13
Sep

Ferran Adria for Wired UK

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

October Cover of Wired UK.  Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

For many people, Ferran Adria needs no introduction, but for those of you who are not familiar with Ferran, he is one of the most innovative chefs and people in recent history.  He has been on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people list multiple times.  His restaurant El Bulli was the best restaurant in the world until he shut it down in 2011 at the peak of it’s success, with the idea of reinventing it.  Not many people have the vision and willingness to take great risks the way Ferran does, and that is a big part of what this feature is about.

This assignment came up very quickly, and within 3 days of getting the call, I was off to Barcelona.  Aside from creating some awesome images, my secondary goal was food.  Get food.  Just a piece of cheese or a scrap of bread would suffice.  To be able to say I was handed food from Ferran Adria, that would be pretty cool.

Right off the bat, I want to thank and acknowledge the creative team at Wired UK.  The Photo Editors, Dalia Nassimi and Steve Peck, Art Director Andrew Diprose, and Executive Editor Greg Williams.  Greg and Andrew also traveled to Barcelona for this shoot, and we first met up with Ferran at El Bulli Workshop not far from our hotel in Barcelona.  It was a busy morning between meetings, the interview and photo shoot, but we worked with Ferran in small chunks of time throughout the day.  Ferran is one of the most meticulous and driven people I have ever met.  As you can see from some of these images, his attention to detail and planning is second to none.  Every room in his workshop as well as his kitchens are lined with whiteboards covered in notes, diagrams, and plans.  His spice rack at El Bulli Workshop is so thought out, he probably knows how many grains of salt are in the salt jar.  Perhaps most impressive was the play dough portion size and design templates for each meal he has created.  Nothing is left to chance.  His passion for his work and innovation also seem to be very contagious, because everyone he works with seems to completely buy in.  I was able to learn some of this before the shoot through my research, but it is never as fun as the real deal.  It was really amazing to pull some of the intensity and passion out of him, as you can see in these images.

Ferran now has a new tapas bar with his brother, Albert, in Barcelona called Tickets.  From what we had gathered, it is quite an experience in it’s own right, with an impressive menu, including several famous dishes from El Bulli.  It’s also next to impossible to get in to.  Greg brought up the idea of getting a table during the photo shoot, but we were told it just wasn’t possible.  While Ticket’s would have been the ultimate dining experience, we were in Barcelona after all, and Ferran recommended some of his favorite tapas bars and restaurants to us, which were all amazing.  Later that evening, we caught up with Ferran at a local museum which has a wonderful exhibit on the history of El Bulli.  They closed the museum down, and we got a private tour from Ferran.

We had 2 days of shooting scheduled with Ferran, and after a long and eventful day one, we got up early the next morning and drove a couple of hours outside Barcelona to El Bulli.  It is still closed as a restaurant, but currently is filled with computer programmers and large white boards of plans and code.  Big changes are coming to El Bulli before it re-opens in 2014.  Going out there, we knew the kitchen was closed, so we were not expecting food, but we were also not expecting the surprise Ferran had instore for us. Ferran pulled Greg, Andrew, and myself over to a corner of the outdoor patio and brought us into a tight circle.  He held out 3 fingers, looked at us in the eyes, and said, “9:00 tonight, Tickets for the 3 of you.”  Kids at Christmas!  We were through the roof.  More on that below.

This issue  has only been out about a week now, and we are already seeing this cover being recognized as one of the best covers of 2012.  Pretty exciting to be a part of that, and an honor to work with AD Andrew Diprose, who is one of the best in the industry.

Wired UK table of contents.  Ferran Adria by John Keatley

Wired UK opening spread on Ferran Adria.  Photo by John Keatley.

Portrait of Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

Portrait of Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

Ferran Adria at El Bulli Workshop.  Photo by John Keatley.
Ferran at El Bulli Workshop talking with two of his computer programmers, who are working on some exciting new developments for the El Bulli brand.

Ferran Adria by John Keatley.

John Keatley, Ferran Adria.
Working with Ferran on the how best to hold the E, and balancing it with the proper way to hold a knife and cut.  Pictured with Ferran’s interpreter, Andrew Diprose and myself.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

Ferran Adria and John Keatley.

El Bulli kitchen
El Bulli kitchen during the remodel / reinvention of El Bulli.

El Bulli food.
Portion sizes and shapes of all ingredients served at El Bulli made out of Play-dough.

El Bulli food.

El Bulli food.
Two dishes served at El Bulli made from Play-dough, next to a photograph of the actual dish.

El Bulli food.

