07
Feb

Instagram

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News

John Keatley rolling on a light stand at a photo shoot.

And that’s pretty much what I do on a typical day.  It’s a good life, with very few complications really.

So there is this new app called Instagram for mobile phones.  Seeing as I do not consider myself an “early adopter” it took me some time to check it out, much less install it on my phone.  Needless to say, it is pretty cool, and I have enjoyed using it this past week.  I never do anything unless I am all in, so it is safe to say, you can follow me on Instagram and expect a steady stream of photos from my adventures with a camera.  There are a lot of funny moments that happen behind the scenes, so that is what I am going to be focusing on with this outlet.  It will be a different view into my world from what I have been showing on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter etc.

You can find and follow me @johnkeatley or www.instagram.com/johnkeatley

Thanks so much, I’ll see ya out there.

25
Jan

Vintage Diver Portraits

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

Vintage female diver portrait by photographer John Keatley.

Vintage male diver portrait by photographer John Keatley.

I’ve been shooting a lot of personal work lately in between assignments and ad campaigns.  It’s been making life feel pretty busy, but there is nothing more exciting in my job than seeing a personal concept go from an idea to a finished image(s).  There are a lot of ideas I want to make happen this year, so I hope this is just the beginning.  As a side note, I have become really interested in mid-century modern design and the modern era, and that has had a big influence on my personal work.  I love how these images turned out.  Thanks for taking a look!

Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

13
Sep

Ferran Adria for Wired UK

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

October Cover of Wired UK.  Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

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.

Wired UK table of contents.  Ferran Adria by John Keatley

Wired UK opening spread on Ferran Adria.  Photo by John Keatley.

Portrait of Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

Portrait of Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

Ferran Adria at El Bulli Workshop.  Photo by John Keatley.
Ferran at El Bulli Workshop talking with two of his computer programmers, who are working on some exciting new developments for the El Bulli brand.

Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

John Keatley, Ferran Adria.
Working with Ferran on the how best to hold the E, and balancing it with the proper way to hold a knife and cut.  Pictured with Ferran’s interpreter, Andrew Diprose and myself.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

El Bulli kitchen
El Bulli kitchen during the remodel / reinvention of El Bulli.

El Bulli food.
Portion sizes and shapes of all ingredients served at El Bulli made out of Play-dough.

El Bulli food.

El Bulli food.
Two dishes served at El Bulli made from Play-dough, next to a photograph of the actual dish.

El Bulli food.

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.

Watermelon infused with sangria
Watermelon infused with sangria

The Olive-S
The Olive-S

Tickets food

Tomato bread
Tomato bread

Tickets food

Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese
Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese

Tickets food

Tomato tartar cone
Tomato tartar cone

Codium tempura with it's vinagrete jus
Codium tempura with it’s vinaigrette jus

Oranges in olive juice with mint
Oranges in olive juice with mint

Avocado cannelloni with crab and romesco sauce
Avocado cannelloni with crab and romesco sauce

Tickets food

Marinated fried fish
Marinated fried fish

Fried egg with truffled duck fat and potato cream
Fried egg with truffled duck fat and potato cream

Confit potatoes with pork rib jus and boiled iberian ham
Confit potatoes with pork rib jus and boiled iberian ham

Liquid ravioli of Payoyo cheese
Liquid ravioli of Payoyo cheese

Animated Forrest
Animated Forrest

Warm lava cake of
Warm lava cake of “turron de Jijona” with raspberry sorbet.  We ordered 2 of these.  :)

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.

Wired UK AD Andrew Diprose, Ferran Adria, John Keatley, and Wired UK Executive Editor Greg Williams
Wired UK AD Andrew Diprose, Ferran Adria, John Keatley, and Wired UK Executive Editor Greg Williams

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.

18
Apr

PREDA Foundation

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel

This is the fourth post in this series.  You can see all of the posts by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.

