Patrick McDougall: Behind The Scenes


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

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Behind The Scenes

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Photographs by Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023

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The email seemed rather innocuous at first.  Yet another person from social media making a query about having me take pictures of them on commission. Most of the time,  things don’t pan out for one reason or another, but in this case it did.

Patrick McDougall is chief executive officer of a company he formed 25 years ago that specializes in mass transportation based in London. So why did I hear from a person on Instagram by the name of Alice?  That is what piqued my interest about the assignment. Was Alice really a she? Or a he/she?

It’s complicated. The commission involved making portraits of not just one, but three separate personalities contained in one human being . To perform the task of satisfying the clients request, I assembled a great team of creatives who were able to satisfy Patrick McDougall’s wildest dreams.

Patrick arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, September 15, 2023 after a week long business trip to New York City. This would be his first visit to Philly and perhaps not the last since he reported having such a great time during his stay.  My creative director, KVaughn and I met with our new client on the eve of the commission in the Gayborhood where he preferred to stay. The question was would we be meeting up with Patrick or Alice? KV and I discussed the matter on the way to meet the subject for an early dinner at Sampan.  I was sure it would be Alice, because she seemed to be the most domineering of characters. Sure enough I was right.  In a dimly lit street off of Locust walking towards the hotel, I noticed a very tall person with long blond hair, a pink sweater and nothing much else. We first met Alice for sure!

Yet there was a third persona to be revealed during the shoot that was to follow on Saturday. That was Lyra, the alter ego of the more sexually subdued Alice. Lyra was the raging sex queen. All of these challenges of photographing multiple personalities were met during one of the most complex commissions I’ve yet to receive.

Thanks to the crew: KVaughn  (creative director) , Anthony Colagreco (lighting assistant, Miss Joy (dominatrix), Ernest Thomas (BTS: stills and video), Octavia Monroe (hair and makeup), for making this amazing shoot possible.

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Portrait of famous famous photographic artist Tony Ward with his crew at his studio in Elkins Park, Pa.
The Crew. Photo: Ernest Thomas, Copyright 2023

A Chance Meeting With Joe and Hunter Biden


Text and Photographs by Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

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A Chance Meeting With Joe and Hunter Biden

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In 1997, I 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 estate.  Mr. Weymouth grew accustomed to seeing me 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. I was often invited by Mr. Weymouth himself to photograph and  mingle with many of his longtime friends. Jamie Wyeth’s wife Phyllis Wyeth, a close friend of Frolich’s,  also came to know of my 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. 

One day while on assignment photographing Jamie on his estate, a friend of mine (liason to the elites) suggested we go to Wilmington to visit a friend of his after the shoot with Jamie.  The friend turned out to be Hunter Biden. Hunter had just bought his first home and my friend wanted to see it.  We arrived at a fairly large single family colonial with a large pool table set up in what appeared to be the living room.  We walked around the house and heard Hunter call us into the kitchen for a beer. After just a short time, Hunter’s phone rings. It was  his dad, the senator checking in like he usually did when he arrived home from D.C. by train.  They made small talk. Hunter hung up the phone and then around 15 minutes later Joe Biden came in to join us.  We shook hands. He had a firm grip and a curiosity about who Hunter was with. Meeting Joe Biden impromptu like that left a positive impression of the man who would later become President.

Justine Bakker: Alone

 

Text and Photography by Justine Bakker, Copyright 2023

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Alone

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My journey is coming to an end, one more week to go.
I spent almost my entire journey in silence
and spent time alone in nature.
Taking a deep dive in, I needed that.
And I have received.
And now, now enough is enough.
I feel physically alone.
I long for people I trust around me.
I need some fun and laughter
I’m craving for touch, hugs
I long for mirrors, others to show me who I am now.
I’m homesick and that’s more than just connection to myself.
It is also connection to the world around me.
Besides longing, I also feel fear
Afraid of the crowd,
the many stimulus, the “main” matters,
The western rush and the pursuit..
The grey sky and leafless trees…
My body blocks when I let myself go into those thoughts.
Panic; Can I handle that yet? How?
I know: fear is a bad advisor
Spring is coming, that’s for sure.
I’m busy with life and death a lot,
bonded inseparable.
My life our life life on earth with earth
Our human life that can be so short (or long).
Already predetermined.
Death that is no longer scary, sometimes even a wish,
a way out.
I read about near death experiences in which
death is described as homecoming.
Our soul ‘lives’ before and after earthly life,
The soul remains and so I feel Mats very close, with me.
This faith gets me through the lack,
keeps me going.
Existential questions guide my days here.
What do I have left to live for?
What do I have to give, to share…?
I identify as a survivor, a warrior.
I have the willingness to face the reality.
I want to live, learn and be useful, matter.
I don’t have full answers to my life path
One direction and that’s enough for now.
Answers will come when the time is right.
I plant some seeds that I take care of,
cherish and protect .
I’m reaping the fruits, no rush,
patience, open up, trust,
one step at a time
Those kinds of mantras…
I am deeply grateful for this journey alone.
I have to go through this, want to see everything, feel it
I have learned to connect with my nature,
with my wishes and limits.
And with the immense earthly beauty
and fertility of all around me.
Now I long for home, to connect with you.
💙💙
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About The Author: Justine Bakker is an established fashion model, art director, set dresser and stylist based in the Netherlands.  To access additional articles by Justine Bakker, click herehttps://tonyward.com/justine-bakker-remembering-mats/
 
