30
Apr

Heavenly Ski & Ride School

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Ad Campaign

Blogging has been a little less frequent than usual these days, but it’s only because I have been so busy shooting some pretty awesome ad campaigns.  We have 3 new campaigns coming out in the upcoming weeks, but before we get to those, I want to share with you this recent ad campaign.  It is for the Ski & Ride School at Heavenly Mountain Resort, and worked with Hammerquist Studios.  What a fun and hilarious concept.  In total, there are 6 different diagnosis profiles,  and you can see them in the advertising section of my site.  Big thank you’s go out to Fred Hammerquist, Dylan Kahler, and Nick Berry.  It was a blast working with you guys on this.

We got to do our own casting for this project, which is something I have really been enjoying.  The characters and types of people I like to photograph are a little harder to find, but the thrill of the search and the reward when you find that perfect person is so worth the extra effort.

Thanks to our friends at EVO for the amazing wardrobe and gear we used in the ads.  If you haven’t been to the new EVO store in Fremont, you should check it out.  It’s an incredible retail space and beautifully designed.  Even if you aren’t into outdoor adventures, the store and restaurants next door are worth a visit.

Styling:  Morgan Dillon
Hair & Makeup: Cara Aeschliman
Assistant: Gregg White
Retouching: Gigantic Squid

25
Jan

Vintage Diver Portraits

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

Vintage female diver portrait by photographer John Keatley.

Vintage male diver portrait by photographer John Keatley.

I’ve been shooting a lot of personal work lately in between assignments and ad campaigns.  It’s been making life feel pretty busy, but there is nothing more exciting in my job than seeing a personal concept go from an idea to a finished image(s).  There are a lot of ideas I want to make happen this year, so I hope this is just the beginning.  As a side note, I have become really interested in mid-century modern design and the modern era, and that has had a big influence on my personal work.  I love how these images turned out.  Thanks for taking a look!

Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

05
Nov

Jayme Hall of Alligator Performance

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Chad and Jayme Hall shot for Inc. Photo by John Keatley

Jayme Hall CEO of Alligator Performance. Shot by John Keatley

I shot these images on a sweltering hot day this past summer in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Inc.  Big thanks to Photography Director Travis Ruse for the call on this one.  One of the things I love about editorial photography is the opportunity to talk with a wide range of successful and interesting people.  Some of you may not know this, but I actually majored in Business Administration in college, so dissecting and understanding how different companies work is really fascinating to me.  Alligator Performance Co-founders Chad and Jayme Hall did not disappoint.  Their story was one of the most fascinating success stories I have ever heard, and I left the shoot feeling like I got to see something really special.  I highly recommend reading this article on Alligator in Inc.

06
Sep

Wexley School For Girls In The Nude

Posted by Izzy / Filed under BTS

Cal McAllister of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Cal McAllister / Co-Founder and CEO

Gabe Hajiani of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Gabe Hajiani / Production Director

Stephanie Peirolo of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Stephanie Peirolo / Director of Strategic Partnerships

Christine Wise of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Christine Wise / Director of Planning and Strategy

Ian Cohen of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Ian Cohen / Co-Founder and CCO

Todd Grant of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Todd Grant / CCD

One word sums up the experience of working with the team at the Seattle based ad agency, Wexley School for Girls: AWESOME.  The long and short of it, is that these guys and gals are a riot, and life is never dull when working or hanging out with Wexley.  They never so much as bat an eyelash when John shows up asking them to take their shirts off, dress up in chicken costumes, sprawl across the baby grand, or any other fantastically strange idea John has thrown at them over the years.  Well, actually, not everyone was on board with this concept off the bat, but everyone came around eventually after a good pep talk.

Most business executives need headshots for speaking, press, articles, etc., and the leaders at Wexley are no different.  These portraits are of the Wexley senior leadership team. As you can see, not only are they all pretty much topless, but they have Sara Coates and I smashing and manipulating their faces with our hands.  At least the men do.  The women got a couple of male interns to stand in, and it just so happened to be their first day on the job.  It was awesome, and one of those shoots where we were laughing so hard we cried a little.  Some people may have cried from awkwardness too, but it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.  Thanks Wexley for being great sports, and for working with us to create such awesome photography.  I like to think this kind of work is the stuff that stands the test of time.

