12
Jan

Photographer Video Profile: John Keatley

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!

04
Dec

One Year Of Blogging With John Waters

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News

John Keatley and John Waters

Can you believe it?  I sure can’t!  Today marks one year exactly since I posted my first blog entry on the John Keatley Blog.  I think I had 2 subscribers back then (thanks Mom and Dad) but I have been amazed and encouraged by the steady show of support during this last year.  If you are somewhat new here, don’t feel obligated to drop what you are doing and read my first post.  It is less than enthralling, and reads much like the screenplay for Gigli.  That being said, I guess this is as good a time as any to let you know that John Waters has actually been ghost writing my blog for about 9 months now.  Or since whenever it started becoming interesting.  Maybe that is why I felt inclined to leave him in the picture.

I was hoping to take a celebratory 1st anniversary portrait of myself to mark this big milestone, but John Waters kept poking his head into the frame.  As you can tell, I am less than amused.  It was funny the first time, but seriously!

This last year has really been wonderful, and I am very thankful I start blogging when I did.  I fought the blog for a while, but since I decided to take the plunge I have come to enjoy writing and it is something I look forward to each week.  I should sign off before I become too sentimental, but thank you everyone for your support and for taking the time to read.  I am looking forward to the adventures ahead in the next year.

09
Oct

Sarah Palin Portrait – "Going Rogue"

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Commercial, Tear Sheets

Sarah Palin picture Going Rogue book cover.  Photo by John Keatley - www.keatleyphoto.com.

I am pleased to announce I was hired by Harper Collins to photograph Sarah Palin for the cover of her new book “Going Rogue“.  If you watched even just a few minutes of TV this week, or used the Internet, I am sure you have already seen the book cover.  ”Going Rogue” has not even been printed, and it is already the #1 best seller.  It still feels a little surreal to me that my portrait of Sarah Palin is on the cover of her book.  Just about every television network in the country has been airing the book cover and analyzing what it means.  Why the clouds, why the smile…  My favorite reference so far was on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, but only because he mentioned me… kind of.  He talked about the portrait of her on the book cover, and then quoted “the photographer”.  It was a fake quote of course, and he didn’t actually say my name, but that is pretty close to being on The Tonight Show…  (Here) is a link to the video.  It’s in the first 3 minutes of the episode.

The photo shoot only happened three weeks ago, so this is all still very new and exciting for me.  After much planning and scheduling, I put together a crew and flew up to Alaska for six days to photograph the former governor.  It was supposed to rain the entire week we were there, but we ended up getting blue skies and puffy white clouds the entire time.  After a few days of scouting and prepping, I shot for three days straight.  The last day we went to Hatcher Pass which holds a lot of meaning for Governor Palin.  I had already scouted the pass a few different times, and I knew exactly where we were going to shoot.  Every last detail was in place.  After shooting at the base of the pass near a river, we caravaned up to the top of the pass where we were planning to shoot the final location.  Half way up, I noticed the beautiful light that was sweeping across the valley, and the clouds that were developing on the horizon.  I told the driver to stop, we had to change our plans.  This last minute change ended up being the final setup we would do with her, and it also ended up being the cover image.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this project.  It is not very often that an assignment comes along to photograph one of the most polarizing figures in our country.  Let alone the chance to photograph that person for her book cover.  I would like to thank Harper Collins and Sarah Palin for working with me.  This was a really big opportunity for me professionally, and I enjoyed it immensely.  I am excited to see what happens next.

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19
Aug

"How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz?"

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity

Portrait of Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley.  An honest look at the great celebrity photographer.

As you may already know, last November I had the privilege of photographing one of the photography greats, Annie Leibovitz.  (Here) is an earlier post about my experience photographing her.  Then just a few months ago, I found out my portrait of Annie was selected for AP25 (American Photography 25 silver-anniversary competition) which is a selection of the best photographs from 2008.  The selected photographs will be compiled in a book this coming November.  Having already written about this, I don’t want to be too repetitive, but Annie Leibovitz is in the news again.  This time, it was not because she offended someone, or got a celebrity to pose nude.  New York Magazine came out with an article this week about Annie, and the hard times that she has come into.  Not to make light of a difficult situation, but I am pleased that one of my portraits was licensed for this article.  Here is a link to “How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz? The $24 million question” written by Andrew Goldman for New York Magazine.  It is a fantastic story, and definitely worth reading.

With all of the news flying around about Annie, I decided to take a look at my portraits of her again.  This picture in particular has always pulled at me.  I have thought about showing it in the past, but there was something that always seemed to make me leave it alone.  Looking at it again now, in light of what is going on, it seemed to take on new life.  This was one of those moments that came and went in a split second.  I had shot several frames already, including the one I have been showing.  There was a moment where she didn’t know what to do with her hands, and maybe felt a bit self conscious about being photographed.  She quickly rubbed her eyes and pulled her hair back from her face and the moment was gone.  I can’t say I captured this image because of some magic of my own.  In all honesty, I’m sure it was an accident I caught this.  But in this portrait, I see so much honesty and vulnerability.  Something not easily captured, regardless of the subject.  A good lesson for me: a great portrait isn’t always created by controlling my subject, but rather capturing an organic moment in a controlled setting.

New York Magazine “How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz?” http://nymag.com/fashion/09/fall/58346/

*Side Note*  Thank you to everyone who has written me about the comments not showing up properly in Safari and Firefox.  It looks like the issue has been resolved, and I apologize if you felt that I was ignoring your questions.  I may have actually responded, but the comment just didn’t show up properly.  It turns out that white text on a white background can be hard to read.

28
Jan

Make It Work, Tim Gunn Style

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity

Tim Gunn Portrait by John Keatley

Tim Gunn.  The man is like a saint.  Everyone loves him.  And I have to say, he is one of the nicest people I have ever photographed or met.  He was kind, easy to work with, and the only person who has ever said to me, “Are you sure you don’t want more time?” at the end of a shoot.  What most people don’t know about this picture is that I actually made his suit out of an old soft box, and the lining from one of my camera bags.  ”Find a way to mitigate that center seam” he repeatedly instructed as I tirelessly worked, rushing to finish the garment.  ”Make it work!”

Talk about pressure.  Thankfully he thought the suit was stunning, and the shoot went great too.  While I was packing up, I noticed Tim in the corner of the room tearing up a piece of berber carpet.  I gave him a questioning look, and he said, “For our next challenge, you will be designing an outfit for a garden party.  You have fifteen minutes to caucus.”

Season 6 of Project Runway, hosted by Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum will be starting soon.  To hold you over, (here) is one of my favorite Tim Gunn video clips.