29
Nov

Ballet Meets Burlesque

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.

 

20
Mar

Don’t Talk To The Cops for City Arts

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

Don't Talk To The Cops shot for the cover of City Arts by photographer John Keatley.

For those of you who are fellow Seattlites, you may have noticed City Arts has been gaining great momentum as the go-to arts publication around town.  They have been doing a great job covering culture, art, and music, and are not afraid of going out on a creative limb so-to-speak, to bring their audience something fresh and original.  I got to shoot the Seattle based hip hop group Don’t Talk To The Cops for the cover of the March issue.  This was a really fun shoot, and I was excited to get to throw in a slight nod to those amazing laser portrait backgrounds we all coveted back in the 80′s.  I think the hardest part was picking out the right turtleneck and NFL game day jacket.  After that was decided, it was smooth sailing and a lot of laughing.  I can’t say I’ve made it through the article exposing bubble tea, but the cover image is certainly reason enough for picking it up :) (not to mention it’s free).

Big thanks to Art director Dan Paulus, editor in chief Leah Baltus, and Don’t Talk To The Cops.  This shoot was a fun collaboration of talking through ideas and inspirations with Dan and Leah, and I love how it turned out.  I met Dan and Leah for the first time, when I was photographed as part of the City Arts Future List late last year.  Retouching by Gigantic Squid.