These pictures have already received some of the greatest comments on Facebook.  It’s almost like a social experiment the way some people are so confused  by these portraits.  ”They aren’t really going to use those for press are they?”  Yes, yes they are.

Here is a quick behind the scenes video of the shoot.  Can’t wait to see what happens next time.

Thanks team Wexley, and thanks as always to Gigantic Squid for retouching!

14
Jun

American Indians for The Nature Conservancy

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Ad Campaign

American Indian portrait by photographer John Keatley.

American Indian portrait by photographer John Keatley.

American Indian portrait by photographer John Keatley.

As an artist, campaigns with a positive social impact are always very appealing to me.  PBJS in Seattle called me several months back about this campaign for The Nature Conservancy, highlighting the First Stewards Symposium in Washington DC, which takes place next month.  This is the first national climate change symposium dedicated to addressing how climate change impacts coastal indigenous people.

I got to work with some great people on this project, CD Peter Gaucys, ACD Brandon Hilliard, and AD Vinny Pacheco.  In one of our meetings about creative for this shoot, someone brought up how the only photographs we associate with American Indians are old and quite dated.  Those old black and white prints you see in a museum.  This was an opportunity to create 3 great portraits of modern American Indians surrounding a really important set of issues.  I am really proud of how these portraits turned out, and I am excited to see what comes from the symposium next month.

Below is an excerpt taken from the First Stewards website which outlines the purpose of this symposium. What a fantastic project to be a part of!

“This first-of-its-kind national event examines the impact of climate change on indigenous coastal cultures.  The symposium will bring together as many as 300 coastal indigenous tribal elders, leaders, scientists, witnesses, and other scientists and policy leaders from around the nation to discuss traditional ecological knowledge and what it can teach us about past, present, and future adaptation to climate change. Five regional panels of tribal leaders and tribal and Western scientists will examine how native people and their cultures have adapted to climate change for hundreds to thousands of years, and what their future — and that of the nation — may hold as the impacts of climate change continue.”

If you find yourself around the National Mall, Smithsonian, or the The National Museum of the American Indian in DC and you see these images on flags, banners, etc, I’d love to get some snaps.  Thanks!

16
Apr

At Home in Manila

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel

This is the third post from my assignment in the Philippines for Arts Aftercare.  You can see all of the posts from this trip by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.  For those of you who are just joining in, the following portraits are of people who have been affected in some way by sexual exploitation.  Some of the people are volunteering, or caring for survivors, some of the people are survivors, and one person is simply family member of a victim of sexually exploitation.

Some of my favorite moments in the Philippines were when I was able to walk through neighborhoods, and photograph people in their homes.  It took several days before I was able to find transportation, and arrange times with people, but once I was able to establish some trust and familiarity, things began to fall into place.  I only wish I had more time in Manila to take more of these.  I have intentionally left out some of the names for various reasons.

The mother in this family is a volunteer at Samaritana, where she teaches women how to sew.  I photographed them at their home just outside the garbage community in Manila.

Jonathan Nambu is the co-director of Samaritana with his wife Thelma.  They were our wonderful hosts while we were in Manila.  I photographed him at his home in the backyard.

This young woman is in the Samaritana program for women who have been sexually exploited.  She lives in a small home with a large number of her family members along with extended family.

This is the girls father (pictured above).  He collects recyclable garbage for a living, and has a small shop in the front of the family’s home.

I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Krys on this trip, and got to know her a bit more than others.  She works at Samaritana, and spends a good amount of her time on the streets at night forming relationships with pimps, and women who are being exploited.  She has such an amazing heart, and her story is deeply moving.  This shoot was especially fun, because we got to ride a trike, transfer to a jeepney, and then take a long walk to get to her apartment where this portrait was taken.  I’m a sucker for a good trike ride on the deadliest highway in the world.

This woman also works at Samaritana, and she lives in a squatter community, which is like nothing I have ever experienced before.  A squatter community is exactly as it sounds.  People build homes right on top of, and next to each other, regardless of who owns the land.  Power lines and other resources are spliced, and it looks a bit like controlled chaos.  From a photographic standpoint, one thing I love about many of these images, is that there was often only one natural light source in each home, which provided a single stream of beautiful light to work with.

Survivor in the Samaritana program, photographed in her friends home.

