Category Archives: Light Table

Bob Shell: Strange Signs

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Beware of Dog. Photo: Tony Ward, 1979

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #20

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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STRANGE SIGNS

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In my travels I always kept an eye open for interesting things to photograph. Sometimes it was people, sometimes animals, sometimes street scenes, and so on. One thing I saw almost everywhere was signs, sometimes official, more often hand printed. Among the official signs, one of my favorites is a bronze plaque set into a sidewalk in Germany. It reads something like:

On this spot on February 16, 1539,

Absolutely nothing happened.

I’m sure I got the date wrong, but you get the idea. That was either in Munich or Wetzlar.

One time in Germany, Peter Moore took s picture of me next to an arrow sign pointing at me, saying EIN FAHRT. Of course that means “ONE WAY,” as any German speaker knows!

A sign I saw in South Tyrol, the German-speaking part of northern Italy, was in multiple languages, but totally incompressible in any. I think it warned of flash floods, but that didn’t come from the text, but from the little man panicking in rushing water in the pictograph at the top of the sign.

Seen in the American Midwest on the side of a big white building:

CUSTOM KILLING

Makes you want to walk right in, eh?

On a large factory in Hong Kong:

HUNG FAT BRASSIERE COMPANY

And in a hotel in that same city, on a plaque on the inside of the room door a number of suggestions for hotel guests, including:

HOTEL GUESTS ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MAIDS

The intent comes through, but a native English speaker would have phrased it differently! You find lots of butchered English in the far east, one of the best sighted in a shop window:

ENGLISH WELL SPEACHED HERE

Yeah, sure it is.

In a Chinese restaurant window in, I think, Kuala Lumpur (which itself means “Muddy Junction”) was this:

BLOODY GOOD CHINESE FOOD AT FAIR DINKUM PRICES

That one got me to go inside. I don’t know if the prices were really “fair dinkum,” but the food was really good.

Closer to home, driving up Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley through picturesque little towns I spotted this one on the roadside:

BOX SPRING & MATTERS FUR SAIL

Gets the point across, I guess. Not far along the same road, this one:

BLAN KETS $ 4.00 PA URD

Took a while to figure out that this person was selling blankets for $ 4.00 per yard! They were actually very nice home made blankets at a reasonable price.

And on the side of a barn in New Bern, Virginia:

WE DONT RENT PIGS

I think they stole the idea for that one!

A friend recently sent me this one:

WELCOME

THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY

PLEASE DON’T DRIVE LIKE HELL THROUGH IT

I like that one.

I have a large collection of photos of odd signs in my archive, some of which made money as stock images.

Which leads into another topic, stock photography. Unfortunately, the days when a photographer could earn a nice second income from stock photo sales are pretty much over. I used to get regular checks from the licensing of images I had with agencies. Then along came tbe Internet, and my stock payments lost two zeros on the amount payable line. People used to ask me what’s was the most I ever got paid for a single image. I’d smile and say 78,000. After the shock wore off, I’d clarify that it was Yen, not dollars. It was for the use of one of my images on the cover of the Japanese edition of a Danielle Steel romance novel. Actually, the Japanese editions of several of her books bear my photographs thanks to a real whirlwind of an agent I had in Tokyo. Tony knows who I’m talking about.

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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 herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/08/bob-shell-warning-environmentalist-rant/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Travel

Bob Shell: Dead Cats in the Studio – Yikes!

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Artwork by Dean Rosenzweig, Copyright 2018

 

 

Bob Shell: Letters From Prison # 17

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Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018

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Artwork by Dean Rosenzweig, Copyright 2018

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DEAD CATS IN THE STUDIO – YIKES!

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Some years ago my friend Steve Sint and I were eating in a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan, when the subject of discussion turned to what our personal limits were, what we would and would not photograph. Basically Steve argued for photographing anything at all, so long as the pay was good and it wouldn’t get you arrested, while I thought a photographer should have some narrower limits. Looking back on that now, I realize that my limits are pretty bizarre by many people’s standards.

Case in point: Those dead cats.

