This has been a big year for Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks. There has been a new company logo, the 40th anniversary of Starbucks, and Howard’s new #1 bestseller book Onward, which I shot the author portrait for as well as some pictures inside the book. I have been keeping pretty busy photographing Howard over the past few months with everything that is going on. Some of the images have not been released yet, but one of my favorite assignments which I can show was for The Sunday Times Magazine. I got some great shots from this one, including this 2-page spread, and the headshot outtake. You can click on the spread to get a closer look if you are interested. To get the expression, I sang several songs from The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach which I think everyone enjoyed quite a bit. It seemed to be going well at first, but then I got distracted somewhere around Act 2 while trying to adjust my camera focus and my pitch went slightly off. I will admit it was not my finest moment, and clearly some in the room were not impressed. Nonetheless, my off key falsetto created a nice expression which went along perfectly with what the magazine was looking for. Despite the successful outcome, that will most likely be the last time I ever sing at a photo shoot.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News
Chris Buck needs no introduction, but I am going to say a few things about him anyway. I had the chance to meet up with Chris in New York a few years ago, and he was very gracious to make time to meet with a young photographer such as myself. I have always admired and been inspired by his photography, and over the past few years, he has had a tremendous impact on me from the business side of photography, as well. He has taught me some valuable lessons I will never forget. I will always be grateful to him for that. Chris is an award winning celebrity, advertising, and editorial photographer, and he just started a blog which I can promise you will be worth following. Do yourself a favor and check out his website chrisbuck.com and make sure to add his blog chrisbucknews.wordpress.com to your reader. You will be glad you did. Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris. Do we still call it the blogosphere?
Image © Chris Buck
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog
I have had several opportunities to guest blog, as well as give some interviews over the past few weeks and I thought I would share some of these with you. There will be a few more in the weeks to come. Blows my mind to be able to say that. I am really enjoying writing and speaking which is something I have begun to do more of. I struggle with writing or giving advice when it has not been asked for, but when someone asks me a question I find I have no shortage of thoughts and opinions. Part of that is a hangup I have about wanting to be genuine, but I just feel much more comfortable responding to a question, rather than giving unsolicited advice.
To start off, Luke Copping asked me, along with 17 other creatives, to answer the question: How do you get out of a creative rut?
Here is the beginning of my response:
Rather than talking about getting out of a creative rut, I am going to try to help you avoid getting into a rut all together.
I probably don’t need to tell you the life of a professional photographer is filled with many highs and lows. Victories and rejections are a weekly occurrence. The highs are obviously fun, but the lows are not so great.
My first piece of advice is to avoid the highs and lows. Don’t get caught up in the tidal wave of ups and downs. It takes a lot of adjustments to do this, but it is possible and well worth it. You don’t need to live in each high and each low. Learn to enjoy and appreciate accomplishments and victories in your career, but understand that it is temporary and tomorrow is a new day. Typically the phrase “tomorrow is a new day” is reserved for people who are living in a low and need something to look forward to. However, in photography, “tomorrow is a new day” also means someone else is going to do something noteworthy tomorrow and the spotlight will shift to them.
Second, learning how to not live in the highs and lows of your career keeps you from freaking out when you have a slow week or two. Create a consistent marketing plan and stick to it. Aside from shooting, there are plenty of important tasks and projects you need to put time into if you want to be successful. Making sure you are taking time for these activities and tasks will help you keep your mind off of shooting all the time, and personally I find this to help keep me balanced and creative.
You can continue reading my response along with the rest of the post at 18 Imaginative Thinkers Break Your Creative Block.
I just started using FoundFolios, which is a great online portfolio site for connecting photographers with art buyers. I will be rolling out some new work on there in the near future, and the FoundFolios Blog just posted a short blurb about my Liberia photo shoot for MiiR Bottles.
Last but not least, I gave an interview a few weeks back for the Smartpress Blog which is geared toward people who are just starting out in photography.
Thank you to Luke Copping, Rob Haggart, Juliette Wolf-Robin, and Sean Taylor for expressing interest in my work, and sharing it with others.
The American Photography 26 book comes out today featuring the best photographs of 2009. With that being said, I am pleased to announce my portrait of Sarah Palin has been selected to be in AP26 making this the second year in a row I have had work in the American Photography book. Regarded as the premier showcase for photography, it is a huge honor to be recognized and included with such a talented group of photographers. Last year my portrait of Annie Leibovitz was selected. This image of Sarah Palin is an outtake from my cover shoot for her book Going Rogue.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Tear Sheets
That’s my portrait of John Keister on the cover of the current Seattle Weekly. John is best known as the “former host of Almost Live, widely regarded as one of the most successful locally produced sketch-comedy shows—or local shows of any kind, perhaps—in the history of modern American television.” – Mike Seely, Seattle Weekly
The show ran for 15 years, and the cast, along with John included Joel McHale, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The sketches on Almost Live were pretty hilarious as well as short and to the point. Unlike sketch comedy shows these days. Although SNL does seem to be getting a little better again. You can find a bunch of the videos on YouTube if you are interested.
It was a thrill to photograph John, and I am really happy with how the cover image turned out.
It’s jobs like this that remind me why I love photography so much. I laugh every time I look at this picture. How many CEO’s would be willing to be buried in cat litter and let a cat walk around their face? Not many. Although, I did get the cat litter with the blue crystals so it smelled really nice. It also serves as a good example of “you never know till you ask”.
