Surprised to see something other than stylized portraits? From the beginning, the goal with this ongoing personal series was to create something completely different from my portrait work. Last fall, I decided I wanted to push myself to create something outside of my comfort zone. I would prefer to let these images stand on their own without adding a story or context to them, but I also realize it is important to talk about one’s work. If not the meaning, at least the process. I have attempted to explain these to a few close friends, and the best explanation I have come up with so far is that this good idea evolved from several really bad ideas. What this means is I began with an idea and talked about it for a little while and really wrestled with the concept and how it would read. The first few concepts never really sat right with me, but thinking and talking about them with others eventually led to what you see here. Even after I began shooting, the concept continued to evolve. I worked with a great post production studio called Gigantic Squid, and collaborated with Ian Goode on the final look and feel of everything. This really has been an experiment and exploration of a different type of photography. As much as I pulled away from my portrait work in this process, I came to realize just how important the human element is to me in my work. I learned how to respond to what I was shooting and adapted my approach as the images came to life. That is not something I get to experience when working on an ad campaign which has to be planned out completely before shooting. So far, this project has taken me across Washington and Northern California, and I am planning a couple more out of state trips in the months to come. I have learned so much from this experience and I am excited to see how this continues to evolve and shape me as an artist.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog, Personal Work
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog, Celebrity, Editorial Work
I photographed Dan Savage for the March 28, 2011 issue of Time Magazine. Dan is a sex columnist (Savage Love), and the founder of the It Gets Better YouTube campaign supporting bullied gay teens. Thank you to Marie Tobias at Time for working with me on this assignment. It was a lot of fun to think through the lighting for a Black-and-White portrait for a change. There aren’t many assignments for B&W these days, and it really does take a different lighting approach than working with color. This is my favorite image, as well as the one running in the magazine.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog
Nichelle and I just got back from dinner with the team from MiiR Bottles and Well Done Organization I recently traveled to Liberia with. It was fun to be with everyone again and re-live some of the stories from our trip. Especially for Nichelle to hear stories from other people’s perspectives. In the few weeks since I have been back in the States, I have constantly been thinking and dreaming about all I learned in Africa. There are some ideas and projects I am working on in response to my experience, and I will be sharing more about all of this over the course of the next several months, or maybe longer. Before I get to any of that, though, I need to do yet another website update to accommodate the Liberia project, as well as another personal project I am working on. A book is also in the works and is projected to be out around May. Fingers crossed.
More to come soon. This is just the beginning.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Finally, a normal holiday picture from the Keatley’s, right? I’ll admit last years holiday photo was a little strange, what with the accident and everything. But the show must go on. This year we have a couple of new introductions. Our daughter Isla, and our yeti who is holding her. We did look into more “traditional” forms of childcare, but everything is so expensive these days.
I had a lot of fun planning this shoot out. I have been thinking about it, and planning for about 5 months, so seeing it finally come to life like this is a mix of pure excitement and a little relief. Although, I am already starting to think about next year. I just can’t help myself. It’s a blessing and a curse. I just think it will be so awesome to look back 10, 15, or 20 years from now and see all of the different holiday photos we have taken. Not to mention, how many 6-month-olds get to say they had their picture taken with a yeti? Isla is either going to think we are the coolest parents ever, or she won’t be able to get far enough away from us when she is older. I’m hoping for the first, but only time will tell.
This has been a wonderful year for me, and I am very grateful for all of your continued support and interest in my work. Thank you for reading my blog, and for coming out to hear me speak on occasion. That is definitely something I hope to do more of this next year. The next blog post you see from me will probably be me announcing my new website which I am very excited to share. As much as I like my current one, and it was selected in the 2010 PDN Annual, I feel like there is always room for improvement. Stay tuned.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Videos
Luke Burbank is the host of a podcast called “Too Beautiful To Live”. TBTL used to be a radio show until it got canceled. After switching to a self produced podcast the show became much more popular reaching 1.5 million downloads a month. He told writer Matt Halverson one of the benefits of doing a podcast is you don’t have to wear pants, which is where the idea of photographing him in a bathroom came from.
This is a short video documenting the construction of the set and some footage from the shoot. I hope you enjoy it.
Client: Seattle Met
Art Director: Benjamen Purvis
Set Builder: Brett Thomson
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog
Ever played the video game Plants Vs. Zombies? If so, then these zombies need no introduction. The man in the middle is John Vechey, co-founder of PopCap Games, one of the most successful casual game companies in the world. The first game they created is Bejeweled, which has sold more than 50 million copies. Plants Vs. Zombies is a really addictive game where you grow plants to prevent zombies from reaching your house and eating your brains. It is surprisingly kid friendly, and one of those games you just have to see to understand. I won’t say too much about this image because I think it is enjoyed best without explination.
