A few weeks ago I wrote about my most recent shoot with Macklemore for the cover of The Source. We also thought it would be fun to share a behind the scenes video to show you how the magic happened. Thanks for checking it out. Shout out also to Just 2 Guys for putting this together for us. Cheers.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work
Another amazing shoot with Macklemore! Goes without saying, but The Source Man of the Year cover is a pretty big issue in the hip hop industry. I’m so happy for Macklemore and all the amazing things that have happened this past year for him and Ryan Lewis. The first portrait shoot I did with the guys was 2 days before The Heist came out. This shoot was just two days after The Heist World Tour came to an end, and that really put it in perspective for me just how far these guys have come in such a short period of time. Although, that’s not really accounting for the years of hard work they put in before the world started paying attention. Well deserved if you ask me. Now go get em at the Grammy’s!
Below are some of my favorite images from this shoot as well as some fun behind the scenes pictures. We have a behind the scenes video in the works as well, so stay tuned for that. Enjoy!
And that’s a wrap. Thanks to my great crew for making this big production come together so smoothly. I think we wrapped around 1:30 am, but everyone hung in there tough. Behind the scenes pictures by the wonderful Olivia Lazer. Makeup by Katya Gudaeva. Styling by Cara Aeschliman. Production by Taylor Reed and Pat Vong. Retouching by Gigantic Squid. Assisting by Gregg White. And thanks Macklemore for the hat!
One of people I had the pleasure of working with in 2013 was the beautiful and talented Mary Lambert. Many people know her as the featured vocalist on “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but I know her as Mary, easily one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I had this old piano moved in for this shot, and Mary played and sang while we set up. I’m pretty sure everyone on set took extra long to set up because nobody wanted her to stop singing. It was one of those indescribable experiences, and a highlight of my year.
This shoot was for a great organization called Arts Corps in Seattle. They do incredible work with young people in low income communities where there is little or no access to art. It’s a program Mary was a part of when she was younger, and I was thrilled to work with them on this. You can follow the link above if you would like to find out more about Arts Corps. Special shout out to Art Director Patrick Mullins!
Here are a few behind the scenes images from the shoot. I don’t like to brag, but Mary was dying to sing a duet with me, and how could I say no. It was magical. People were crying and leaving the room so quickly. I think it was because they didn’t want ruin the moment.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Ad Campaign, BTS
I feel like I am beginning to repeat myself a little, because each ad campaign I have done this year feels like one of those dream jobs. This one for Washington Healthplanfinder was no exception. With Obamacare rolling out I got to work with the folks at GMMB on this hilarious ad campaign. If these images don’t convince you to get yourself some health insurance, I don’t know what will.
The first shoot (the seagull attack) took place on our own private ferry at 4:30am on a beautiful Sunday. It was maybe one of the coolest things I have done on a shoot. Drifting around in the Puget Sound at sunrise. Beautiful!
The next shoot was a 4:00am call time, which feels so early to me! Not a morning person, but the show must go on. The skateboard crash was the hardest and most technical of all the shots. Although my assistants might disagree since I have no idea how they managed a 12×12 and two 7 ft. softboxes on a windy ferry.
The roofing accident shot was at the end of a very long 12 hour day, but it was so fun. The talent with the nail gun, Gabriel, had us all dying with his dialog. I like to give people scenarios to work with when shooting this type of work. I find it helps me work through the situation, and also helps the talent get into character and make the image more believable. There are a lot of little details to think about on a shot like the roofing accident. What are these guys doing? What is happening on and off camera that I want the viewer to think about? Are the interactions of the two guys on the roof believable? And so on.
So for this shot, I explained to Gabriel:
You are putting a new roof on your home before the winter hits, and your good friend is helping you because he owes you a big favor (You traded him Russell Wilson for Trent Richardson in your fantasy football league.). You are almost done with one side of the roof, when your neighbor walks by and see’s you up there. He gives you a puzzled look because he knows you are not the handiest guy on the block. Hey, what the heck are you doing up there!? he yells. Gabriel looks back at his neighbor with a big smile, and says… And this is where Gabriel took over with his improv. ”Oh, we roofin’ man! Yeah, we roofin’!” ”What’s it look like we doin’ up her man, we roofin’!” You might think over an hour of this might get old, but somehow it didn’t. We just laughed, took pictures and, yeah, we roofin’.
Here are some of my favorite behind the scenes images from this shoot. Big thanks to my new rep Redeye, Kontent Partners (who are super amazing people, and amazing at what they do), GMMB, Gigantic Squid, Cara Aeschliman, Gregg White, and so many more. I am blessed to work with such fun people.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work
I am a huge fan of Jeff Garlin. I really liked his work going into this shoot for NY Times Magazine, and I am an even bigger fan after working with him.