I love and hate these pictures.  From a photographic standpoint, I am really proud of this series of images taken at the PREDA Foundation.  On the other hand, I hate that these pictures need to exist, and that this is a story which needs to be told.  It seems impossible to ignore the devastation and loss of innocence these images also represent.  But fortunately I do see hope in these images as well.  I believe we were created with the capacity to choose great evil, but thankfully we also have the choice to love, which I believe has the power to overcome all else.  At PREDA, I met some wonderful people who have made the decision to simply love, and care for the people who have been exploited and experienced so much devastation.

I arrived at PREDA with only 2 hours to work with before Becker and I had to take a taxi to Angeles City.  It was a bit hectic when we arrived, and we didn’t have much back story or time to prep for this stop.  After meeting Alex, the program director, I asked if I could take a tour and look around.  The tour started in the administrative offices, followed by the kitchen and then some classrooms.  It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for or interested in.  Eventually, we went down a hall and into a large room filled with colorful metal bunk beds and bright blankets.  Half of the room was lined with large windows, streaming in midday light.  As I took it all in, I asked my tour guide what the room was, and she told me it was the girls dorm, for children 9 and under.  To clarify, these are children age 9 and younger who have been sexually abused both commercially and domestically.  Unbelievable.

I started the day expecting to make portraits, but this room was speaking to me, and drawing me in.  I didn’t have my camera with me, and after looking around for a moment, I burst out of the room, and down the hall to get my camera and tripod.  I think my guide thought I was a bit strange, leaving the way I did with no explanation, but I couldn’t move fast enough.  I was in a zone.  I spent maybe the next hour shooting these images of the girls dorm, although it felt like I was only there about 5 minutes.

Girls lockers.

Primal therapy room.

Father Shay, founder of PREDA Foundation in Olongapo, Philippines, on Subic Bay.  Father Shay has dedicated his life to fighting for children who have been sexually exploited both commercially and domestically.  He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize 3 times, and I sincerely hope he is recognized by one in the near future.

I just can’t decide between these two portraits.  It is usually pretty easy for me to make these kind of decisions, but there is something about each of these that I can’t get past.  It doesn’t help that everyone else I have asked have said both as well.  What do you think?

Father Shay’s desk.  Nearly 40 years of hard work has happened here.  I can’t even imagine the phone calls, letters, and meetings that have taken place here over the years.

PREDA Foundation is a service provider for sexually exploited children in Subic Bay, Philippines, which infamous as a destination for sex tourism. From their website:

“In 1974, with Filipino helpers, Fr. Shay Cullen established the PREDA organization (Peoples’ Recovery Empowerment and Development Assistance Inc.) to give shelter and protection and recovery to victims of abuse and more importantly to change this unjust situation in society that abandons children and criminalizes them and prostitutes them or allows them to be abused without getting help and justice.”

PREDA provides many crucial services to the children, including residential care homes organized by age – one for girls as young as 9 years and under.

 

04
Apr

Arriving In Manila

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel

Last month I wrote about an upcoming assignment in the Philippines for an organization called Arts Aftercare.  Here is a link to the post if you are interested in the backstory, but basically I was working with the story of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and the work people are doing to help survivors.  I was gone for 10 days in the beginning of March, and  I got back to the States a few weeks ago.  After taking some time to rest, and reflect on the trip and what I saw, I finally feel like I am at a point now where I have processed enough of the trip, and I can share my thoughts and more importantly, my pictures.  I feel like this project makes the most sense when split up into 4 or 5 different stories.  The first part of the story is arriving in Manila and getting somewhat acclimated to my surroundings.

