A few weeks ago I wrote about my most recent shoot with Macklemore for the cover of The Source. We also thought it would be fun to share a behind the scenes video to show you how the magic happened. Thanks for checking it out. Shout out also to Just 2 Guys for putting this together for us. Cheers.
One of people I had the pleasure of working with in 2013 was the beautiful and talented Mary Lambert. Many people know her as the featured vocalist on “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but I know her as Mary, easily one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I had this old piano moved in for this shot, and Mary played and sang while we set up. I’m pretty sure everyone on set took extra long to set up because nobody wanted her to stop singing. It was one of those indescribable experiences, and a highlight of my year.
This shoot was for a great organization called Arts Corps in Seattle. They do incredible work with young people in low income communities where there is little or no access to art. It’s a program Mary was a part of when she was younger, and I was thrilled to work with them on this. You can follow the link above if you would like to find out more about Arts Corps. Special shout out to Art Director Patrick Mullins!
Here are a few behind the scenes images from the shoot. I don’t like to brag, but Mary was dying to sing a duet with me, and how could I say no. It was magical. People were crying and leaving the room so quickly. I think it was because they didn’t want ruin the moment.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work
I am a huge fan of Jeff Garlin. I really liked his work going into this shoot for NY Times Magazine, and I am an even bigger fan after working with him.
My friend Sara Coates was recently cast in a movie called Laggies. They just wrapped up filming, so it should be in theaters next year. On one of the first days of filming, Sara sent me a text message with a picture of Jeff. ”I’m acting with Jeff!” I immediately thought to myself, “I would love to photograph Jeff Garlin!!!” That was a Sunday night. The next day, I got a call from my rep Julia, and she asked me if I wanted to shoot an assignment for New York Times Magazine. The answer to that question is always yes, and then she said, “It’s actor Jeff Garlin.” No joke!
This is actually the 3rd time this has happened to me in my career. Anthony Hopkins, Annie Leibovitz, and now Jeff. So naturally I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking, and “putting it out there”. I always tell my daughter, you’ll never know unless you ask. And now, she has learned the benefits of asking for stickers at any store we walk into. Who knew Chevron had stickers. But that’s another story. I can’t take all of the credit for many of the great opportunities I have had come my way, but this is the type of job where you have to make things happen, and tell people what you want. Even if it’s just declaring to your wife on a Sunday night while watching Netflix that you want to photograph one of your favorite actors.
Jeff walked into the shoot with a Leica around his neck, and I knew right away this was going to be fun. Thank you New York Times Magazine, Gabrielle Plucknette, Clinton Cargill for a wonderful assignment, and thank you Jeff for bringing the magic!
Here is the photo and interview of Jeff Garlin that ran the NY Times Magazine. I was thrilled they chose my favorite image.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Personal Work
“What you know ‘bout rockin’ the wolf on your noggin
What you knowin’ about wearing a fur fox skin” – Macklemore
What a fun shoot! I had the chance to work with Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) and Ryan Lewis 2 days before their new album “The Heist” came out and they headed out on tour. It was an incredible day, and some amazing images resulted. This being my favorite image. I think… Ahh, I don’t know, there are so many I like. Yeah, this is my favorite. Big congrats to the guys on Thrift Shop going platinum, as well as the incredible success they are having in general. You guys are making Seattle proud for sure. If you haven’t already heard The Heist, you should definitly check it out. One of the best albums to come along in a while, and obviously the music story of the year. I’m a fan.
I’ll post more images from this shoot when I can in the near future hopefully. For now, I’ll leave you with this. Represent!
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work
Go Huskies! Ok, so I didn’t go to UW, but my wife did if that counts for anything. Over the past several years, I have learned to enjoy Husky athletics because of my strong sense of Seattle pride. I follow the football team a little more closely than the basketball team, but it was still really fun to photograph Lorenzo Romar, the Husky men’s basketball coach. He is one of those people who commands your respect when he walks into a room, but I also found him to be very kind and personable. I think a good gauge of success is when strangers carry around giant cardboard pictures of your face. That’s when you know you have really made it in life. Something I think all of us should strive for.
How was work today honey?
It was great!
Did you get that promotion they promised you?
No, but my manager did hold up a big cardboard picture of my face at lunch.
Oh, that’s wonderful! Congratulations honey.
Yeah, it was awesome!
Many of you have asked about editing commercial work with VSCO Film, and how it looks with images lit by strobe. I busted these images out after I started using VSCO Film, and gave them new life with just a couple of clicks. All three of these images were lit with strobe, so hopefully this gives you an idea of what is possible. I think it works just as well with strobe as it does with natural light images. If you are unfamiliar with VSCO Film, it is a film emulator that plugs into Lightroom or ACR and makes digital images look like film. Not to mention, it is an incredibly fast alternative to Photoshop actions and other Lightroom presets. It really is an amazing tool for photographers. So far I am editing images 10 times faster than I was before, and I am getting better results. Here is the VSCO Film review I wrote last week.
