Coming Back Stronger

Artist Tony Powell embraces positive thinking in the face of challenges.

If there’s anyone who can find the silver lining in a difficult situation, it’s Tony Powell. The Maryland-based creative, known by many around town for his event photography and gregarious presence at said events, approached the pandemic with the positive outlook he’s embraced since overcoming alcoholism 12 years ago. It was another challenge that provided an opportunity for growth.

“I made the best of Covid,” Powell explained. “The silver lining was the ability to reevaluate, to look back and see what was working and what wasn’t, what could be reassessed and what was really beneficial. Taking inventory of my life during those early months of Covid proved invaluable.”

Prior to Covid, Powell’s schedule would make your head spin. He was working two or three jobs a day as a photographer, zipping from Maryland to D.C. to Virginia and beyond with camera equipment in tow. A typical day might involve corporate portraits in the morning, followed by a benefit luncheon in the afternoon, and then two or three galas at night. He has photographed countless famous figures, including Madonna and The Pope. “Before Covid, I had no time to think,” Powell admits. When things slowed down, “I was really able to see how I was running around chasing my tail. I’m grateful that I don’t have to live that way now even though things are coming back in a really beautiful way. I was able to see that I had time I could re-manage and I stuck with that.”

Now, the strict vegan makes sure to carve out time for weekly Russian sauna visits and gym time. He’s expanded his skills to include drone photography and a return to visual arts. The Julliard grad has created ballets for the Joffrey Ballet and premiered a symphony at the Kennedy Center.

Powell is proof that making time for self-care pays off. His work was recently featured in Vanity Fair and he’s enjoying his return to the society circuit. “People are very excited to get back out again,” he said. “Events might be truncated to some degree but that could be a good thing. Maybe we trim the fat off these things to make them more meaningful.”

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“Taking an inventory of my life during those early months of Covid proved invaluable.”

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