13
Feb

The Family That Goes To Jail Together…

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work

Well, you know what they say.  The family that get’s into an altercation with a 65 year old lady with big hair from Texas because she cut in line in front of us at the Nordstrom Santa photo booth together, stays together.  And apparently goes to jail together too.  I’ll admit this is all a bit embarrassing, but as you can see, we were a little tied up so to speak this last Christmas.  Not exactly how we envisioned spending the Holidays, but thankfully everything got cleared up and we are now back home.  I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do our annual family picture this year, but thankfully one of the guards took this for us, and it turned out pretty good.  It is a part of our story now, so why pretend it didn’t happen I guess.

Oh, and is it too late to say Happy New Year?  Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you enjoy the new Keatley Family Picture.  And some of you thought we weren’t going to do one this year.  Please!

And one more thing.  If anyone want’s to help me pick up trash on the side of I-90 between Issaquah and Bend for the next 6 months, give a holler.  I would love your help.

10
Dec

What A Bunch Of Lazy Pelicans

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.

05
Dec

Merry Christmas From Up In A Tree

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope you are able to look back at 2011 with fond memories, and look forward to 2012 with excitement and anticipation.  That’s how I am feeling right now.

Here is the highly-anticipated 2011 Annual Keatley Christmas picture.  It feels so good to have this one in the can, and to finally get to look at it.  (You can click on the image to get a closer look.)  This year, we are living the good life, up in a tree, because that’s how we roll in the great Pacific Northwest.  Sorry to break it to you, but red flannel is the new cheesy Christmas sweater.  I know, just when you finally got around to planning that sweater party.  It’s not too late to trade ‘em in for flannel and an axe though.

As you may remember, in last years picture, we were with our yeti in the middle of Fargo.  (You can see all three of our Christmas pictures by filtering the posts with the ‘Keatley Christmas’ category.)  It went over pretty well, and because of that, I put a lot of pressure on myself to repeat or even outdo it this year.  Long story short, I over thought the whole idea and couldn’t come up with anything for about 5 months.  This has been a year of great learning and growth for me as a photographer.  I have had some things I had to really wrestle and struggle with for a good part of the year, but in the end, I feel like I came out with a much better perspective and idea of who I want to be as an artist.  It was only after I made some of these realizations that I was able to come up with this idea.  It was a difficult, but worthwhile process, and  I love how this picture turned out.  I think it’s a lot of fun to look at, and something I am really proud of.  Our dog, Oliver, on the other hand, well, he is just glad to be out of the tree.  In hindsight, it is also probably really fortunate that we did the yeti last year, because I can just about guarantee Isla would have passed out from screaming if we tried that this year.  She was so young last year, she didn’t have a clue what was going on.

If lumberjacks and outdoor types sound familiar to some of you, it is probably because of my short promo video, The Woodsman, shot earlier this year.  You can watch it at the bottom of this post.  It is worth pointing out, that lumberjacks and woodsmen are not necessarily a tight knit group, but they have been known to fraternize from time to time.  All that to say, for me, I guess you could call 2011 the year of the lumberjack / woodsman.  Who knows what 2012 will bring.  Stay tuned.

It’s been really fun to hear from so many of you about how you look forward to our annual Christmas picture.  It means a lot to us, and it makes it that much more enjoyable for me to work on knowing how much some of you enjoy these.  I am already looking forward to creating next years.  Thanks for taking a look, and I hope you will like, tweet, or share this if you enjoy it.

Photo Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

10
Dec

Merry Christmas From The Keatleys And A Yeti

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work

2010 Keatley Christmas photo.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Finally, a normal holiday picture from the Keatley’s, right?  I’ll admit last years holiday photo was a little strange, what with the accident and everything.  But the show must go on.  This year we have a couple of new introductions.  Our daughter Isla, and our yeti who is holding her.  We did look into more “traditional” forms of childcare, but everything is so expensive these days.

I had a lot of fun planning this shoot out.  I have been thinking about it, and planning for about 5 months, so seeing it finally come to life like this is a mix of pure excitement and a little relief.  Although, I am already starting to think about next year.  I just can’t help myself.  It’s a blessing and a curse.   I just think it will be so awesome to look back 10, 15, or 20 years from now and see all of the different holiday photos we have taken.  Not to mention, how many 6-month-olds get to say they had their picture taken with a yeti?  Isla is either going to think we are the coolest parents ever, or she won’t be able to get far enough away from us when she is older.  I’m hoping for the first, but only time will tell.

This has been a wonderful year for me, and I am very grateful for all of your continued support and interest in my work.  Thank you for reading my blog, and for coming out to hear me speak on occasion.  That is definitely something I hope to do more of this next year.  The next blog post you see from me will probably be me announcing my new website which I am very excited to share.  As much as I like my current one, and it was selected in the 2010 PDN Annual, I feel like there is always room for improvement.  Stay tuned.

10
Dec

Merry Keatley Christmas

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work

Awkward Keatley Christmas Portrait.  Ugly Christmas sweaters.

Now before you go freaking out sending cards and flowers, you should know Oliver and I are doing much better after the sledding accident.  It was unfortunate timing, one day before our 2009 Keatley office Christmas photo, but the show must go on!  We were lucky to walk away with only a few broken bones, a concussion and some mild dizziness.  The snowman however, did not fare so well.

Please allow me to introduce you to the Keatley team.  On the left is our bookkeeper Nichelle.  Now you have a face to put with the name next time you receive an invoice from her.  I am in the wheelchair, and on the right is our intern Allison.  Oh, and Oliver is on Allison’s lap.   He is the night janitor.  No job goes unrecognized around here.

Every time I look at this picture, it makes me laugh.  I like that, and it is a good reminder for me to continue making images that make me happy.  I decided after this shoot to make it a goal to get hired to shoot a ridiculous holiday portrait like this.  I know there may not be a big market for this kind of thing, but when someone wants it done right, I have full confidence my phone will ring.  I just hope my arm will be fully healed by then.  (Here) are the Christmas pictures I did last year.  The plan at this point is to make this a yearly tradition.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope this puts you in the holiday spirit, and gives you a good laugh.

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