Tony Ward made his first trip to Amsterdam, The Netherlands in the Spring of 1999. Many visits followed. He would often check into the Winston Hotel, renowned in Europe as an “Art” hotel. It welcomed and catered to artists from around the world. The Winston was the brainchild of Frans Verlinden, Jr., a handsome innovative hotel entrepreneur who became fast friends with the American photographer. The hotel is located on the Warmoestratt, one of the oldest streets in Amsterdam; central within the heart of the red light district. Mr. Verlinden, a passionate supporter of the Arts, introduced Tony Ward to renowned Dutch artists including; Aldert Mantje, Paul Blanca and Erwin Olaf. These and other artists frequented the hotel and helped to preserve its reputation.
Ward was also introduced to entertainment businessmen Rene Meeuwessen and Jeroen Oosterhout. These men about town were the Dutch owners/producers of a spectacular known as Wasteland. This is the largest fetish party in all of Europe. The extravaganzas are held twice yearly at various venues in Amsterdam which could accommodate extremely large crowds. The Wasteland party historically attracts approximately 4000 people at both their fall and spring annual events. Attendees arrive from various European locations including Belgium, Germany, England and France. Tony Ward was invited to MC a Wasteland event. This piqued his interest in fetish photography and there it began. The result of this immersion into the fetish world was a picture book by Ward that documented the Wasteland parties from 1999 to 2005. The monograph was published in 2010 by La Musardine, Paris. It was at these parties that the artist began to photograph sexual acts he witnessed. BDSM, group sex, gay/lesbian sex and Shibaru were but some of the alternative and exotic methods of sexual satisfaction. He also photographed fetish fashion, which was enforced by “door bitches” who administered a very strict dress code.
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