I have never had to think so much about an assignment as I did on this trip.  There are so many variables to consider, which I have never had to think about on past assignments.  One of the things I found myself thinking about a lot on this trip was journalistic integrity.  Thankfully I was traveling and working with my close friend, and filmmaker Eric Becker who I learned so much from.  It would have been a totally different experience for me if I didn’t have him there for support, and just overall great companionship.  When I was in Liberia last year, I took pictures of anyone, because everyone in the entire town I was in, was effected in one way or another by the lack of clean drinking water.  It was something that had a broad reach, and just about any person, place or thing seemed relevant to the story.  In the Philippines, I was trying to tell a story about sexual slavery.  Although prostitution seemed to be everywhere I turned, it is not so easy to create a visual story without being painstakingly careful.  For example, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort when we visited Angels City.  Just in the short time I spent in the lobby during a 24 hour period, I saw 20 or so men bring back, or meet prostitutes in the lobby.  Everyone knows what is going on, but at the same time, seeing a 65 year old American man and a 20 year old Filipino girl walking to a hotel room is not proof of what is going on.  Sometimes the age difference was not so great, and it certainly isn’t fair to assume every white guy and Filipino girl are in anything other than a serious relationship.  Being a portrait photographer, I wanted to photograph so many different people, but I knew I needed to be careful what I was implying by including someones portrait or picture in a series like this.  I didn’t photograph the bellhop at the hotel I was staying at and say he is somehow a part of the story, anymore than I would want someone photographing me in the Philippines and saying I was somehow involved.  There is actually a lot of human trafficking that happens in Seattle.  Seattle is a major player in human trafficking unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean you can photograph anyone in Seattle and say they are part of the story.  Some of you may be thinking what I am saying seems pretty obvious, but it was  new for me, and took a lot of thought to work through.

With all of that being said, these images are from our travels to Manila from Seattle, as well as wandering around and exploring Manila after we first arrived.  Which I might add, we didn’t have much time to explore.  None of these images are linked to or are intended to be linked to prostitution or human trafficking, but they help set the stage for where I was in the Philippines, and what my surroundings were like.

I am really excited to share more from this trip in the coming days and dive into the images I am most excited about.  As always, thanks for your interest!

On another note, all of these images were edited with VSCO Film which is an amazing image editing tool for Lightroom, Aperture, and Camera RAW.  It has totally sped up my workflow, improved my images, and is one of my favorite tools as a photographer.  Check it out for yourself here.  I also wrote a couple of reviews here and here with processed images if you want to find out more.

21
Feb

Filmmaker Eric Becker

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

Portrait of filmmaker Eric Becker by photographer John Keatley.

This is a portrait I recently shot of my good friend and colleague Eric Becker, who is a director / documentary filmmaker.  For over a year, Becker has been working on his film, Sound & Vision, which “explores issues facing the nearshore environment. It is a film about the oceans, told through the stories of people working to clean up, protect, and restore habitat in Puget Sound and beyond. The film is scheduled for release this fall.”  I really like this portrait, because it hints at the chaos of documentary filming, while capturing the beauty of the Puget Sound that Becker’s film strives to preserve.

I was lucky enough to see the film at a pre-screening not too long ago, and it is really beautiful.  Not your typical everybody freak out, we have a problem documentary, but one that explains a problem and offers hope, as well as a call to action.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Becker and I will be leaving for the Philippines with Arts Aftercare next week.  I can’t believe it’s almost time to go.

Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

07
Feb

Preparing For The Philippines

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News

As you may know, last January I traveled to Liberia with a team from MiiR to document the clean water wells they are funding in areas that don’t have access to safe water.  It was an incredible experience for many reasons, but it also opened my eyes to a much bigger world than the one I live in on a typical day.  A lot has gone on and been discussed in the past year since I went on that trip, and one of the many things I came away with was a newfound excitement and desire to help educate and inspire others to bring about positive change by using the unique gifts we all possess.  I really love the work I get to create as a commercial photographer, and I find myself laughing a lot which is such a blessing.  But because of my experience in Liberia, I have decided that I want to be about something much bigger than myself.  I want my brand to be something people not only associate with creative photography and portraits, but also with a love for justice and for others.  I am still processing what this all means, and how it will play out, but one thing I know is that I would like to be involved in at least one campaign per year where I can help tell a story that needs to be heard.  I want to be a voice for the voiceless, and help those who can’t help themselves. Even though my efforts have been focused on overseas projects so far, I believe there are stories and challenges right here in Seattle that need to be brought to our attention as well.  I think there is something to be said about traveling overseas, and getting out of ones comfort zone though.  It is good to experience new challenges and different cultures, but I hope to also find stories to be involved with in the States at some point also.  Unfortunately, the story I am going to document in the Philippines is also a serious problem right here in Seattle.