I used Kodak Portra 400, and Orange Skin Fix + on these images. You can see a cool video tutorial and find out more about VSCO Film here.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Lighting Technique
Why are Bill Gates and Dustin Moskovitz, the richest and youngest billionaires in America, laughing? Let’s just say my joke was so funny, someone bought it, and I no longer have the rights to tell it… I have wanted to photograph Bill Gates for a long time, and my opportunity finally came around a couple of months ago when Forbes called. Dustin, is one of the four co-founders of Facebook, and since he is 8 days younger than Mark Zuckerberg, he is the youngest billionaire in the world. As you would expect, time was extremely limited for this shoot. We were given one and a half hours to set up the studio shot, and then I would have the first 10 minutes of the interview, and the last 10 minutes of the interview to take pictures. Immediately after the interview we had 3 minutes for hair and makeup and 7 minutes to photograph both Dustin and Bill. It was a whirlwind, but I am really happy with how everything turned out, not to mention it was a pretty cool experience to sit in on a conversation with these two. You can read the Forbes article here.
Here are a couple of shots I took after the shoot of the studio lighting setup.
For the interview image I used a Canon 5D Mark II with an on camera flash which I bounced off a wall to fill in with the natural light coming in from the back windows. The studio setup was a bit more elaborate, and I used my Hasselblad H3DII-31 Camera with the Hasselblad H 80mm Lens for the portraits. For lighting, I used two Profoto Giant 150 Silver Reflectors. One as the key, and one for fill. The Wescott 45” Umbrella was used to brighten up the right side of the background, and I used two Profoto 1×3 Softboxes as edge lights for the subjects. A lonely Elinchrom Ranger head on an Elinchrom RX 1100 Watt Battery pack snuck it’s way in, poking out over the top of the seamless as a hair light. Aside from the Ranger, the Profoto lights were powered by Profoto Acute 2400 watt power supplys, and one Profoto AcuteB2 600Ws AirS LiFe Power Pack.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Awards, Editorial Work, Personal Work
The 2011 PDN Faces issue is out, and Plants Vs. Zombies is a winner in the Celebrity/Editorial Portraits category. My Liberia series also won, under the Environmental Portraiture category. Last year, my portrait of Annie Leibovitz was the feature image in PDN Faces. It’s a thrill to have my work included in the contest again. Last July through April of this year felt like I was going at 200 mph non stop, and it’s nice to be able to slow down a little bit in the summer and reflect back on the work I have done this past year. It is even more satisfying to have that work recognized by the various contests I have won recently. Now it’s time to get busy again. Lots to do and look forward to. The new Keatley office project, the 2011 Christmas photo, some new video projects, and hopefully more fun work as well. I just finished a short video about my experience in Liberia this past January, and I will post it shortly (tonight). I think you will like it.
Side note: Co-founder of PopCap Games, John Vechey (pictured above) trumped my award just a little when PopCap was acquired by Electronic Arts for $1.3 billion, just days after the PDN award became public. Congrats John. Dolla dolla bills, y’all. I like to think the awards for this picture is what pushed EA to pull the trigger. Not that I am surprised, because just days after I photographed TechCrunch founder and CEO Michael Arrington in his home, TechCrunch was purchased by AOL for $30 million. You seeing a pattern here? I can’t legally promise companies will throw millions of dollars at you after I take your picture, but… Hey, that could make a great promo.
The list of this years Faces winners is on the official contest website. I haven’t had a chance to see the issue in person yet, but I am looking forward to sitting down with it.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets
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
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 Blog
It’s almost time for my two favorite professional sports. Lawn darts, and baseball. Just kidding! Soccer and baseball. Although we may be watching lawn darts if MLS and the union don’t come to an agreement soon. Aside from that, it is pretty exciting to be a soccer fan in the Pacific Northwest right now with how the Sounders have taken the country by storm. The first game of the 2010 season will be played here against Philadelphia, the newest expansion team to MLS. And don’t even get me started about next year when the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers will join MLS. Those rivalries will be amazing!
This is a picture I recently took of Kasey Keller. Kasey is the goalkeeper and captain of the Seattle Sounders FC. From my time with him, he seems like a laid back fun loving guy who doesn’t take life too seriously. While we were talking on set, he said “I get to play a game and catch a ball for a living.” It was fun to see that side of him, but going into the shoot, I wanted to capture some of his competitive spirit. One of the Sounders games I was at last season I spent some time on the grass right behind the goal. Qwest Field is known for being a loud stadium and the fans can carry on with the best of them. But as loud as it was in the stadium, I could hear Kasey screaming instructions to his teammates over the crowd. With that in mind, I asked Kasey if he would yell at me for a few pictures. I half expected to be rejected, but he said sure and started yelling. I won’t repeat what he yelled, but it was pretty funny.
(Here) is a post with video and pictures from the Sounders billboard I shot last season.