You may have seen this shoot I did for Wexley School For Girls recently. It’s definitely one of my favorite shoots, so naturally I was excited when they hired their new CFO / COO, Jerry Barnhart, because that meant he would also need a portrait, being senior leadership and all. Not much else to say about this one, other than it’s completely awesome. I hope they hire 5 more people soon.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work, Tear Sheets
The Nutcracker is a serious holiday tradition here in Seattle. People seem to get pretty excited about it, and it’s a big deal. I went to see it with my family several years ago as a Christmas present I believe. I can’t remember how long ago exactly that was, but then again, I can’t remember much about the Nutcracker either. I fell asleep… I guess it was just not my cup of tea.
What’s that? The Burlesque Nutcracker? Now that might hold my attention. It may not be a show grandma and grandpa are going to take you to for Christmas, but at least now I’m intrigued.
City Arts has been doing some really great things in Seattle with the arts for the past few years, and I have enjoyed working with them recently. For this assignment, I was tasked with photographing classically trained ballet dancer turned burlesque artist, Lily Verlaine. She is co-producer and Artistic Director of Land Of The Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker.
I had the opportunity to meet with her the day before the shoot to go over wardrobe options, and while we had some great pieces to work with, I wasn’t seeing exactly what I was hoping for. I briefly described my idea of something that says Burlesque, classy, and Holiday’s at the same without coming off too costume’y, but no luck. The next day, Lily showed up to the shoot arm in arm with designer Danial Hellman and this beautiful piece that he custom made the night before. It was exactly what I had described the day before. Wow! That never happens. That’s what you get when you work with professionals.
I really enjoyed showing something a little more sassy and pretty in this shoot, and I think the cover turned out perfectly. It says Burlesque and Holidays at the same time without being too loud or flashy.
Big thanks to City Arts Art Director Dan Paulus, and Editor in Chief Leah Baltus of City Arts for working with us on this. Thanks as always to Gigantic Squid for the beautiful color grading and retouching. Beautiful.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News
I am pleased to announce the grand opening of the Keatley Store, where you can buy prints of some of my favorite images, a Keatley shirt, as well as some other fun limited edition items. Just in time for Christmas I might add. After moving in and decorating our new studio this past year, I realized just how fun and meaningful it is to own and display artwork. I have so many images I would like to share with others in the form of prints, and the store provides an easy way to do that, at really reasonable prices. I will be adding new images and switching things up from time to time, so check back often. There are still spots available for the Un-Workshop as well if you are interested.
Keatley shirts are an exciting item for me because of the back story. Not many people know the full story, but I first made Keatley shirts about 10 years ago. My friend, Joe King, is the designer who made the Keatley logo, as well as convinced me to change the way I was branding myself. When I first started my business, I was doing business as John Keatley Photography. I hired Joe to come up with a logo for me, and in addition the many options he came up with, he created the keatley logo which felt more like a major brand than a freelance photographer. Just for fun, I made 10 Keatley shirts, and gave them to my friends and roommates. As people saw the shirts, I began getting additional requests, so I made a few more. This continued to happen, and demand grew pretty quickly. I eventually made a small online store to sell them and help free me up from meeting up with people and collecting cash. As the shirts got out into the wild, a friend at MTV passed a few out to some bands, and they began making appearences at concerts and in photos. I also had a lot of enthusiastic friends in Young Life and college helping me spread the word, and before long, I had sold a couple of thousand shirts. My good friend Bryan Pape sat me down at one point, and talked with me about getting serious about shirts and maybe making a business out of it. The truth of it was, it was fun to see the shirts on random people all over the world, but it was getting to be a lot of work for me to be shipping and everything that goes with it. I was also trying to grow a photography business at the same time which was what I was really passionate about. Keatley shirts helped a little as I did get some jobs from people seeing them, but I was spending a lot more time selling them than I had ever anticipated. After a couple of years, things died down a bit as I chose to focus on photography. Who knows what could have happened if I put more time into it, but I can’t say I have any regrets about sticking with photography :). The funny thing about the whole Keatley shirt craze was that most people who bought a Keatley shirt, had no idea what Keatley was. They just liked how it looked. Some of my friends made up a different story every time someone asked them what Keatley was. I’ll never forget the time I was walking through the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and I saw someone who I didn’t know wearing a Keatley shirt. Crazy!
I don’t expect to sell thousands of shirts this time around, but I still think it’s an awesome design and a fun shirt. Instead of printing on 100% cotton this time around, we are using tri-blend material which is even more comfortable, and holds up better than cotton. It also has a slightly heather look to it, which gives it a vintage feel. Pick one up for yourself in the store and see what all the buzz is about. Thanks for reading the story. It’s fun for me to share since I haven’t really shared that story with too many people.
WHAT!!!? That’s right. This is happening. It is with great pride and excitement we invite you to the first ever Keatley Un-Workshop, taking place in beautiful Seattle, WA. We know there are a million different workshops out there that you can go to, but true to the Keatley style we have pushed ourselves to create a photographic learning experience un-like anything you’ve ever imagined. We decided to go all out in every aspect of the Un-Workshop, including set building, tons of gear, gourmet food, an exciting venue, and this amazing limited edition artwork we commissioned Invisible Creature to create for this event. And that’s just the beginning. You can find out much more about this on our new Workshop page, but sign up soon because space is limited. We can’t wait to see you in February!
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work
I shot these images on a sweltering hot day this past summer in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Inc. Big thanks to Photography Director Travis Ruse for the call on this one. One of the things I love about editorial photography is the opportunity to talk with a wide range of successful and interesting people. Some of you may not know this, but I actually majored in Business Administration in college, so dissecting and understanding how different companies work is really fascinating to me. Alligator Performance Co-founders Chad and Jayme Hall did not disappoint. Their story was one of the most fascinating success stories I have ever heard, and I left the shoot feeling like I got to see something really special. I highly recommend reading this article on Alligator in Inc.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work
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 BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets, Travel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 John Keatley / Filed under Review
I have been using VSCO Film for about a year now, and I am still just as excited about it as I was when I first started using it. Visual Supply recently released VSCO Film 02 which offers an updated list of film emulations to Film 01 as well as some improved options in the toolkit. When I was using VSCO Film 01, I mostly used Kodak Portra 400, but in VSCO Film 02, Fuji Superia 800 – is my new go to. VSCO Film 02 also comes with several new film options for B&W images. I still like Kodak TRI-X 400 – for B&W, but the new Fuji Neopan 1600 and Ilford Delta emulations in Film 02 are just as good depending on the image you are working with. I use VSCO Film 02 for all of my personal and family pictures as well as all of the behind the scenes images from our photo shoots and productions for work. There is not really a whole lot more I feel the need to say about it. We are talking about visual style, so you either like how it looks or you don’t. It’s just a matter of preference, but for me personally, I am a big fan. Below are some of my images edited with VSCO Film 02. Check it out or buy it for yourself here. You won’t be disappointed.
Here is the review I did on VSCO Film 01 earlier this year.
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.