That being said, at the end of the month, I will be traveling to the Philippines with an organization called Arts Aftercare.  It is a nonprofit bringing the arts to survivors of slavery, which was started by my college friends Curtis and Grace Romjue.  The purpose of the trip is to train care workers in a new art therapy curriculum which will be introduced to survivors of sexual slavery.  I will be photographing survivors, youth advocates, and trying to tell the story of what life is like for people who are trapped in slavery, as well as those who have been freed.  Thankfully, I will be traveling with my good friend and filmmaker Eric Becker who will be telling the same story through video.  It will be a collaborative effort, and I am really excited to start working on this so we can shine a light in the dark places of the world.  I was shocked to recently find out that modern day slavery is a bigger problem today than slavery has ever been in the history of the world.  What’s even worse is that not only are many of the slaves children, but they are forced into sex 10 to 20 times a day.

A friend of mine emailed me me a video this morning about a girl who had been sold by her mother into sexual slavery.  I could only watch about 2 minutes of it before I turned it off.  This sucks.  I hate reading about this stuff, and it is beyond sad.  What is wrong with people? is the question I find myself repeating over and over.  I leave in less than a month, and I thought I should start writing about my thoughts as this assignment approaches.  My hope is that some of you will be inspired to take action, and in turn tell your personal network about the work that needs to be done.  I also feel like I need to do what I can to prepare myself for what I will be confronted with.  As my wife reminded me today, I tend to cover my ears and walk out of the room when I hear her nurse friends talking about something that makes me queazy.  I guess if I am being honest, I like to be comfortable, and I don’t like to be burdened.  Not really the best way to live life, as nobody ever said life was meant to be comfortable.  I also feel like you never know what is possible until you put something out there.

I know there are many of you who are already involved in fighting modern day slavery through organizations like International Justice Mission and others.  My hope is that by sharing this, some of you may feel inclined to help fight for justice by giving of your unique gifts.  Maybe you are a medical worker, a writer, a teacher…  The possibilities are endless.  We are also still looking for funding for a portion of this trip, so there is also a financial need at this point.  If you are interested in becoming involved, you can write me (john@keatleyphoto.com) or Curtis Romjue (curtis@artsaftercare.org / www.artsaftercare.org).  You can donate through the Arts Aftercare donation page and mention this trip in the comment field aftercare.org/donate.  If you have any experience with social justice, or working around such a heavy situation, I would love to hear from you.  It’s going to be a difficult trip, and I know I am going to need help and encouragement.

Thanks for reading.  I hope to share more about this soon.

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

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.

08
Nov

MiiR / ODW Event and Photography Show

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Events

For those of you who attended the MiiR / ODW event this past summer, and had the time of your life, you can now relive every moment through pictures, and watch the documentary Beyond the Bottle which we screened that night.  It’s all right here in this post.  If you weren’t able to attend, you can still look too… just don’t expect to find yourself in the pictures.   If you didn’t attend and are really mad at yourself for missing it, ROAD TRIP!  We are doing it again this coming Saturday, November 12, in good ol’ Boise, Idaho.  Here are the event details and location.

I will be showing my Liberia prints again, as well as doing a silent auction.  The goal is to raise money and awareness for the ODW Horn of Africa Relief Fund.  There will be food, drinks, beats by DJ Domestic, and a screening of the documentary Beyond The Bottle, which I recommend watching if you want to find out more about the clean water crisis.  Hope to see you there.

The following event photos are by my good friends Gabe and Ashley Rodriguez, who are living legends and one of Seattle’s top power couples.  A very big thank you goes out to them for documenting this incredible night. Check out Ashley’s recipe and photography blog Not Without Salt, and Gabe’s photography site GabrielBoone.

John Keatley and Ian Goode.