My friend Sara Coates was recently cast in a movie called Laggies. They just wrapped up filming, so it should be in theaters next year. On one of the first days of filming, Sara sent me a text message with a picture of Jeff. ”I’m acting with Jeff!” I immediately thought to myself, “I would love to photograph Jeff Garlin!!!” That was a Sunday night. The next day, I got a call from my rep Julia, and she asked me if I wanted to shoot an assignment for New York Times Magazine. The answer to that question is always yes, and then she said, “It’s actor Jeff Garlin.” No joke!
This is actually the 3rd time this has happened to me in my career. Anthony Hopkins, Annie Leibovitz, and now Jeff. So naturally I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking, and “putting it out there”. I always tell my daughter, you’ll never know unless you ask. And now, she has learned the benefits of asking for stickers at any store we walk into. Who knew Chevron had stickers. But that’s another story. I can’t take all of the credit for many of the great opportunities I have had come my way, but this is the type of job where you have to make things happen, and tell people what you want. Even if it’s just declaring to your wife on a Sunday night while watching Netflix that you want to photograph one of your favorite actors.
Jeff walked into the shoot with a Leica around his neck, and I knew right away this was going to be fun. Thank you New York Times Magazine, Gabrielle Plucknette, Clinton Cargill for a wonderful assignment, and thank you Jeff for bringing the magic!
Here is the photo and interview of Jeff Garlin that ran the NY Times Magazine. I was thrilled they chose my favorite image.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Editorial Work
Wait! You mean, there is a 3rd cosmonaut outfit? I’m going to need to wear that… It only makes sense. It will help me understand my subjects and connect with them better. I’m a method photographer, what can I say.
It seems like it was just yesterday I was in this very same room at Wexley School For Girls with Cal and Ian for my first shoot with them. They were flexing on the white baby grand piano. It was magical. Since then, we have done I don’t know how many shoots together, but this is definitely one of my favorite ones.
Thanks to AdWeek for a fun assignment, and thanks to Wexley for keeping the magic alive.
Last month I had the great pleasure of traveling to Dubai to speak and teach at GPP 2013. It was an incredible experience and I was able to meet some awesome people and photographers. GPP was an incredibly well planned and exciting week of workshops and seminars by some of the top teachers in the industry. I tried to pop in on a few different workshops when I had 10 minutes or so to spare, and I learned so much, even in such a short amount of time.
I had many great experiences and interactions on this trip, but perhaps the best part of the whole trip was dinner each night. Not because the food was incredible (Well, Ravi’s was), but it was the people I sat next to at dinner: David Alan Harvey, Greg Heisler, David Burnett, David Hobby, Zach Arias, Peter Hurley, Joe McNally, and on and on. Wow. How fun! Talk about great conversations and stories.
In addition to being one of the teachers, I was also asked to participate in the shootout on the last night of the week. The GPP shootout is a fairly new tradition that has caught on like wild fire. 3 photographers competing against each other under less than ideal circumstances. The rules are explained in the video, but basically you are given an assignment in front of 350 people, and from that moment, you have 20 minutes to think, light, shoot and edit a picture from start to finish. After all 3 photographers have finished, the crowd votes on who they think won. My competitors were Zack Arias, and Lindsay Adler. It was intense, but I have to say, after feeling nervous for about 30 seconds, I really enjoyed it. Not to mention, I love how my picture turned out! Now I have Leibovitz and Heisler in my collection.
So what was the assignment? Create a portrait of one of the greatest portrait photographers of all time, Gregory Heisler. Fortunately, I had gotten to know Greg over the course of the week, so I knew he was an awesome guy, and that helped a bit. Before I packed my bags for Dubai, I had anticipated, or at least hoped the assignment would involve shooting a portrait, or at least photographing a human one way or another. To be at least somewhat prepared, I brought a few props just in case (turtleneck and wig). I only needed 2 of them as it turned out, so I’m going to keep the other options a secret for now.
The video above is condensed quite a bit, so there is a lot you aren’t seeing and hearing, but this is a great recap of how it all went down. Congrats to Zack Arias on winning! He was talking trash all week, and he backed it up by going for the jugular. And by that, I mean he put a teabag on my head. Which I should have been more humiliated by, but I was too shocked at the time to fully know what was going on.
