19
Jul

Don Mattrick for Forbes

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Portrait of Microsoft's Don Mattrick for Forbes by John Keatley.

Safe to say Don Mattrick has one of the more exciting jobs at Microsoft.  Sitting around, playing Xbox all day.  Must be nice.  But sometimes, when he’s not playing Xbox, Don get’s his picture taken for Forbes, and that’s where I come in.  And speaking of exciting jobs, I can’t even begin to explain how much furniture was moved around for this shoot.  I think the PR people thought I was a little crazy, but if you ask me, it was totally worth it.  In fact, I think it turned out so good, Microsoft may even decide to re-arrange the whole room.  That’s called value added.  Don’t worry, no charge.  That’s how we do it.

Don Mattrick is the President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment business.  i.e. Xbox…  It’s a big weapon for Microsoft right now.  David Ewalt wrote the story for Forbes that this was shot for, which you can read here.  Photo Editor Gail Toivanen, and retouching by Gigantic Squid.

P.S. People always ask me about backstory, so I know what your next question is going to be.  ”John, what was he saying when you took this picture?”  He was saying, “John, how are you so friggin funny!?  You crack me up.”  Thanks Don.  That’s really nice of you to say.

09
May

Radar The Talking Dog

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Meet Radar, the talking dog.  What was he saying when I took that picture?  Oh, just the usual.  ”Hey buddy, you sure take a lot of pictures.  Wow!  How many pictures are you gonna take?  Ok, I think you’ve got it by now.”  You would think Radar is a celebrity of CEO going on like that.  But seriously, does it not look like he is talking in the first picture!?  Such a beautiful, expressive animal.  I haven’t seen that much expression from any of the humans I have worked with lately.

So who want’s the real story?  Radar is actually a service dog for a boy with autism.  I shot this assignment for VIV Mag, and these are two of my favorite outtakes.  I set up a raised platform in studio to photograph Radar, and he was not very excited about being on off the ground.  It took several tries, and a lot of patience, but I got some beautiful images as a result.  They say you should never work with children or animals, but sometimes it’s the most difficult challenges that pay off the most.

Thanks to VIV Mag photo editor Daniel Montoya for working with me on this.
Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

21
Mar

On The Road For AARP Bulletin

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Better late than never I always say.  Actually, I don’t always say that, and it’s not really a good motto to live by, but in this case, it works.  I have been meaning to post these images for a few months, but am just now getting around to it (my bad).  Last Fall, I was excited to see Director of Photography Michael Wichata’s number light up on my phone, as he was calling about a cross country assignment.  I love working with Michael because of the thoughtfulness he puts in to his work, and he is really passionate about photography.  It makes assignments that much more enjoyable when you work with someone who cares that much.  The story is called ‘Will I Ever Work Again?’ and it covers three people over the age of 55 who felt the effects of these tough times when they lost their jobs and had to try to re-enter the work force at a time when there are more people than jobs.

The first stop was Dallas, TX where I met Alejandra Mendoza, who was let go from her supervisor position at a mid-size bank.  It was my first time in Texas, and it was HOT!  In the spirt of everything being bigger in Texas, my assistant Oliver and I went to the biggest movie theater in America (so I was told) and saw Captain America.  Unfortunately we can’t undo that experience.

Our next stop was Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  We arrived late Monday night, and shot first thing on Tuesday.  Florida was a different kind of heat than I had ever felt before, the kind where you could feel your skin melting off after just a couple of minutes in the sun.  This might be why we saw so many people walking to the mailbox, or picking up the newspaper in only their underwear.  Mark Krieger was my subject in Florida, and he lived in a really nice gated community on a series of lagoons.  When we arrived, there was no one at the gate, and no way to call or get buzzed in that we could see.  We couldn’t reach Mark either, so after driving around the community looking for another entrance, we decided to park on the side of the road just to the side of the gate.  After waiting for a few minutes, a car approached the gate and it opened.  As soon as they began moving through, I gunned it and sped in behind them just before the gate could close.  Seems a little anti-climactic now, but at the time I felt like James Bond, and it was more than enough to pump us up after several long flights.

After a quick shoot with Mark, it was back to the airport where we experienced the heaviest flash rainstorm I have ever seen on the highway.  It came out of nowhere, and we saw 6 crashes over the span of 2 miles.  We even got honked at and flipped off for slowing down as we narrowly avoided hitting the car that had just crashed in front of us.  Oh Florida…  Thanks for the hospitality.

Next it was off to Akron, OH to meet Pam Gaul who recently got a job at Bridgestone Tire Company.  The company headquarters was in a really old, half-empty building, and it was one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen, from a photography interest point of view.  We got a tour of the empty part, and it was hauntingly beautiful.  Much of the furniture was left as-is from decades ago.  If only I had more time to explore, there were some really cool rooms to shoot there.