Below are pictures I took of our meal at Tickets.  In all of the excitement and euphoria, there were several dishes I forgot to photograph.  That being said, here are quite a few images of many of the amazing things I got to eat that night.  Our server’s name was Claudia, and she added so much to the experience.  We didn’t feel qualified to order, so we told her to bring whatever she wanted to serve us.  She talked to us quite a bit throughout the night, and brought the dishes in an order that flowed and paired flavors.  Ferran even came in to say hi and introduce us to his brother Albert.  It was by far the most amazing food experience I have ever had.  We asked the concierge at our hotel for walking directions to Tickets before we left, and he told us he could make several other restaurant recommendations because we would not be able to get in.  Greg tried to explain that we had reservations, but he just laughed at us.  Silly tourists.

Watermelon infused with sangria
Watermelon infused with sangria

The Olive-S
The Olive-S

Tickets food

Tomato bread
Tomato bread

Tickets food

Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese
Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese

Tickets food

Tomato tartar cone
Tomato tartar cone

Codium tempura with it's vinagrete jus
Codium tempura with it’s vinaigrette jus

Oranges in olive juice with mint
Oranges in olive juice with mint

Avocado cannelloni with crab and romesco sauce
Avocado cannelloni with crab and romesco sauce

Tickets food

Marinated fried fish
Marinated fried fish

Fried egg with truffled duck fat and potato cream
Fried egg with truffled duck fat and potato cream

Confit potatoes with pork rib jus and boiled iberian ham
Confit potatoes with pork rib jus and boiled iberian ham

Liquid ravioli of Payoyo cheese
Liquid ravioli of Payoyo cheese

Animated Forrest
Animated Forrest

Warm lava cake of
Warm lava cake of “turron de Jijona” with raspberry sorbet.  We ordered 2 of these.  :)

This short video about Tickets gives you an awesome behind the scenes look at the food they create and what the dining experience is like. Eating at one of Ferran’s restaurants really is about the whole experience and using all of your senses.

Wired UK AD Andrew Diprose, Ferran Adria, John Keatley, and Wired UK Executive Editor Greg Williams
Wired UK AD Andrew Diprose, Ferran Adria, John Keatley, and Wired UK Executive Editor Greg Williams

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the October issue of Wired UK which is currently on stands.  You can also see a great documentary on Netflix called El Bulli: Cooking In Progres.  There are also hundreds of fascinating videos online of Ferran and El Bulli.  I can tell you I have already invested countless hours watching many of them.

I would like to thank everyone who worked with me on this assignment.  Dalia, Andrew, Greg, and Steve at Wired UK.  Awesome people.  Thanks to my rep Julia at Redux Pictures for all her support and hard work on the backend to make this all happen.  Thanks to Gigantic Squid for the awesome retouching.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my work.

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.

19
Jul

Don Mattrick for Forbes

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Portrait of Microsoft's Don Mattrick for Forbes by John Keatley.

Safe to say Don Mattrick has one of the more exciting jobs at Microsoft.  Sitting around, playing Xbox all day.  Must be nice.  But sometimes, when he’s not playing Xbox, Don get’s his picture taken for Forbes, and that’s where I come in.  And speaking of exciting jobs, I can’t even begin to explain how much furniture was moved around for this shoot.  I think the PR people thought I was a little crazy, but if you ask me, it was totally worth it.  In fact, I think it turned out so good, Microsoft may even decide to re-arrange the whole room.  That’s called value added.  Don’t worry, no charge.  That’s how we do it.

Don Mattrick is the President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment business.  i.e. Xbox…  It’s a big weapon for Microsoft right now.  David Ewalt wrote the story for Forbes that this was shot for, which you can read here.  Photo Editor Gail Toivanen, and retouching by Gigantic Squid.

P.S. People always ask me about backstory, so I know what your next question is going to be.  ”John, what was he saying when you took this picture?”  He was saying, “John, how are you so friggin funny!?  You crack me up.”  Thanks Don.  That’s really nice of you to say.

09
May

Radar The Talking Dog

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work

Meet Radar, the talking dog.  What was he saying when I took that picture?  Oh, just the usual.  ”Hey buddy, you sure take a lot of pictures.  Wow!  How many pictures are you gonna take?  Ok, I think you’ve got it by now.”  You would think Radar is a celebrity of CEO going on like that.  But seriously, does it not look like he is talking in the first picture!?  Such a beautiful, expressive animal.  I haven’t seen that much expression from any of the humans I have worked with lately.

So who want’s the real story?  Radar is actually a service dog for a boy with autism.  I shot this assignment for VIV Mag, and these are two of my favorite outtakes.  I set up a raised platform in studio to photograph Radar, and he was not very excited about being on off the ground.  It took several tries, and a lot of patience, but I got some beautiful images as a result.  They say you should never work with children or animals, but sometimes it’s the most difficult challenges that pay off the most.