Internet celebrity Ben Huh is the CEO and founder of the Cheezburger Network, the largest online humor network in the world. They run 50 hilarious blogs including I Can Has Cheezburger, Fail Blog, There I Fixed It, Failbook, Engrish Funny, and on and on. The first blog in the network was I Can Has Cheezburger which is a website dedicated to weird pictures of cat’s with pidgin-English captions. Ironic, because Ben is super allergic to cats, and even more amazing he was willing to do this shoot.
I have been working on larger productions and building sets quite a bit lately, and I am loving it. It is pretty fulfilling to take a concept like this (as dreamed up by AD Benjamen Purvis) and come up with a solution to make the idea a reality. A huge thank you goes out to Ben Huh (his personal blog is well worth the read) and Jen from Cheezburger Network, Benjamen Purvis and Matt Halverson from Seattle Met and Michele and Deanna from BuzzBuilders who were so great through the entire process.
Here is a behind the scenes video of working with Ben, and how I put this shot together.
If you are not familiar with the hilarious blogs on the Cheezburger Network, definitely take a few minutes to check them out. You will find something to make you smile for at least a few minutes.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Awards, Tear Sheets
The PDN Faces issue is out now, and my portrait of Annie Leibovitz is the opener. I am very excited and honored to say the least. This image was also selected in the American Photography 25 Competition last year. Pretty cool!
*UPDATE* 8/17/2010 – The PDN Faces 2010 Winners Gallery is now online with all of the winning images. There are some great portraits in there, and a nice note about my portrait in the intro on the landing page.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity
Douglas Coupland decked out in his Canadian best. I photographed Douglas in his Vancouver BC studio for The New York Times Magazine just before the 2010 Winter Olympics. He was kind enough to give me a tour of his studio, and it, along with his art collection, is enough to make anyone jealous. Really impressive. New York Times Magazine Q&A with Douglas.
As I parted ways with Douglas, he said to give him a call if I ran into any trouble at the border. A kind gesture, but probably not necessary. For those of you who are not familiar with crossing the border between the US and Canada, it usually involves waiting in a short line and getting grilled with questions ranging from “Why are you visiting Canada (or the US)” to “When is the last time you got into a bar fight.” On occasion the officer will ask a series of questions, and loop back around and ask the same questions again, which I always find interesting. A good way to catch you if you are lying about something.
When I reached the border this time, I was greeted with a standard question, “What were you doing in Canada?” ”Taking pictures,” I responded.
It’s important to understand the questions you are asked at the border are rapid. It is not a conversation, it’s question, answer, question, answer.
“What were you taking pictures of?”
“Douglas Coupland for New York Times Magazine.”
Up until this point it’s all pretty standard, but this next part threw me off. The officer turned from his computer screen and looked at me as he said, “Ohhhh, Generation X”. Douglas popularized the phrase “Generation X” with his best selling novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. I wasn’t sure how to respond at this point. Was that a question, or was he simply stating a fact? Now there was a pause. This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. He is supposed to ask the questions and I give the answers. But it seemed he was waiting for some sort of response, so I said, “Oh, yeah, so you know who he is?” His demeanor instantly changed, and he responded in a harsh tone, “I said Generation X, didn’t I!?” I nodded my head in agreement, not wanting to get into it with him.
After another pause, the officer began to tell me about an article he had recently read by Douglas Coupland on how border officers are rude and difficult. He went on for what seemed like several minutes. His tone was a mix of amusement and disbelief. To summarize his main points: What!? Us, rude and difficult!? How could anyone think that?
Oh, this is bad I thought. I should have said I was photographing Céline Dion.
Once again, not knowing how to respond, I tried to be real. ”To be honest, I have pulled up next to some gruff people working here and I can see how he would think that about some of the people who work here. But you definitely seem to be one of the the nice ones.”
With that, he snapped back into Mr. Man In Charge, and exclaimed. ”Well, if you think I’m nice, it would interest you to know I have made more arrests at this station than any other officer.” He paused to let his accomplishments sink in before handed back my passport and I was on my way. Until next time.
Self portrait with Douglas Coupland.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Tear Sheets
A guy could really get used to this whole book cover portrait thing. It’s exciting to see your work in full bleed on the cover of a book. No “10 Secrets to Sexy Abs” or “How to Keep The Doughnuts and Loose The Weight” tips plastered all over the cover. This is my most recent book cover photo, and as you can see, the subject is John Perkins. I have already written about John on my blog (here), and I have now had the opportunity to work with him on multiple occasions. Love Is The Final Fight does not come out until August 2010, but the marketing is getting under way now. John is a great man with an amazing story, and although I have not read this book yet, I would recommend it solely based on what I know about John.
I hope 2010 is starting out with a bang for everyone!
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Press & Interviews
I made a quick stop in New York last November, and while I was there I headed over to Redux to do a video profile shoot. They have been pumping out some great videos of many of the photographers on the roster, and you can see them all at the Redux site as well as the Redux Vimeo page.
This is a pretty cool idea, and hopefully will help art buyers get some insight into how each photographer works. The videos should also make for some good marketing material in the coming year.
I hope everyone had a restful December, and you are looking forward to 2010. I have really enjoyed taking some time off recently. It has given me the opportunity to clear my head, and re-focus for the year to come. I’m learning the importance of slowing down every once in a while, and just taking a rest. With the way things are going these days, it’s easy to think you have to constantly be creating new material to keep up. I suppose it is possible to keep up that kind of pace but it is also exhausting. I want to make sure I am staying balanced so I can create through inspiration, rather than creating because I feel I have to.
Thank you everyone for your continued interest in my work. I am working on some projects right now I am very excited about, and I am looking forward to sharing my photography with you in 2010!