Pam was the inspiration / success story of the article, and her story was really fascinating.  After losing her previous job she joined a job club and was coached on interviewing, applying for a job, and personal presentation.  It’s so interesting, the difference between our own perceptions of ourselves, and how we are actually coming across to others.  After a few adjustments, Pam had a great interview and got a job she LOVES at Bridgestone.  Not to make it sound like it’s just that easy, but it is exciting to see people make positive changes and reap the rewards.

After Akron, we flew back down to Wilmington and then back home to Seattle, just missing Hurricane Irene.  That was one bumpy flight!

Here is the link to read the article I shot these portraits for on the AARP website.

Thanks Michael and AARP.  This was a fun one.

 

20
Mar

Don’t Talk To The Cops for City Arts

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

Don't Talk To The Cops shot for the cover of City Arts by photographer John Keatley.

For those of you who are fellow Seattlites, you may have noticed City Arts has been gaining great momentum as the go-to arts publication around town.  They have been doing a great job covering culture, art, and music, and are not afraid of going out on a creative limb so-to-speak, to bring their audience something fresh and original.  I got to shoot the Seattle based hip hop group Don’t Talk To The Cops for the cover of the March issue.  This was a really fun shoot, and I was excited to get to throw in a slight nod to those amazing laser portrait backgrounds we all coveted back in the 80′s.  I think the hardest part was picking out the right turtleneck and NFL game day jacket.  After that was decided, it was smooth sailing and a lot of laughing.  I can’t say I’ve made it through the article exposing bubble tea, but the cover image is certainly reason enough for picking it up :) (not to mention it’s free).

Big thanks to Art director Dan Paulus, editor in chief Leah Baltus, and Don’t Talk To The Cops.  This shoot was a fun collaboration of talking through ideas and inspirations with Dan and Leah, and I love how it turned out.  I met Dan and Leah for the first time, when I was photographed as part of the City Arts Future List late last year.  Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

22
Jan

Drinks With Murray Stenson

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

I hinted at a fun assignment I was working on last month on Twitter, and now I am excited to to be able to share the images with you.  I had a lot of catching up to do when I first got the assignment to photograph Murray Stenson from Art Director Jane Sherman at Seattle Weekly, but it didn’t take long for me to find out that Murray is widely regarded as the best bartender in the country.  Don’t believe me?Just ask Esquire, Playboy and Tales of the Cocktail.  It felt like when you get a new car, and all of a sudden you realize that just about everyone else on the road has the same car as you.  As soon as I got this assignment, it seemed like everyone I knew was going out to get a drink from Murray.  Apparently I was the last person to know.  I was quite excited to not only photograph Murray, but to also have a drink from him.

I did the shoot at Canon, which is a new bar in Seattle where Murray works, along with an all-star group of bartenders led by Jamie Boudreau who is also the owner.  There is a bit of a wait to get in, but I can tell you the wait is well worth it.  I filmed a short video of Murray mixing and explaining how to make an Absinthe Julep, which you can see below.  And yes, I did get to drink it after we were done filming.  Someone had to, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.  We did have to do 2 takes, but thankfully my assistant handled the second one since we were dealing with 124 proof.  For what it’s worth, I made sure the video was the last thing we did so my pictures wouldn’t be out of focus.

Although Murray has been written up in many other magazines, this article is the first time he has told his story.  It was written by Mike Seely, and is a really fascinating read.  Here is the link to the article if you are interested.  Along with the video, I also included a few behind the scenes pictures at the bottom.

Thanks to Jane Sherman for working with me on this, and thanks to Murray and Jamie for being such gracious hosts and subjects.  Photo retouching by the fine folks at Gigantic Squid.

Behind the scenes pictures by Lonnie Webb.

23
Dec

My First Esquire Cover

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

I woke up this morning to get a Twitter mention and early Christmas greeting from @Strobist that my portrait of Annie Leibovitz is on the new cover of Spanish Esquire.  That’s an awesome Christmas present, and my first Esquire cover as well.

Big thank you’s go out to Redux Pictures (Lori Reese and Jesi Bevis, who tirelessly represent my stock archive and editorial assignments) and Esquire.

Esquire Spain
Editor in chief: Andrés Rodriguez
Creative director: Clara Montagut (her design department runs this great blog / found via CoverJunkie.com)
Photo Editor: Diego Martinez

22
Nov

Coach Romar

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work

Lorenzo Romar with the Dawg Pack.  Photo by John Keatley.

UW men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar holding a giant picture of his face.  Photo by John Keatley.

Portrait of Lorenzo Romar by photographer John Keatley.

Go Huskies!  Ok, so I didn’t go to UW, but my wife did if that counts for anything.  Over the past several years, I have learned to enjoy Husky athletics because of my strong sense of Seattle pride.  I follow the football team a little more closely than the basketball team, but it was still really fun to photograph Lorenzo Romar, the Husky men’s basketball coach.  He is one of those people who commands your respect when he walks into a room, but I also found him to be very kind and personable.  I think a good gauge of success is when strangers carry around giant cardboard pictures of your face.  That’s when you know you have really made it in life.  Something I think all of us should strive for.