I shot all but one of these images on my Vanguard tripod.  It was fun to work this way for a change with natural light.  It made me slow down and take a different approach.  I even slowed down my breathing, to accommodate the timed exposures.  I feel a deep connection with each of these images, and I also feel a different kind of appreciation for these because of the process.  I am really looking forward to creating more work like this at some point.

09
Apr

Survivors in Manila

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel

This is the second post from my assignment in the Philippines for Arts Aftercare.  You can read the first post, as well as this entire series by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.

After arriving in Manila and getting acclimated, my main focus was to document the art therapy training by the Arts Aftercare staff.  Leaders from several organizations in the Philippines and abroad attended the training, which took place over the course of 3 days.  When I was not in the training, I spent the rest of my time trying to figure out who is who, and what direction I wanted to go with my personal work, which would be to tell a story about the sex industry in the Philippines.  We would be spending about 6 days in Manila, and then we would head to 2 other towns and visit organizations working with survivors of sexual exploitation.

One of the things I was hoping for the most out of this trip was an opportunity to make portraits of some of the survivors of sexual exploitation.  Our hosts told us that they thought only a couple of the women would be willing to be photographed, but we would just have to ask and see what they say.  We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, and wouldn’t be able to ask until Monday.  It was a long weekend of waiting.  Understandably there are some really complicated issues that come up when photographing people who have had to deal with something like this.  It was important, but also really difficult for me to remember that, as I had my heart set on making portraits of at least a few of the survivors.

When Monday came around, Becker and I introduced ourselves to the group and told them what we were there for, and what we hoped to accomplish.  We walked out of the room and gave them time to talk about it among themselves.  Not long after, someone came out and told us that every single woman had agreed, and they were really excited to be photographed.

I quickly grabbed my gear and set up at a bus stop just down the street from the organization.  It was incredibly hot and humid, but I somehow made it through, on excitement and adrenaline while I shot for the next 2.5 hours.  It was such a fun shoot.

Sexual exploitation is such a heavy subject, but what really made an impact on me was the hope and joy I saw in so many of the women who are going through the recovery process.  After spending time with them, I decided to make the portraits with an overall hopeful feel, which is why I chose the brightly colored wall as a background.  I directed the women a little, but tried to interject as little as possible to allow these images to feel more natural and reflective of each woman’s personality.  I let them pose how they felt most comfortable, and tried to keep things as natural as possible.  These women are so incredible, and they have amazing strength and beauty.  I hope that comes through as you look at these portraits.

My intent in doing this project was to help spread the word about the exploitation of women and children which is going on all around us.  Hopefully by sharing these images and stories, others might feel inclined to get involved in the fight and healing process.  As the week went by, my focus became sharper and sharper on creating great images which told a captivating story.  My approach could be described as a bit selfish at times, as I was solely thinking about what I could do, or where I needed to go to get the shot.  After this shoot was finished, I began hearing from a few people about how much this experience meant to the women.  The big 5 ft. octabank, Curtis holding the big flag, Becker shooting video, and my Hasselblad camera, all made them feel like they were a part of something fancy and exciting.  It seemed pretty normal to me, but that type of experience is not something everyday people are a part of very often.  On top of that, I was working really hard to make the pictures look great from a visual interest standpoint, but to the women, it all made them feel beautiful and pampered.  It was a good feeling to be a part of that, but it still didn’t fully hit me until the next day.

The next day we were back at the house, and everyone was finishing up training.  I was waiting for a ride to another site to take pictures.  The house we were staying at was beautiful, but not a place I felt was conducive to anything I thought would be visually interesting.  As I was watching everyone laughing and going through the drama portion of the training, it hit me.  Forget about yourself and your portfolio for once, and use that camera in your hands to really make an impact on someone.  It’s easy to help others when my portfolio is also benefiting from it, but how about taking pictures that only benefit others.  A totally new concept for me.  I told one of the leaders that I was willing to take pictures of the women with friends, groups, whatever they wanted.  And for the next 45 minutes, we took pictures of people jumping off chairs, human pyramids, group poses, and on and on.  It was so awesome.  They came up with their own ideas, and it was fun to see them take charge and direct everyone.  The pictures are not ones I will be showing, or putting in a portfolio, but they brought a lot of joy to those in them, and that was a powerful experience and a good lesson for me.

These images were all edited with VSCO Film.

