We had week ending mimosas at 7 am and back to Philly we went. 

I must say that I feel like a completely rejuvenated 35 year old. Who has some seriously amazing people in her life. I will never stop going to Miami on my Birthday. 

Music heals your soul and the friends you go to dance with make it perfect.

I’m one lucky girl. 

Cheers till next year Miami! 

Kerl Up with Kate 

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Katie_Kerl_we_love_Miami_blog

Katie Kerl: Miami 2019

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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://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-picking-up-the-pieces/

 

Also posted in Blog, Documentary, Music, News, Popular Culture, women

Upcoming Events: Heroes Awards Brunch

Heroes Awards Brunch: Hotel Monaco, April 7, 2019

Heroes Awards Brunch: Hotel Monaco, April 7, 2019

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

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Upcoming Events: Heroes Awards Brunch

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HEROES was started over ten years ago to spotlight and honor the unwavering dedication of community leaders and organizations to advance the rights and wellbeing of the greater Philadelphia regions LGBTQ community. Through the nomination process, HEROES identifies youth, adults, nonprofits, straight allies, and businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, are admired for their integrity, and are regarded as courageous in advancing LGBTQ equality in the Greater Philadelphia Area and beyond. DVLF honors these HEROES annually to celebrate their character and to encourage others to act heroically.

 

Since 1993, DVLF has served the greater Philadelphia LGBTQ community through philanthropy. More specifically, DVLF works to empower and advance the LGBTQ community through grant-making, scholarships, advocacy, community leadership development and education. DVLF has established an endowment that provides crucial support to the diverse array of LGBTQ nonprofit organizations and programs striving to address our community’s pressing needs. This includes: youth homelessness, civil rights, the elderly, cultural/ educational entities, and more.

 

As we enter its 26th year, we are looking to partner with businesses, individuals and organizations that share our values and which are interested in deepening their connections with our dynamic donor base, our stakeholders, and our region’s LGBTQ community, including its thought leaders.

To access tickets for the event, click here: https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d2/default.aspx?wid=71189

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Editor’s Note: There will be a live auction in which and original vintage photograph by Tony Ward will be auctioned to benefit the LBGT community.

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Documentary, Men, News, Popular Culture, women