30
Jan

The Matador From Florida

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

My rep asked me to come up with an image for a valentines day promo this year and the assignment was to interpret the color red.  I had the option of using an image from my archive, or I could shoot something new.  I love excuses to create new work, so of course I jumped at the opportunity.  Assignments like this are great because I enjoy having some sense of structure, or a goal, but it also allows your imagination to run wild by leaving things open.  Taylor and I had some fun brainstorming sessions over this, and our ideas were all over the place.  As usually happens with my personal work, we landed on one idea, and then the more we talked about it, the idea began to shift and change until we got here.  Going into the shoot, the idea was to shoot a different angle, but when working with bulls or other crazy animals, there is an element of taking what they give you.  I really didn’t want them to give me the horns so to speak…  Plus I realized while shooting that I liked this angle better anyway.  As much as we plan everything out, it’s always good to try to stay open to changes and improvements that come up along the way.

This shoot came a few weeks after working with Kodiak bears, and surprisingly enough, I was more scared of the bulls.  Almost terrified even.  It didn’t help matters that the rancher we were working with told me horror stories of people being disfigured and killed by bulls for about 15 minutes before he said, “Well, why don’t we hop in.” Sounds good.  Let’s jump a fence into a field of bulls.  Why am I doing this again?

So there you have it.  This was a really fun project from beginning to end.  Big thanks to Ryan Cleary on the beautiful retouching work as well.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoy the image.

13
Dec

The Rider

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

The Rider by photographer John Keatley.

It didn’t take long for the humans to panic.  Government had been spiraling out of control for 60 years, fueled by greed and corporate corruption.  Mankind had finally taken all it could from the earth, until the earth had nothing left to give.  The humans had long embraced the idea, live for today and take what you want.  The cries of those who recognized the consequences of such behavior were left to the minority and written off as crazy.  Men had convinced themselves they were invincible.  Once the Nelson Report came out, and Amazon’s infrastructure collapsed, people began hoarding resources and grabbing all they could for themselves.  Telecommunications were quickly shut down, and in less than 18 months, the US population had been cut by over 75 percent.  Riots, fires, murder, starvation and sickness spread with very little resistance.

As life has always demonstrated, sometimes it takes the loss of one thing to gain another.  Ironic and painful as it was, it took man’s near destruction of the earth to bring about a new relationship between man and animal as it was in the beginning of time.

The Rider has not survived in the new world these past 5 years because of his strength, or because of things taken.  He has survived because of relationships.  Primarily a relationship with his bear and with nature.  These things, which were seen as weak and useless before, have now become what is held most precious in the dark days.

13
Apr

Now For Something Completely Different

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog, Personal Work

Surprised to see something other than stylized portraits?  From the beginning, the goal with this ongoing personal series was to create something completely different from my portrait work.  Last fall, I decided I wanted to push myself to create something outside of my comfort zone.  I would prefer to let these images stand on their own without adding a story or context to them, but I also realize it is important to talk about one’s work.  If not the meaning, at least the process.  I have attempted to explain these to a few close friends, and the best explanation I have come up with so far is that this good idea evolved from several really bad ideas.  What this means is I began with an idea and talked about it for a little while and really wrestled with the concept and how it would read.  The first few concepts never really sat right with me, but thinking and talking about them with others eventually led to what you see here.  Even after I began shooting, the concept continued to evolve.  I worked with a great post production studio called Gigantic Squid, and collaborated with Ian Goode on the final look and feel of everything.  This really has been an experiment and exploration of a different type of photography.  As much as I pulled away from my portrait work in this process, I came to realize just how important the human element is to me in my work.  I learned how to respond to what I was shooting and adapted my approach as the images came to life.  That is not something I get to experience when working on an ad campaign which has to be planned out completely before shooting.  So far, this project has taken me across Washington and Northern California, and I am planning a couple more out of state trips in the months to come.  I have learned so much from this experience and I am excited to see how this continues to evolve and shape me as an artist.