Mikel Elam: Perception

Announcement for painter Mikel Elam exhibition at City Arts Salon in Philadelphia
Mikel Elam Exhibit at City Arts Salon

Mikel Elam is a visual artist working primarily as a painter. His work focuses on storytelling through memory and dreams using the fragments of face and figure to convey information and ideals about world culture. 

Mikel attended the University of the Arts,Philadelphia. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts/Painting. He went on to study at School of the Visual Arts in New York City. Mikel’s work has been featured in international publications and media. He also worked as an traveling assistant to Jazz musician Miles Davis. He also assisted Mr. Davis in achieving his visual arts aspirations as a painter.


To access additional art work by Mikel Elam, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/gallery/mikel-elam-painter/

Faces of Immigration: Photographs by Harvey Finkle

Photograph of black mom getting her daughter ready for school
Photo: Harvey Finkle, Copyright 2022

Press Release:


Faces of Immigration: Photographs by Harvey Finkle


On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 3:00-7:30pm
For five decades social worker turned photographer Harvey Finkle (Penn MSW ’61) has documented immigrant communities as well as social and political activism across Philadelphia and beyond. He began photographing the work of the Sanctuary Movement in the early 1980s. In 2003 his exhibition Philadelphia Mosaic: New Immigrants in America was held at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
This pop-up exhibition, made possible by Finkle’s 2020 gift of his archive to the Penn Libraries, highlights photographs from both periods and is presented in association with the Wolf Humanities Center’s roundtable, Immigration: A Philadelphia Perspective.
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, sixth floor
3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Free and open to the public (please show photo ID at entrance and follow requirements below)
To register for the event and for up-to-date information, go to: 
IMPORTANT: In order to attend, you must be fully vaccinated. 
Masks must be worn at all times. N95/KN95 masks or double masking required. 
When entering the Library, Penn-affiliated visitors must show a green PennOpen Pass. 
Non-Penn affiliated visitors must show a green pass from the PennOpen Campus system:
  • Before arriving on campus, complete your vaccination, symptom, and exposure check at https://pennopen.med.upenn.edu/campus.
  • You will receive a green pass when you report your fully vaccinated status, no symptoms, no recent contact with someone who may have COVID-19, and no recent positive test. You can print out your pass and bring the paper copy along if you do not have a smartphone.
  • Show your green pass at the entrance to the library.

Bob Shell: A Revolution in Imaging

Asian woman wearing corset
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021


A Revolution in Imaging


I’ve just learned of an amazing breakthrough in imaging technology.
A camera the size of a grain of salt has been developed by a team of researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington. In spite of its tiny size, the camera can take sharp RGB images equivalent to those from regular digital cameras. The potential applications for these tiny cameras are very broad, and new applications will doubtless be developed because of this new technology.

While traditional cameras utilize lenses, even the smallest ones, this camera makes use of a metasurface. The metasurface this camera uses to capture images was fabricated by University of Washington optical engineer James Whitehead.

The metasurface is made of silicon nitride, described as a glasslike material usefully compatible with the semiconductor manufacturing methods currently used to produce computer chips. According to the researchers, this means that once the metasurface has been designed, it can be easily mass produced for lower costs than traditional camera lenses.
Ethan Tseng and his colleagues are credited with designing the tiny camera using the metasurface studded with 1.6 million tiny cylindrical posts, each the size of a single virus particle. The whole metasurface measures 0.5 millimeters in width, and, unlike traditional lenses, actually acts like an antenna that can reshape an optical wavefront. This one metasurface can act like a traditional camera that utilizes a six-element lens.

This new technology can turn all sorts of surfaces into ultra high resolution cameras. Instead of having optical lenses in your smartphone, the whole surface of the phone could be one giant camera.

The first use we’ll see for the grain of salt sized cameras will likely be in tiny robots, whose size has been limited by the size of traditional optical systems.  My information comes from a story by Ian Randall, posted on November 30 on http://Mailonline.com.

About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonyward.com/censorship/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com. Here’s the link:

Exhibition Announcement: Tableaux Vivants 1994 – 1996

Dupree Gallery: Tableaux Vivants 1994 – 1996. Photographs Tony Ward

Tableaux Vivants: 1994 – 1996


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021


This exhibition Tableaux Vivants: 1994 – 1996 is being hosted by my dear friend the artist James Dupree. I met James and his wonderful wife Anita in the mid-eighties when I moved my family into Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood. It was known then and still is a haven for creative people including the likes of Isaiah Zagar, Jenny Lynn,  Ray Metzker, Ruth Thorne Thompson, George Krause, Robert Asman, Harvey Finkle, Zoey Strauss, James of course and many others.

James asked if he could host an exhibition of my work the day after we were hit by a massive water main break on our block at 6th & Bainbridge streets. He made the offer knowing how damaged The Ward Studio was from the flood waters on July 25th, 2021.  It was truly an act of friendship and empathy from one artist to another. For that I am truly grateful.

I dedicate this exhibition to the late Paul Mojica also known as “Luna” in the Philadelphia gay community.  Paul and I met in 1993 just as I was beginning to think about the tableaux vivant series.  He was by my side for those years first as my main makeup artist, but then another aspect of his many talents emerged.  That of a muse.  Paul appears in many of the pictures in this show in various costumes we dreamed up over drinks at the Latest Dish or on our photographic excursions to the Big Apple.  

I was very saddened to hear of his passing a few years ago.   This exhibition is dedicated to the life and times of Paul Mojica.


Paul Mojica: Photo by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021



To access the gallery of Tableaux Vivants, click herehttps://tonyward.com/early-work/tableaux-vivants-1994-1996/

Studio News: A Return to Teaching

A Photography Critique at Haverford College. Photo: Dan Burns

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

After a two year hiatus from teaching, I have accepted an invitation as visiting instructor of Fine Arts at Haverford College. On December 17th, 2019 my first meeting with photography students took place at the Jane Lutnick Fine Arts Center. My colleague Professor William Williams asked me to join him for a final critique of student work performed during the fall semester. In preparation for lecturing at Haverford I am currently reading, Criticizing Photographs by Terry Barrett. I look forward to the opportunity of teaching a color course with these bright exceptional students at Haverford beginning this month.


About Tony Ward:

Tony 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 Philadelphia, to service a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller business entities.

His personal work and research during the past 25 years has been rooted in exploring the visual cross sections of fashion and erotic photography by capturing the impact the sexual revolution of the 1960’s had on advertising and in particular magazine publishing.  His first book of photography, Obsessions with forward by A.D. Coleman was his first attempt at challenging the lines drawn between Art and Obscenity by questioning social mores, existing laws, and the evolution of photographic imagery that is viewed as inappropriate in some cultures and acceptable in others. He is particularly interested in further examining the first amendment right to freedom of expression and the impact censorship has had on the evolution of photography’s history.

To access Tony Ward’s curriculum vitae, click here:https://tonyward.com/about/