 

News: New Studio/Gallery Construction Update

 

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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New Studio/Gallery Construction Update

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Over the past few months significant progress has been made in the construction of the new studio/gallery being built at the enclave in Elkins Park.  I learned a lot about construction over this period of time thanks to my neighbor and friend, Joe Harkins whose taken up the role of construction supervisor, ever since I began the project in the Spring of this year.  Joe is a 78 year old retiree who for many years served the neighbors in our community as a master plumber.  Little did I know he also excelled outside of his mastery of plumbing when he proudly proclaimed that he single handedly built an addition on his home and a 30ft two car garage all by himself with a hammer, nails and a hand saw in the early 1970’s.  Joe is the type of man who likes to keep busy and enjoys teaching me the ropes about building a solid structure.  

As you can see in these construction photographs the positioning of the front entrance is designed to maximize the beauty of the natural light that will pore into the studio at particular times of the afternoon and early evening.  This will provide me and any  photographer that uses the new space for shoots the luxury of working with natural light.  

In the coming days, my assistant on the framing of the project, photographer Brian Hunt from Etimo Photo will be  stopping by to make final preparations for staging of  the delivery of nine 33 ft long roof trusses that will be arriving from a mill in New Jersey by flatbed truck. There have been many fulfilling moments that have taken place since I embarked on this journey.  Putting on the roof in the next few days might just be the most thrilling moment to come. We are on schedule to open in the Spring!

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To access additional articles about this construction project, click herehttps://tonyward.com/groundbreaking-for-new-studio-gallery/

Like Father Like Son and The Magic Garden

Isaiah Zagar voyeur
Voyeur. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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Like Father Like Son and The Magic Garden

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During the summer of 1996 I produced my first couples test shoot for Penthouse Magazine.  At the time I was looking around my neighborhood for a place to shoot and became intrigued by this place called The Magic Garden.  It was founded by artisans Julia and Isaiah Zagar.  We were friends from the neighborhood of Bella Vista where we raised our kids and enjoyed the artistic flavor of South street where the Zagar’s envisioned a dream of a creating an utopic art space that would attract visitors from around the world. Eventually their dream came true.  Little by little over a period of years Isaiah, an artist and well known mosaic specialist worked on the creation of the  space with assistants that he assigned to assist with various aspects of the project under his supervision.

One day, after having breakfast with Isaiah at the 4th Street Deli, he invited me over to see the progress he was making.  I asked if I could take some erotic pictures of a couple that I had cast for an editorial for Penthouse Magazine.   He jumped at the idea. Isaiah mentioned that although his father, Asher Zagar ( lived on the premises at the time) was a Playboy fan, surely wouldn’t mind witnessing the photo shoot that was to take place at his home by Playboy’s biggest competitor.  The father and son were so intrigued by my work that they decided to join in on the production. I first photographed Isaiah and the couple with a my Hasselblad camera.  I directed Isaiah while nude to descend down a flight of steps while acting like a voyeur.  I don’t think he was acting.

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Asher Zagar looks on while couple performs sex act
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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In the second image, I switched over to my Nikon and photographed his dad casually seated on an outdoor terrace while reading a book with the couple making love next to him.  This particular photograph was published in the book of Tableau Vivants, Editions Stemmle, Zurich 2001. To see more photos from the tableaux vivants series, click here: https://tonyward.com/portfolios/tableaux-vivants-1994-1996/

It is know wonder why these days the Philadelphia tourist bureau has listed The Magic Garden as a destination while traveling through the city of brotherly love.

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To access additional articles by Tony Ward, click here: https://tonyward.com/studio-news-first-annual-friends-of-tony-ward-studio-luncheon/