Thanks to VIV Mag photo editor Daniel Montoya for working with me on this.
Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

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.

 

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.

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.

23
Dec

My First Esquire Cover

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

I woke up this morning to get a Twitter mention and early Christmas greeting from @Strobist that my portrait of Annie Leibovitz is on the new cover of Spanish Esquire.  That’s an awesome Christmas present, and my first Esquire cover as well.

Big thank you’s go out to Redux Pictures (Lori Reese and Jesi Bevis, who tirelessly represent my stock archive and editorial assignments) and Esquire.

Esquire Spain
Editor in chief: Andrés Rodriguez
Creative director: Clara Montagut (her design department runs this great blog / found via CoverJunkie.com)
Photo Editor: Diego Martinez

22
Nov

Coach Romar

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work

Lorenzo Romar with the Dawg Pack.  Photo by John Keatley.

UW men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar holding a giant picture of his face.  Photo by John Keatley.

Portrait of Lorenzo Romar by photographer John Keatley.

Go Huskies!  Ok, so I didn’t go to UW, but my wife did if that counts for anything.  Over the past several years, I have learned to enjoy Husky athletics because of my strong sense of Seattle pride.  I follow the football team a little more closely than the basketball team, but it was still really fun to photograph Lorenzo Romar, the Husky men’s basketball coach.  He is one of those people who commands your respect when he walks into a room, but I also found him to be very kind and personable.  I think a good gauge of success is when strangers carry around giant cardboard pictures of your face.  That’s when you know you have really made it in life.  Something I think all of us should strive for.

How was work today honey?
It was great!
Did you get that promotion they promised you?
No, but my manager did hold up a big cardboard picture of my face at lunch.
Oh, that’s wonderful!  Congratulations honey.
Yeah, it was awesome!

Many of you have asked about editing commercial work with VSCO Film, and how it looks with images lit by strobe.  I busted these images out after I started using VSCO Film, and gave them new life with just a couple of clicks.  All three of these images were lit with strobe, so hopefully this gives you an idea of what is possible.  I think it works just as well with strobe as it does with natural light images.  If you are unfamiliar with VSCO Film, it is a film emulator that plugs into Lightroom or ACR and makes digital images look like film.  Not to mention, it is an incredibly fast alternative to Photoshop actions and other Lightroom presets.  It really is an amazing tool for photographers.  So far I am editing images 10 times faster than I was before, and I am getting better results.  Here is the VSCO Film review I wrote last week.

I used Kodak Portra 400, and Orange Skin Fix + on these images.  You can see a cool video tutorial and find out more about VSCO Film here.

Material Connection Disclosure

09
Nov

Bill Gates & Dustin Moskovitz for Forbes

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Celebrity, Editorial Work, Lighting Technique

Why are Bill Gates and Dustin Moskovitz, the richest and youngest billionaires in America, laughing?  Let’s just say my joke was so funny, someone bought it, and I no longer have the rights to tell it…  I have wanted to photograph Bill Gates for a long time, and my opportunity finally came around a couple of months ago when Forbes called.  Dustin, is one of the four co-founders of Facebook, and since he is 8 days younger than Mark Zuckerberg, he is the youngest billionaire in the world.  As you would expect, time was extremely limited for this shoot.  We were given one and a half hours to set up the studio shot, and then I would have the first 10 minutes of the interview, and the last 10 minutes of the interview to take pictures.  Immediately after the interview we had 3 minutes for hair and makeup and 7 minutes to photograph both Dustin and Bill.  It was a whirlwind, but I am really happy with how everything turned out, not to mention it was a pretty cool experience to sit in on a conversation with these two.  You can read the Forbes article here.

Here are a couple of shots I took after the shoot of the studio lighting setup.

For the interview image I used a Canon 5D Mark II with an on camera flash which I bounced off a wall to fill in with the natural light coming in from the back windows.  The studio setup was a bit more elaborate, and I used my Hasselblad H3DII-31 Camera with the Hasselblad H 80mm Lens for the portraits.  For lighting, I used two Profoto Giant 150 Silver Reflectors.  One as the key, and one for fill.  The Wescott 45” Umbrella was used to brighten up the right side of the background, and I used two Profoto 1×3 Softboxes as edge lights for the subjects.  A lonely Elinchrom Ranger head on an Elinchrom RX 1100 Watt Battery pack snuck it’s way in, poking out over the top of the seamless as a hair light.  Aside from the Ranger, the Profoto lights were powered by Profoto Acute 2400 watt power supplys, and one Profoto AcuteB2 600Ws AirS LiFe Power Pack.