How was work today honey?
It was great!
Did you get that promotion they promised you?
No, but my manager did hold up a big cardboard picture of my face at lunch.
Oh, that’s wonderful!  Congratulations honey.
Yeah, it was awesome!

Many of you have asked about editing commercial work with VSCO Film, and how it looks with images lit by strobe.  I busted these images out after I started using VSCO Film, and gave them new life with just a couple of clicks.  All three of these images were lit with strobe, so hopefully this gives you an idea of what is possible.  I think it works just as well with strobe as it does with natural light images.  If you are unfamiliar with VSCO Film, it is a film emulator that plugs into Lightroom or ACR and makes digital images look like film.  Not to mention, it is an incredibly fast alternative to Photoshop actions and other Lightroom presets.  It really is an amazing tool for photographers.  So far I am editing images 10 times faster than I was before, and I am getting better results.  Here is the VSCO Film review I wrote last week.

I used Kodak Portra 400, and Orange Skin Fix + on these images.  You can see a cool video tutorial and find out more about VSCO Film here.

Material Connection Disclosure

09
Nov

Bill Gates & Dustin Moskovitz for Forbes

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Lighting Technique

Why are Bill Gates and Dustin Moskovitz, the richest and youngest billionaires in America, laughing?  Let’s just say my joke was so funny, someone bought it, and I no longer have the rights to tell it…  I have wanted to photograph Bill Gates for a long time, and my opportunity finally came around a couple of months ago when Forbes called.  Dustin, is one of the four co-founders of Facebook, and since he is 8 days younger than Mark Zuckerberg, he is the youngest billionaire in the world.  As you would expect, time was extremely limited for this shoot.  We were given one and a half hours to set up the studio shot, and then I would have the first 10 minutes of the interview, and the last 10 minutes of the interview to take pictures.  Immediately after the interview we had 3 minutes for hair and makeup and 7 minutes to photograph both Dustin and Bill.  It was a whirlwind, but I am really happy with how everything turned out, not to mention it was a pretty cool experience to sit in on a conversation with these two.  You can read the Forbes article here.

Here are a couple of shots I took after the shoot of the studio lighting setup.

For the interview image I used a Canon 5D Mark II with an on camera flash which I bounced off a wall to fill in with the natural light coming in from the back windows.  The studio setup was a bit more elaborate, and I used my Hasselblad H3DII-31 Camera with the Hasselblad H 80mm Lens for the portraits.  For lighting, I used two Profoto Giant 150 Silver Reflectors.  One as the key, and one for fill.  The Wescott 45” Umbrella was used to brighten up the right side of the background, and I used two Profoto 1×3 Softboxes as edge lights for the subjects.  A lonely Elinchrom Ranger head on an Elinchrom RX 1100 Watt Battery pack snuck it’s way in, poking out over the top of the seamless as a hair light.  Aside from the Ranger, the Profoto lights were powered by Profoto Acute 2400 watt power supplys, and one Profoto AcuteB2 600Ws AirS LiFe Power Pack.

02
Oct

John McKay Seattle Weekly Cover

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

John McKay on the cover of Seattle Weekly. Photo by John Keatley.

This is the cover of the current Seattle Weekly featuring my portrait of John McKay.  We had some difficulties scheduling this one, and it went right down to the wire.  Thankfully we were able to get some time with John the night before the issue went to press.  I really like this picture.  It is a simple portrait, but there is so much about it that makes it fun to look at.  His eyes are bright and focused, as if he is looking right at you.  One eyebrow is slightly raised giving him a a strong sense of confidence, and maybe even a bit of mischeviousness.  The subtle tilt of his head, and parted lips seem like he is either about to say something profound, or even start laughing.  I never get tired of photographing people, and I love that I learn something new about expression, emotion, trust, interaction, light, and timing every time I take a picture.  As much as I always feel the need to try something different, I don’t think I will ever get tired of photographing faces, because there is always something new to see and learn.

You can read the corresponding story on the Seattle Weekly website here.

19
Sep

Germ Free Traveler

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

I shot this fun, quirky portrait for Condé Nast Traveler to go with an article about the crazy new gadgets people are using to avoid all kinds of germs and illness while traveling.  I couldn’t even tell you what half of this stuff does, but I like how the image turned out.  I’m bummed we didn’t get to shoot the SkyRest Travel Pillow, but there is only so much room for ridiculous travel paraphernalia in one picture.  Enjoy, and remember to always fly safe.

Photo Editor: Nelida Mortensen
Model: Rachel Elizabeth / TCM Models
Stylist: Kristie Gamer