I will say this was my favorite outtake from a recent shoot I did for Inc at the PopCap headquarters. Nothing like catching a couple of zombies on break at corporate.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Tear Sheets
That’s my portrait of John Keister on the cover of the current Seattle Weekly. John is best known as the “former host of Almost Live, widely regarded as one of the most successful locally produced sketch-comedy shows—or local shows of any kind, perhaps—in the history of modern American television.” – Mike Seely, Seattle Weekly
The show ran for 15 years, and the cast, along with John included Joel McHale, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The sketches on Almost Live were pretty hilarious as well as short and to the point. Unlike sketch comedy shows these days. Although SNL does seem to be getting a little better again. You can find a bunch of the videos on YouTube if you are interested.
It was a thrill to photograph John, and I am really happy with how the cover image turned out.
It’s jobs like this that remind me why I love photography so much. I laugh every time I look at this picture. How many CEO’s would be willing to be buried in cat litter and let a cat walk around their face? Not many. Although, I did get the cat litter with the blue crystals so it smelled really nice. It also serves as a good example of “you never know till you ask”.
Internet celebrity Ben Huh is the CEO and founder of the Cheezburger Network, the largest online humor network in the world. They run 50 hilarious blogs including I Can Has Cheezburger, Fail Blog, There I Fixed It, Failbook, Engrish Funny, and on and on. The first blog in the network was I Can Has Cheezburger which is a website dedicated to weird pictures of cat’s with pidgin-English captions. Ironic, because Ben is super allergic to cats, and even more amazing he was willing to do this shoot.
I have been working on larger productions and building sets quite a bit lately, and I am loving it. It is pretty fulfilling to take a concept like this (as dreamed up by AD Benjamen Purvis) and come up with a solution to make the idea a reality. A huge thank you goes out to Ben Huh (his personal blog is well worth the read) and Jen from Cheezburger Network, Benjamen Purvis and Matt Halverson from Seattle Met and Michele and Deanna from BuzzBuilders who were so great through the entire process.
Here is a behind the scenes video of working with Ben, and how I put this shot together.
If you are not familiar with the hilarious blogs on the Cheezburger Network, definitely take a few minutes to check them out. You will find something to make you smile for at least a few minutes.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Tear Sheets
Imagine rows and rows of boxes piled up to the ceiling at your local Costco. The boxes are matte black with bold white writing and a robot looking face on the front with beady red eyes. Maybe something like the Terminator, but more kid friendly. Suburban moms in California and Arizona are lining up to be the first on the block to own a personal laser mosquito zapper. Jacqueline from Rancho Cucamonga places her new mosquito zapper in the over-sized orange cart, next to her new cooler with a built in iPod dock, and the ten pound bag of chicken strips. She can already imagine the warm summer nights by the pool, free of mosquitoes. I envisioned the situation for these early adopters to unfold much like the Cornballer as seen on Arrested Development. Kids running around the yard with laser burn marks all over their bodies, hair on fire. You worried about your kids running with scissors? Forget about it. You’ve got a military robot with lasers in your back yard.
That was the scenario that popped into my head after hearing the words laser mosquito zapper, but as I found out more about the assignment, I discovered it was not the next ridiculous consumer item at your local big box store. 3ric Johanson and a team of really bright minds actually came up with this idea and made it into a reality with the goal of wiping out malaria. With a mandate from Bill Gates to think differently about finding a solution to prevent malaria from spreading, the Photonic Fence was born. The technical description of how it works is a little above my pay grade, but by recognizing the size, speed, sound, and speed and insect beats its wings, the Photonic Fence can differentiate between bees, flies, and even male or female mosquitoes. Only female mosquitoes bite and carry the parasite causing malaria, so only the females need to be terminated.
3ric works at Intellectual Ventures, which is a research lab in Bellevue, Washington. In addition to the Photonic Fence, they are working on some pretty amazing projects including a super-thermos to transport vaccines, and a system to weaken hurricanes. While taking a tour of the lab with 3ric, he explained the reason Intellectual Ventures is so different from other labs is they are encouraged to experiment and push the boundaries of what is currently being done. Failure is not something they are afraid of, and they have the luxury of pushing the boundaries because they have investors behind them. Because this type of work is so expensive, however, other labs often don’t have investors willing to take on this kind of risk.
Make is a really cool magazine, and if you get excited about DIY projects, I would recommend subscribing. You can also find out more about the Photonic Fence and Intellectual Ventures at this page. I was really encouraged to see some of the top minds working on projects with the single goal of making the world a better place for people who don’t share many of the luxuries we so often take for granted.
I’ll leave you with a super slow-motion video of mosquitoes getting blasted by a laser. Enjoy.
New Tech Toy I am most excited about right now.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Press & Interviews, Videos
I hope you enjoyed the first video of my photography talk. As promised, here is the second video, and number three will be rolling out very soon also. The third one will be the Q&A session. I cover a lot of ground in this video including working with celebrities, but the main points are focusing on what you are trying to show in your work, and taking control to make it happen. Some of you have asked which camera these videos were shot on and although I have recently started to shoot video on the Canon 5D Mark II, I actually used this bad boy to film my talk.