30
Jan

The Matador From Florida

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

My rep asked me to come up with an image for a valentines day promo this year and the assignment was to interpret the color red.  I had the option of using an image from my archive, or I could shoot something new.  I love excuses to create new work, so of course I jumped at the opportunity.  Assignments like this are great because I enjoy having some sense of structure, or a goal, but it also allows your imagination to run wild by leaving things open.  Taylor and I had some fun brainstorming sessions over this, and our ideas were all over the place.  As usually happens with my personal work, we landed on one idea, and then the more we talked about it, the idea began to shift and change until we got here.  Going into the shoot, the idea was to shoot a different angle, but when working with bulls or other crazy animals, there is an element of taking what they give you.  I really didn’t want them to give me the horns so to speak…  Plus I realized while shooting that I liked this angle better anyway.  As much as we plan everything out, it’s always good to try to stay open to changes and improvements that come up along the way.

This shoot came a few weeks after working with Kodiak bears, and surprisingly enough, I was more scared of the bulls.  Almost terrified even.  It didn’t help matters that the rancher we were working with told me horror stories of people being disfigured and killed by bulls for about 15 minutes before he said, “Well, why don’t we hop in.” Sounds good.  Let’s jump a fence into a field of bulls.  Why am I doing this again?

So there you have it.  This was a really fun project from beginning to end.  Big thanks to Ryan Cleary on the beautiful retouching work as well.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoy the image.

13
Dec

The Rider

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

The Rider by photographer John Keatley.

It didn’t take long for the humans to panic.  Government had been spiraling out of control for 60 years, fueled by greed and corporate corruption.  Mankind had finally taken all it could from the earth, until the earth had nothing left to give.  The humans had long embraced the idea, live for today and take what you want.  The cries of those who recognized the consequences of such behavior were left to the minority and written off as crazy.  Men had convinced themselves they were invincible.  Once the Nelson Report came out, and Amazon’s infrastructure collapsed, people began hoarding resources and grabbing all they could for themselves.  Telecommunications were quickly shut down, and in less than 18 months, the US population had been cut by over 75 percent.  Riots, fires, murder, starvation and sickness spread with very little resistance.

As life has always demonstrated, sometimes it takes the loss of one thing to gain another.  Ironic and painful as it was, it took man’s near destruction of the earth to bring about a new relationship between man and animal as it was in the beginning of time.

The Rider has not survived in the new world these past 5 years because of his strength, or because of things taken.  He has survived because of relationships.  Primarily a relationship with his bear and with nature.  These things, which were seen as weak and useless before, have now become what is held most precious in the dark days.

21
Aug

Not Your Mother’s Peaches

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.

29
May

Coffee Face Campaign

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Personal Work

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Can you relate?  You wake up in a haze, thinking a cup of coffee will do the trick. Trying to start your day out on the right foot, but instead you get a mouthful of bitter disappointment.

I had several goals pinned on the wall as I began the process of putting together this personal series. Shoot in detailed environments. Experiment with backlight where a light source is visible, or has a prominent role in the image.  And finally, have fun with facial expressions.  That was the easy part.  The hard part was coming up with the concept to make all of the elements come together. Gives you a whole new appreciation for copywriters and art directors!
Thankfully I work with some incredible people, and after some brainstorming, the bad coffee face idea was born.

So how does a personal shoot like this come together? A lot of hard work, and a crew of talented and creative people. The car shoot was the first of the three, and this BTS video by Eric Becker is a good walkthrough of what it all looks like on set.

The second shoot was the kitchen image.  Locating and securing the home was by far the most difficult part. After finding and locking in the location, we received a text the night before the shoot, which said it was no longer happening with no explanation.  I knew that kitchen was perfect for this shot, so after a lot of leg work and negotiating, we were back on track.   There is a certain mindset I feel is invaluable and absolutely necessary to make it as a photographer.  Tattoo these phrases on your arm, and never forget them.  No excuses, always ask questions, politely don’t take no for an answer, and do whatever it takes to make it work. There is always a solution, no matter what the problems you are faced with.  Wrapping your mind around these ideas will help prepare you for the struggles you are guaranteed to face as a photographer on almost a daily basis.

I wrapped this series up with the park bench shot.  I scouted several parks in Seattle until I found a bench I really liked.  It ended up being in a large forested park, which was a perfect place to shoot.  The permit was affordable, and it was a wide open space without crowd’s of people and traffic to worry about.  After the shoot with the bench and model, I woke up at sunrise the next day, and shot around an urban neighborhood near downtown Seattle.  It is important to make sure the light and angles of the environment match the light on the bench and model so the finished product looks as realistic as possible.  I made sure all of the landscape images I shot had the sun in the correct place according to where I placed lights on the model shoot.  I also used a tripod so my camera height and angle was the same as it was during the model shoot.

I love working like this because it gives me complete control of the final image without being restricted by certain realities.

Thanks to my awesome crew for helping make this project shine.
Talent: JJ Kissinger, Gabe Rodriguez, Katelyn Price
Production: Elizabeth Atwood
Retouching: Ian Goode / Gigantic Squid
Assistants: Will Foster, Gregg White, Oliver Ludlow
BTS video and stills: Eric Becker
Hair and Makeup: Cara Aeschliman
Wardrobe: Bryan Carle

Thank you’s also go out to Seattle Parks and Rec and Windermere Capitol Hill.