At some time in the mid-80s, Ruth Steinberger, an illustrator friend who primarily illustrates textbooks, came to me with a project. It was to illustrate an anatomy and physiology lab manual. The plan was for Ruth and the author to bring the dead cats to my studio and dissect them in stages. I was to take photos and Ruth would do line drawings to make the details easier to locate, photo on left page, drawing on right page. This project took something like two weeks with the smelly cats in my studio. I don’t know what they use as a preservative now that formaldehyde has been banned, but it sure stinks! Took weeks for that smell to leave my studio completely. Limits: they also wanted some pictures of cadavers, but I said no, no dead people in my studio!

Was I wrong? Steve would have thought so, and said go for it. But I just couldn’t wrap my mind around working with dead bodies. The cats were enough for me.

Which brings me to another weird project, dead aliens. You may remember the furor raised by the FOX TV program Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction broadcast, I think, in 1995.. As it turned out the owner of the film wanted my help in authenticating that the 16mm film actually dated from 1947. I knew that Kodak used edge marks exposed onto the film during manufacture to make dating of film footage possible. I was sent some pieces of the actual film to analyze, and the edge markings were correct for 1927, 1947, or 1967 (Kodak reuses the code every 20 years), but there was a hitch – the film was a copy, not camera original footage. This was explained because the camera original would have been a negative and copied onto another film for projection. The film was supposedly shot by an Army photographer after the crash near Roswell, New Mexico, of an unknown aircraft The film couldn’t have been shot in 1927 or 1967 because the film type (Kodak Super XX) wasn’t made in those years. So was it really filmed in 1947? I couldn’t say 100% yes or no, but my gut feeling is that it was.

While working on this project I was contacted by a producer from TF1, one of the French TV networks. Would I come to Paris to give my opinion on a live, two hour program they were doing on the film? Oui! So off to Paris I flew to appear on Jacques Pradel Presents. Pradel was sort of like the French Dan Rather, with an enormous following. They’d built a giant eye on the set with a working iris, and it opened and I walked out of it and down stairs to dramatic music to meet Pradel. We carried on a conversation that was somewhat stilted because I don’t speak French. So as he was speaking a babelfish in my ear was piping in a “simultaneous” translation. The same for him since he doesn’t speak English. Anyway, it was a blast, particularly the after party! Anyone interested in learning more about this episode of my photographic career can read the book that Mike Hesemann, Philip Mantle, and I wrote titled Beyond Roswell. My name isn’t on the book cover due to contractual problems, but I’m in there as co-author. And, no, I don’t get any royalties, that’s long since ended, so I don’t profit if you buy the book. Actually I’m still mad at the publisher. They sent me galley proofs so I could make corrections, I spent hours going over them and sent in a long list of corrections. Then the book came out without a single correction being made! These things happen and the authors get the blame. When my first book (Pro Guide: The Canon EOS System) came out, two of my photographs were printed upside-down! Of course those readers who noticed blamed me.

Is that really a dead Roswell alien being sliced and diced in that strange film? The jury is still out on that. Anyone interested can find tons of pro and con on the Internet, including an audio file of my interview with Art Bell on his old Coast to Coast FM radio program. I’ve just learned that Art died, a real loss to his many listeners over the years.

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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 herehttp://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-art-of-rope/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Film, Men, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Travel

Paul Mojica: R.I.P.

paul Mojica rest in peace past away

Paul Mojica: R.I.P.

Also posted in Blog, Fashion, Glamour, Models, News

TWE: September 2017

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TWE: SEPTEMBER 2017

Also posted in Art, Blog, Erotica, Fashion, Film, Glamour, Hetero Love, Models, Obsessions, Photography, Portraits, The Tease, Women

Light Table: The Philo Project

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Jennie: The Philo Project

 

 

Photography and Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017

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THE PHILO PROJECT

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During my second year of teaching Photography classes at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, I was asked by members of  the universities Philomathean Society to lecture about my involvement in erotic photography. Founded in 1813, Philo is a student run literary society located atop College Hall in the heart of campus life.  A small group of  Philo members asked me to be photograph them in the nude as part of their learning experience regarding  this controversial genre of photographic history. The photographs were taken in the halls of the society where traditional adornments contributed to the classically composed imagery. Photographs from the series are now part of the societies records and notes.

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Paul: The Philo Project

 

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Erotica, Nudes, Photography