A couple of months ago I hosted a Q&A and spoke about my photography to a group of about 100 people in Seattle. Many people who were not able to attend sent in questions, and expressed interest in watching a recording of the talk. Well, the wait is over. This is the first 15 minutes of the talk and I am going to do my best to have the rest up by the end of the week. So check back often. Enjoy, and thank you everyone who came out to hear me, and to everyone else who is reading this for your interest in my work.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Press & Interviews, Videos
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog
Economy got you down? Looking for a new career? Well, this man can help. David Boushey is one of the top stuntmen in the industry and the founder of the International Stunt School in Seattle. If you dream of a life in the movies and have no fear, David can teach you how to jump off buildings, set yourself on fire, punch someone in the face and all kinds of crazy stuff the well-known actors won’t do. In fact, the International Stunt School is thriving these days thanks to the bad economy. Lots of people are looking for a career change, and the film industry thrives when times are tough because everyone is looking for an escape. Enrollment is up this year, and David is in talks to create a reality show about the stunt school.
On set, David asked me, “What’s my motivation for this shot?”
I told him, “Once a week for just half an hour you have a regularly scheduled time for yourself. You always go to the same cafe, and you get the same drink and read the paper in your regular seat. You don’t talk to anyone, and you certainly don’t like people talking to you. While you are reading, you hear someone yelling. You try to ignore them, but they get louder and more frantic. It seems like they are yelling at you. You try to ignore them for as long as possible while your frustration and anger grows. Finally, you turn in the direction of the person screaming and snap off, “What the hell do you want!?”
I have started experimenting with video on some of my shoots for editorial clients recently, and this is a short I put together on how to throw a “picture punch”. So far I have really enjoyed working with video, and I hope to do more in the coming months. If you are reading this in a blog reader you may need to go to the John Keatley Blog to see the video. This was not my first lesson on how to throw a punch from one of my photo subjects, although my first lesson was about punching for real.
I have another short video in the video section of my website of David telling a story about almost getting chopped to bits while filming a movie at sea.
Here are some links to the camera equipment I used for this shot.
Hasselblad H3DII-31 w/ 80mm lens
Elinchrom Ranger Battery Pack and Head x2
Profoto Acute 2 2400 kit
Profoto White Softlight “Beauty Dish” Reflector
Wescott 45” Umbrellas
Elinchrom 7” grid reflector
20 degree grid
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity
In the course of a conversation this past summer, it was mentioned that Annie Leibovitz was going to be in Seattle that November. As soon as I heard this, I was gone. Blank stare. Absent from the conversation. I was thinking, “What would it be like to photograph Annie Leibovitz? Would she let someone else take her portrait? I don’t think so. She is one of the greatest photographers ever. The only pictures I have ever seen of her were self portraits. How nervous would I be if I got to take her portrait?” A couple of months later, I received an email from a photo editor at Seattle Metropolitan; “Do you want to photograph Annie Leibovitz?”
I thought a lot about how I would photograph her. But after dreaming about some grand and sizable production ideas, I decided not to try to do too much. I would just do what I do best, and keep it simple. We were scheduled to shoot in a private meeting room in a downtown Seattle hotel, with no chance of moving to a different location. Because of her full schedule that day, I knew she would be tired. An interview with Steve Scher on NPR (listen here) right before the shoot, and speaking at Benaroya Hall for ‘Seattle Arts & Lectures‘ right after. I had a small window of time to work with her.
When Annie came into the room, she looked around at the lighting setup, and said, “Wow, this looks scary.” My thoughts exactly, but it wasn’t the lights I was thinking about. We talked a few minutes about photography and cameras before she sat down. Then I told her about my idea for the portrait, and asked if she would mind taking off her glasses. She said that was fine, and I started to shoot. It was a balancing act trying to find the line between being in control to get what I wanted, and not being pushy. I could tell that she was not comfortable being photographed. She moved around a lot while I shot, and I decided to be flexible rather than push too much to hold a certain pose. Things don’t always go exactly to plan, and sometimes this can be a pleasant surprise. It felt like the shoot ended up being a collaboration in making the pictures. It’s not often that I work with someone who is so willing to be expressive and experiment as she was. Shortly after we started, the shoot came to an end, and I knew that I had the shot. I thanked her for her time, and she said, “You did good.” I’ll take it! What a compliment.
The article that was published in Seattle Metropolitan, and written by Steve Wieking can be read here.
*Update* – My portrait of Annie Leibovitz was selected in the American Photography 25 Competition (AP25) and will be published in November 2009. This is a huge honor for me! The link will take you to a post with more about the award.