21
Mar

On The Road For AARP Bulletin

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Better late than never I always say.  Actually, I don’t always say that, and it’s not really a good motto to live by, but in this case, it works.  I have been meaning to post these images for a few months, but am just now getting around to it (my bad).  Last Fall, I was excited to see Director of Photography Michael Wichata’s number light up on my phone, as he was calling about a cross country assignment.  I love working with Michael because of the thoughtfulness he puts in to his work, and he is really passionate about photography.  It makes assignments that much more enjoyable when you work with someone who cares that much.  The story is called ‘Will I Ever Work Again?’ and it covers three people over the age of 55 who felt the effects of these tough times when they lost their jobs and had to try to re-enter the work force at a time when there are more people than jobs.

The first stop was Dallas, TX where I met Alejandra Mendoza, who was let go from her supervisor position at a mid-size bank.  It was my first time in Texas, and it was HOT!  In the spirt of everything being bigger in Texas, my assistant Oliver and I went to the biggest movie theater in America (so I was told) and saw Captain America.  Unfortunately we can’t undo that experience.

Our next stop was Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  We arrived late Monday night, and shot first thing on Tuesday.  Florida was a different kind of heat than I had ever felt before, the kind where you could feel your skin melting off after just a couple of minutes in the sun.  This might be why we saw so many people walking to the mailbox, or picking up the newspaper in only their underwear.  Mark Krieger was my subject in Florida, and he lived in a really nice gated community on a series of lagoons.  When we arrived, there was no one at the gate, and no way to call or get buzzed in that we could see.  We couldn’t reach Mark either, so after driving around the community looking for another entrance, we decided to park on the side of the road just to the side of the gate.  After waiting for a few minutes, a car approached the gate and it opened.  As soon as they began moving through, I gunned it and sped in behind them just before the gate could close.  Seems a little anti-climactic now, but at the time I felt like James Bond, and it was more than enough to pump us up after several long flights.

After a quick shoot with Mark, it was back to the airport where we experienced the heaviest flash rainstorm I have ever seen on the highway.  It came out of nowhere, and we saw 6 crashes over the span of 2 miles.  We even got honked at and flipped off for slowing down as we narrowly avoided hitting the car that had just crashed in front of us.  Oh Florida…  Thanks for the hospitality.

Next it was off to Akron, OH to meet Pam Gaul who recently got a job at Bridgestone Tire Company.  The company headquarters was in a really old, half-empty building, and it was one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen, from a photography interest point of view.  We got a tour of the empty part, and it was hauntingly beautiful.  Much of the furniture was left as-is from decades ago.  If only I had more time to explore, there were some really cool rooms to shoot there.

Pam was the inspiration / success story of the article, and her story was really fascinating.  After losing her previous job she joined a job club and was coached on interviewing, applying for a job, and personal presentation.  It’s so interesting, the difference between our own perceptions of ourselves, and how we are actually coming across to others.  After a few adjustments, Pam had a great interview and got a job she LOVES at Bridgestone.  Not to make it sound like it’s just that easy, but it is exciting to see people make positive changes and reap the rewards.

After Akron, we flew back down to Wilmington and then back home to Seattle, just missing Hurricane Irene.  That was one bumpy flight!

Here is the link to read the article I shot these portraits for on the AARP website.

Thanks Michael and AARP.  This was a fun one.

 

22
Jan

Drinks With Murray Stenson

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

I hinted at a fun assignment I was working on last month on Twitter, and now I am excited to to be able to share the images with you.  I had a lot of catching up to do when I first got the assignment to photograph Murray Stenson from Art Director Jane Sherman at Seattle Weekly, but it didn’t take long for me to find out that Murray is widely regarded as the best bartender in the country.  Don’t believe me?Just ask Esquire, Playboy and Tales of the Cocktail.  It felt like when you get a new car, and all of a sudden you realize that just about everyone else on the road has the same car as you.  As soon as I got this assignment, it seemed like everyone I knew was going out to get a drink from Murray.  Apparently I was the last person to know.  I was quite excited to not only photograph Murray, but to also have a drink from him.

I did the shoot at Canon, which is a new bar in Seattle where Murray works, along with an all-star group of bartenders led by Jamie Boudreau who is also the owner.  There is a bit of a wait to get in, but I can tell you the wait is well worth it.  I filmed a short video of Murray mixing and explaining how to make an Absinthe Julep, which you can see below.  And yes, I did get to drink it after we were done filming.  Someone had to, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.  We did have to do 2 takes, but thankfully my assistant handled the second one since we were dealing with 124 proof.  For what it’s worth, I made sure the video was the last thing we did so my pictures wouldn’t be out of focus.