David Hobby (strobist.com) wrote a very flattering blog post about the GPP Shootout from his perspective which is worth a read if you are interested. He has done the shootout before, so he has a good perspective from all sides of the event. Thanks David for the kind words, and thank you Mohamed, Hala, and everyone else at GPP for being such wonderful hosts! I hope you all enjoy watching this, and maybe I’ll see you in Dubai next year.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Keatley Christmas, Personal Work
Every year I get more and more excited to create and show our annual family picture. It’s hard to believe this is the 4th year we have done this! Each year has felt like a different process, and the one comment I get more than anything else is, “Where do you come up with this stuff?” I like how the concept for this year’s picture came about, and thought it would be fun to share the story with you.
This fall, our family vacationed on the Washington coast for a week, which was pretty amazing. On a number of days, we noticed there were hundreds of pelicans and seagulls standing on the beach, staring out at the ocean for up to 7 hours at a time it seemed. Not that I was timing them or anything. I had better things to do than worry about how long birds stayed on the beach. But seriously, get a job you lazy birds. Nobody could figure out what the heck they were doing out there just staring at the ocean. One day I went for a long walk on the beach. Every once in a while a wave would wash over a sand dune, and these tiny fish would get beached for a few seconds until the next wave washed over and they swam away. After seeing that, I’m guessing those lazy birds were just sitting on the beach, waiting for a free lunch. The pelican equivalent of day drinking panhandlers.
On the last day of vacation, I got it in my head that I wanted to create an image with a bunch of birds in it. As much as I had grown to resent their laziness and lack of drive, I took my camera down to the beach with my sister, and tried to sneak up as close as possible to get some pictures. Well, aside from being extremely lazy, these pelicans are also very cynical with some serious trust issues. I don’t know if I could get closer than 75 feet to them without every single bird flying away. Talk about bird issues…
Our daughter Isla does this really cute thing, where she puts her hands out in front of her like a T-Rex, and bobs up and down while she takes big steps toward the person she is going to “scare”. My sister joked that it was too bad we didn’t have a pelican costume for Isla, so she could sneak up and get closer to the birds. That was it. The clouds opened up, I heard angels singing, and I saw God smiling at me. Thanks to my brilliant sister, Allison, I knew what had to be done for the 2012 Keatley Family Picture. With a new focus and determination like never before, I came up with all kinds of tactics to get the lazy birds to fly in all different directions, and I shot about 1,000 images of birds for the next 30 minutes or so.
Once back home, I began researching costumes and decided I wanted them to look frumpy and not very realistic. The idea was not to make us look like actual pelicans, but that it would be overly obvious we were in these sad costumes, which at least some of us did not want to be in.
I would like to thank my family for putting up with the things I ask them to do and wear for these pictures. Isla, I swear you will thank me in 20 or 30 years. Thanks to my sister,Allison, and her husband, Simon, for helping me chase and herd birds on the beach like a bunch of crazy people. Thanks to Nichelle’s mom, Denise, for making the perfectly frumpy costumes, and thanks to one of my best friends Ian Goode, from Gigantic Squid, who made the retouching magic happen. Thank you for your interest in my work, it’s a blessing to get to do this for a living. Until next time, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.
Below is a little collection of images from this project. The first group of beach and bird pictures are a few of the images used to create the environment. The second grouping is a little behind the scenes look at the human / pelican studio shoot, and the final group contains some of my favorite outtakes that didn’t make the cut. Enjoy.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets, Travel
For many people, Ferran Adria needs no introduction, but for those of you who are not familiar with Ferran, he is one of the most innovative chefs and people in recent history. He has been on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people list multiple times. His restaurant El Bulli was the best restaurant in the world until he shut it down in 2011 at the peak of it’s success, with the idea of reinventing it. Not many people have the vision and willingness to take great risks the way Ferran does, and that is a big part of what this feature is about.
This assignment came up very quickly, and within 3 days of getting the call, I was off to Barcelona. Aside from creating some awesome images, my secondary goal was food. Get food. Just a piece of cheese or a scrap of bread would suffice. To be able to say I was handed food from Ferran Adria, that would be pretty cool.
Right off the bat, I want to thank and acknowledge the creative team at Wired UK. The Photo Editors, Dalia Nassimi and Steve Peck, Art Director Andrew Diprose, and Executive Editor Greg Williams. Greg and Andrew also traveled to Barcelona for this shoot, and we first met up with Ferran at El Bulli Workshop not far from our hotel in Barcelona. It was a busy morning between meetings, the interview and photo shoot, but we worked with Ferran in small chunks of time throughout the day. Ferran is one of the most meticulous and driven people I have ever met. As you can see from some of these images, his attention to detail and planning is second to none. Every room in his workshop as well as his kitchens are lined with whiteboards covered in notes, diagrams, and plans. His spice rack at El Bulli Workshop is so thought out, he probably knows how many grains of salt are in the salt jar. Perhaps most impressive was the play dough portion size and design templates for each meal he has created. Nothing is left to chance. His passion for his work and innovation also seem to be very contagious, because everyone he works with seems to completely buy in. I was able to learn some of this before the shoot through my research, but it is never as fun as the real deal. It was really amazing to pull some of the intensity and passion out of him, as you can see in these images.
