04
Nov

Josh Smith

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity

Josh Smith plays basketball for Kentwood High. Photo by John Keatley.

Josh Smith basketball.  Photo by John Keatley

Josh Smith SLAM tearsheet.  Photos by John Keatley.

Josh Smith and John Keatley

That’s me on the right side, down in the corner…  I’m sure Josh was standing on his tip toes.  What a kidder.  I am kind of a sports nut if you didn’t know, so I really enjoy working with athletes.  Actually, I really enjoy working with just about everyone, but a small part of me still thinks I might have a shot at the bigs.  I guess the reality of it for me is photographing professional athletes is as close as I’m going to get.  Now that I think about it, I seem to get hired quite a bit to photograph the big guys.  It’s probably because people know if an athlete goes crazy during a shoot or becomes too high maintenance, I can use my size to intimidate them and get the shots I need.  Like when I had to smack around Craig and Paul Pumphrey on the Human Wreckingballs shoot I did last year.  Just kidding Craig!  I would never think about crossing you.  I could probably take Paul though.

Josh Smith is a high school senior at Kentwood High in Washington State.  He stands at 6′ 9” and weighs in at 270 pounds.  Not bad, not bad.  As far as I can tell he is currently ranked as a top 5 college recruit in the country, but I think that changes frequently.

The day before the shoot (which was for SLAM), Josh was in New York playing in the high school basketball All Star game.  I am sure he is excited about what is going on in his life right now, but he seemed so calm and in control.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to be in high school and get this kind of national attention.  Not only that, but how crazy is it to know that there is a very good chance that you will be pro in just a few years while you are still living a somewhat normal lifestyle.  It sounds to me like he is actually a little tired of all the attention, which is understandable.  Anytime something big happens in a persons life, such as graduation, marriage, having a baby, etc., that event becomes an easy topic for discussion for everyone around you.  It’s the big easy question that allows people to engage you in conversation without having to think about what they are saying.

In addition to basketball, Josh is playing football this year.  Some might think he is insane given his potential in basketball, but he is doing what makes him happy.  Can’t argue with that.  You have to enjoy life, and live it to the fullest.  Best of luck to Josh in his final year of high school.  I am excited to see what the future holds for him, and selfishly, I would be excited if UW was in his future.  Forget UCLA, Josh!  :)

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02
Sep

Jake Locker

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity

Jake Locker, UW quarterback.  Photo by John Keatley.

Jake Locker Portrait, photo by John Keatley

Many people think the animal on the dock with Jake is a husky because that is the UW mascot, but it is not a husky.  It’s a coyote.

When Jake Locker first started playing football for UW, I heard a story that sounded too wild to be true.  It was the kind of story that someone makes up, and as time goes on it becomes wilder and wilder, yet more and more true to the people who tell it.  The story goes like this.  While Jake was a junior at Ferndale High, a crazed coyote wandered onto campus.  Some students thought it was a dog from the neighborhood and tried to pet it.  As they approached the animal they realized something was wrong, but it was too late.  The coyote attacked the students and began a rampage throughout campus.  The entire school was frantic and people were scrambling to hide in the nearest classroom.  There were 5 students who were not lucky enough to find shelter in a classroom.  They were walking through the quad and walked right into the coyote.  They were trapped, with nowhere to go.  Several teachers were watching through the office window, and all they could do was scream.  The students slowly backed up until they were against a wall.  The coyote inched closer and closer, snarling and showing its teeth.

This is where the story gets a little confusing because I have heard several versions of what happened next, but I will stick to the version I heard from Jake.  Jake was in the gym during the attack, but he heard the screams of the students who were trapped in the quad.  Without hesitating, he took off his football pads, and ran out of the gym toward the sounds of the screaming.  As he entered the quad he walked directly up to the coyote with his arm held out in front of him holding his palm up as if motioning to stop.  He said a single word, although no one remembers what he said, and instantly the coyote relaxed and allowed Jake to pick it up.  He tucked the animal under his arm and walked out of the quad.  Since that day, the coyote has never left Jake’s side.

I wasn’t quite sure if I believed this story when I first heard it, but I decided to bring it up on the phone with Jake before our shoot.  I asked him if the story was true, and if he would bring the coyote with him for a few pictures.  He said that wouldn’t be a problem, and I was able to shoot a few frames with Jake and his coyote.

College football starts this weekend.  Go Huskies!!!  And go Jake Locker!!!  I’m a big fan.

I also posted a number of outtakes from this shoot on my Facebook page if you would like to see more.