Although Murray has been written up in many other magazines, this article is the first time he has told his story.  It was written by Mike Seely, and is a really fascinating read.  Here is the link to the article if you are interested.  Along with the video, I also included a few behind the scenes pictures at the bottom.

Thanks to Jane Sherman for working with me on this, and thanks to Murray and Jamie for being such gracious hosts and subjects.  Photo retouching by the fine folks at Gigantic Squid.

Behind the scenes pictures by Lonnie Webb.

20
Oct

Braving The Elements

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Tear Sheets

Weathermen Brad Colman Cliff Mass.  Photo by John Keatley in Seattle, WA.

Cliff Mass

Brad Colman

Clouds I can handle, but it’s the rain that drives me crazy when I am supposed to be shooting outside. Thankfully I was photographing weather experts for this assignment, and it turns out they know a thing or two about predicting the weather.

As I was packing up to head out for what I knew would be a long day at “the office” I began to feel a little nervous about the dark clouds hanging over Seattle. After checking weather.com, my nervousness began to change into a good case of anxiety because they were predicting rain by 9:30am, and that was just two hours away.  Maybe I could beat the rain and get in at least one outside portrait.  The problem was I had to photograph one subject in the morning, and the second one in the afternoon.  At the very best it looked like I would only get one of the subjects outside, but the show must go on.  I headed over to the University of Washington where I would meet up with my first subject, Cliff Mass.  My assignment was to photograph Cliff and Brad Coleman in studio for the opener, and get an environmental portrait of each of them individually.  The thing that made this all really interesting was I could not get them both in studio at the same time or place.  I had to set up a studio at UW in the morning, then tear it down, and set it up again, exactly the same at NOAA to photograph Brad.  I had been planning this shoot for a couple of weeks including some minor styling and location scouting.  This was an assignment I was really looking forward to, and I would have been really bummed if the rain forced us inside for the environmental shots.

To give you a little background on the men in the photographs.  Cliff Mass was mentored by Carl Sagan while in undergrad at Cornell University.  He is the author of “The Weather of the Pacific Northwest”, he runs a very popular blog, Cliff Mass Weather Blog, he is a weekly guest on KUOW radio, and he is a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.  To quote a UW press release, “He has published dozens of articles on Northwest weather and leads the regional development of advanced weather prediction tools.”  Many people in the Pacific Northwest plan their weekends around Cliff’s predictions.

Brad Colman is the meteorologist-in-charge of the Seattle Weather Forecast Office.  “A meteorologist-in-charge is the front line officer carrying out the National Weather Service’s mission of serving the American public by helping protect lives and property,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.  ”NOAA’s National Weather Service is the official source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories.  The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast systems in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.”

Back at UW, it seemed like it would start raining any minute, so I asked Cliff if we could change the schedule a little and shoot the environmental portrait right away because I was nervous about the rain.  Embarrassed as I am to admit, it never occurred to me that I was working with one of the top experts in weather. When I told Cliff we should try to shoot outside while it is still dry, he promptly responded, “It’s not going to rain.” “It’s not?” I asked. “No. The cloud cover will begin to burn off at 10:30, and by 11:30 we will have clear skies.”  And he was right.  Take that weather.com!  Once we finished at UW with Cliff, it was off to NOAA to photograph Brad.  By the time we got there, the skies were opening up, and it looked quite different than just a few hours before, as you can tell in the pictures.

From this point on, I will include a weatherman on all of my bids.  First assistant, second assistant, makeup artist, stylist, and a weatherman.  Oh, and a falconer.  I recently learned about the benefits of having a falconer on set.  If nothing else it can be very entertaining, but that’s a story for another time.

A fun fact I learned on this assignment is Houston, New York, Miami and Boston all get more average annual rainfall than Seattle.   We win the prize for most cloudy days though…  Bummer.

Special thanks goes out to Robyn and Seattle North Face for the clothes.  And also to Mandy for painting some amazing clouds which were not used in the final.

This is a video of Cliff explaining some weather basics.  I like how he explains things in terms anyone can understand.  Plus he has soothing voice.