Ferran now has a new tapas bar with his brother, Albert, in Barcelona called Tickets. From what we had gathered, it is quite an experience in it’s own right, with an impressive menu, including several famous dishes from El Bulli. It’s also next to impossible to get in to. Greg brought up the idea of getting a table during the photo shoot, but we were told it just wasn’t possible. While Ticket’s would have been the ultimate dining experience, we were in Barcelona after all, and Ferran recommended some of his favorite tapas bars and restaurants to us, which were all amazing. Later that evening, we caught up with Ferran at a local museum which has a wonderful exhibit on the history of El Bulli. They closed the museum down, and we got a private tour from Ferran.
We had 2 days of shooting scheduled with Ferran, and after a long and eventful day one, we got up early the next morning and drove a couple of hours outside Barcelona to El Bulli. It is still closed as a restaurant, but currently is filled with computer programmers and large white boards of plans and code. Big changes are coming to El Bulli before it re-opens in 2014. Going out there, we knew the kitchen was closed, so we were not expecting food, but we were also not expecting the surprise Ferran had instore for us. Ferran pulled Greg, Andrew, and myself over to a corner of the outdoor patio and brought us into a tight circle. He held out 3 fingers, looked at us in the eyes, and said, “9:00 tonight, Tickets for the 3 of you.” Kids at Christmas! We were through the roof. More on that below.
This issue has only been out about a week now, and we are already seeing this cover being recognized as one of the best covers of 2012. Pretty exciting to be a part of that, and an honor to work with AD Andrew Diprose, who is one of the best in the industry.
Below are pictures I took of our meal at Tickets. In all of the excitement and euphoria, there were several dishes I forgot to photograph. That being said, here are quite a few images of many of the amazing things I got to eat that night. Our server’s name was Claudia, and she added so much to the experience. We didn’t feel qualified to order, so we told her to bring whatever she wanted to serve us. She talked to us quite a bit throughout the night, and brought the dishes in an order that flowed and paired flavors. Ferran even came in to say hi and introduce us to his brother Albert. It was by far the most amazing food experience I have ever had. We asked the concierge at our hotel for walking directions to Tickets before we left, and he told us he could make several other restaurant recommendations because we would not be able to get in. Greg tried to explain that we had reservations, but he just laughed at us. Silly tourists.
This short video about Tickets gives you an awesome behind the scenes look at the food they create and what the dining experience is like. Eating at one of Ferran’s restaurants really is about the whole experience and using all of your senses.
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the October issue of Wired UK which is currently on stands. You can also see a great documentary on Netflix called El Bulli: Cooking In Progres. There are also hundreds of fascinating videos online of Ferran and El Bulli. I can tell you I have already invested countless hours watching many of them.
I would like to thank everyone who worked with me on this assignment. Dalia, Andrew, Greg, and Steve at Wired UK. Awesome people. Thanks to my rep Julia at Redux Pictures for all her support and hard work on the backend to make this all happen. Thanks to Gigantic Squid for the awesome retouching. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my work.
Posted by Izzy / Filed under BTS
One word sums up the experience of working with the team at the Seattle based ad agency, Wexley School for Girls: AWESOME. The long and short of it, is that these guys and gals are a riot, and life is never dull when working or hanging out with Wexley. They never so much as bat an eyelash when John shows up asking them to take their shirts off, dress up in chicken costumes, sprawl across the baby grand, or any other fantastically strange idea John has thrown at them over the years. Well, actually, not everyone was on board with this concept off the bat, but everyone came around eventually after a good pep talk.
Most business executives need headshots for speaking, press, articles, etc., and the leaders at Wexley are no different. These portraits are of the Wexley senior leadership team. As you can see, not only are they all pretty much topless, but they have Sara Coates and I smashing and manipulating their faces with our hands. At least the men do. The women got a couple of male interns to stand in, and it just so happened to be their first day on the job. It was awesome, and one of those shoots where we were laughing so hard we cried a little. Some people may have cried from awkwardness too, but it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. Thanks Wexley for being great sports, and for working with us to create such awesome photography. I like to think this kind of work is the stuff that stands the test of time.
These pictures have already received some of the greatest comments on Facebook. It’s almost like a social experiment the way some people are so confused by these portraits. ”They aren’t really going to use those for press are they?” Yes, yes they are.
Here is a quick behind the scenes video of the shoot. Can’t wait to see what happens next time.
Thanks team Wexley, and thanks as always to Gigantic Squid for retouching!