Jeopardy champion, author, and all around hilarious guy Ken Jennings for Time Magazine. I don’t want to brag, but I may have stumped him on the pixel count of my Hasselblad H3D…
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial 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!
Posted by Izzy / Filed under Editorial Work
Some might find it ironic and nostalgic (our favorite hipster description as of late around here), others might simply call it a way of life — call it what you like, the artisan food movement is BIG, and if you don’t keep on your toes, you might fall behind. One week mushroom foraging is the trendiest of trendy, the next week it’s goat farming and cheesemaking. We got a real kick out of this lately when John shot the Seattle Weekly cover story highlighting (and kind of poking fun) at the whole phenomenon.
Apparently my ‘hipster-esque’ kitchen fit the bill location-wise, and the next thing you know we were all jammed in there dumping large cans of Safeway peaches into Mason jars prepping for the shoot – slightly ironic, slightly nostalgic, and downright hilarious. The photos of this began as outtakes, and actually turned out being what they ran with. The model in her kitsch Anthropology apron, can in hand, and the rest of us just out of the frame in stitches. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole slow and local food movement is awesome, and to prove it, here is the pickle recipe I can’t wait to take a stab at (courtesy of a childhood friend who has recently made some great waves in the food world with her super legit food blog). Thanks Anna, and especially thanks to Seattle Weekly Art Director Jane Sherman and all of the great folks over at Seattle Weekly! We can’t wait to do it again soon. As always, gigantic thanks to Gigantic Squid for retouching.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Events
After a long, hot, and very busy summer here in the offices, the Keatley team is ready for a little fun, and we are all really looking forward to The Slideluck Potshow on Saturday! Homegrown here in Seattle, the event has gained some great momentum and is now international. Not only does it feature two of our favorites – delicious home cooked food and beautiful art – but it draws a really interesting crowd of some of the best creative people from around town. John is going to be debuting some exciting new work, as well as some fan favorites, and he’s first up so don’t be late! See you there.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Ad Campaign
As an artist, campaigns with a positive social impact are always very appealing to me. PBJS in Seattle called me several months back about this campaign for The Nature Conservancy, highlighting the First Stewards Symposium in Washington DC, which takes place next month. This is the first national climate change symposium dedicated to addressing how climate change impacts coastal indigenous people.
I got to work with some great people on this project, CD Peter Gaucys, ACD Brandon Hilliard, and AD Vinny Pacheco. In one of our meetings about creative for this shoot, someone brought up how the only photographs we associate with American Indians are old and quite dated. Those old black and white prints you see in a museum. This was an opportunity to create 3 great portraits of modern American Indians surrounding a really important set of issues. I am really proud of how these portraits turned out, and I am excited to see what comes from the symposium next month.
Below is an excerpt taken from the First Stewards website which outlines the purpose of this symposium. What a fantastic project to be a part of!
“This first-of-its-kind national event examines the impact of climate change on indigenous coastal cultures. The symposium will bring together as many as 300 coastal indigenous tribal elders, leaders, scientists, witnesses, and other scientists and policy leaders from around the nation to discuss traditional ecological knowledge and what it can teach us about past, present, and future adaptation to climate change. Five regional panels of tribal leaders and tribal and Western scientists will examine how native people and their cultures have adapted to climate change for hundreds to thousands of years, and what their future — and that of the nation — may hold as the impacts of climate change continue.”
If you find yourself around the National Mall, Smithsonian, or the The National Museum of the American Indian in DC and you see these images on flags, banners, etc, I’d love to get some snaps. Thanks!
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Personal Work
Can you relate? You wake up in a haze, thinking a cup of coffee will do the trick. Trying to start your day out on the right foot, but instead you get a mouthful of bitter disappointment.
I had several goals pinned on the wall as I began the process of putting together this personal series. Shoot in detailed environments. Experiment with backlight where a light source is visible, or has a prominent role in the image. And finally, have fun with facial expressions. That was the easy part. The hard part was coming up with the concept to make all of the elements come together. Gives you a whole new appreciation for copywriters and art directors!
Thankfully I work with some incredible people, and after some brainstorming, the bad coffee face idea was born.
So how does a personal shoot like this come together? A lot of hard work, and a crew of talented and creative people. The car shoot was the first of the three, and this BTS video by Eric Becker is a good walkthrough of what it all looks like on set.
The second shoot was the kitchen image. Locating and securing the home was by far the most difficult part. After finding and locking in the location, we received a text the night before the shoot, which said it was no longer happening with no explanation. I knew that kitchen was perfect for this shot, so after a lot of leg work and negotiating, we were back on track. There is a certain mindset I feel is invaluable and absolutely necessary to make it as a photographer. Tattoo these phrases on your arm, and never forget them. No excuses, always ask questions, politely don’t take no for an answer, and do whatever it takes to make it work. There is always a solution, no matter what the problems you are faced with. Wrapping your mind around these ideas will help prepare you for the struggles you are guaranteed to face as a photographer on almost a daily basis.
I wrapped this series up with the park bench shot. I scouted several parks in Seattle until I found a bench I really liked. It ended up being in a large forested park, which was a perfect place to shoot. The permit was affordable, and it was a wide open space without crowd’s of people and traffic to worry about. After the shoot with the bench and model, I woke up at sunrise the next day, and shot around an urban neighborhood near downtown Seattle. It is important to make sure the light and angles of the environment match the light on the bench and model so the finished product looks as realistic as possible. I made sure all of the landscape images I shot had the sun in the correct place according to where I placed lights on the model shoot. I also used a tripod so my camera height and angle was the same as it was during the model shoot.
I love working like this because it gives me complete control of the final image without being restricted by certain realities.
Thanks to my awesome crew for helping make this project shine.
Talent: JJ Kissinger, Gabe Rodriguez, Katelyn Price
Production: Elizabeth Atwood
Retouching: Ian Goode / Gigantic Squid
Assistants: Will Foster, Gregg White, Oliver Ludlow
BTS video and stills: Eric Becker
Hair and Makeup: Cara Aeschliman
Wardrobe: Bryan Carle
Thank you’s also go out to Seattle Parks and Rec and Windermere Capitol Hill.
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.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Random, Tools Of The Trade
As most of you are likely already fully aware, Glazer’s is a fantastic resource in Seattle for photography gear, both retail and rental. We are very lucky to have such a great resource in our community. Becker and I would like to thank Glazer’s for extending their generous support by sponsoring our trip to the Philippines; Bruce and Rebecca have been so supportive of our work, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude in helping to make our trip a success. Thank you Glazers for constantly going above and beyond to support photographers, and thank you for helping us raise awareness about the exploitation of women and children in the Philippines. It’s exciting to see what we can accomplish through art and a collaborative community.
I have some fun projects lined up in the near future where I will be teaming up, and joining forces with Glazers, and I couldn’t be more excited! Keep your eyes peeled…
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.
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.