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18
Oct

iPhone Portraits

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John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Kindra
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Kindra
Keatley iPhone Portrait of John
Keatley iPhone Portrait of John
John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Andrew
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Andrew
John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Brendan
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Brendan
John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Etta
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Etta
John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Theo
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Theo
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Rameet
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Rameet
John Keatley iPhone Portrait of Chris
Keatley iPhone Portrait of Chris

For the first part of 2016, my iPhone camera lens had a crack in it.  This was a huge bummer, because it prevented me from creating iPhone Portraits.  It was the first time in about 3 years I wasn’t creating spontaneous portraits with my iPhone.  As someone who usually doesn’t create an image without some sort of production, creating a spontaneous portrait on a whim is an incredibly satisfying and exciting experience.

Not having a fully functioning iPhone camera for several months was a pivotal time for this project.  A little part of me was feeling burnt out and tired.  In the first three years, I had photographed over 300 iPhone portraits of family, friends, and strangers.  I wondered if I would ever regain my excitement for this project if I stopped pushing myself to create.

Eventually in the Spring, I did get a new iPhone.  The 6s.  As soon as I picked up the phone, I couldn’t wait to make an iPhone Portrait.  What I began to realize is the time away from this project gave me new energy and excitement to explore and push myself further.  My pace has slowed a bit for several reasons, but my excitement and focus has only grown.  The above images are a handful of the recent portraits I have made this Summer and Fall.  I will continue to share more about this project as I move forward.

You can see a larger gallery of my iPhone Portraits here, and you can also follow @johnkeatley on Instagram to see the full project unfold.

22
Feb

Zachariah’s Portrait

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While in Liberia last month, I met a wonderful man named Prince Kondoh.  He goes by Pastor Kondoh, and he has dedicated his life to serving those who can not help themselves, and teaching the children in his community.  During the recent civil war in Liberia, he was basically a prisoner in his own home for 14 years.  Not able to go outside without risking his life.  Now that peace has returned to Liberia, he works harder than anyone I have ever met with the hope he might be able to make up for lost time.  No minute is wasted, and no challenge is too great.  He has started multiple schools in Buchanan, one of which is called Chariot Daycare and Elementary School.  We were asked to visit the school one morning before we headed out to one of the villages where the wells were being built.  Because of the economic situation, there are many children who’s families are not able to pay for school, and I was asked if I would take a few pictures of the students needing sponsorship.

I was thinking I would take a few snapshots and it would be a quick thing.  But then I realized I didn’t pack all of these lights half way around the world to take snapshots, even if this wasn’t in the plan.  So all of the gear was taken out of the truck and we set up the lights.  As I was finessing the lights into place, something caused me to slow down and look around.  I wasn’t thrilled with how the portrait was turning out, and then I had a realization.  The natural light was near perfect.  I struggled with this idea for a few minutes, trying to convince myself it wasn’t possible.  Natural light never does exactly what I am looking for, especially in the middle of the day.  The picture won’t turn out.  But finally after a few tests, I decided to shoot this one with just my Hasselblad and nothing else.  It was very freeing to say the least.  For some reason, I had it in my head that it wasn’t possible to shoot a picture in my style with only natural light.  Natural light never seems to have the pop to it I am looking for, or if it does, the light isn’t at the right angle etc.  Most of the time natural light isn’t what I am looking for, but this instance proved to be an exception.  It wasn’t until we were back at our house that night, and I loaded the images on my laptop, that I was hit in the face with the detail and clarity of this portrait and the others I shot that day.  It was a great lesson for me to be aware of what is going on and to be open to improvising or even deviating from a plan.

But enough about lighting for now.  If you can’t tell already, this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.  His name is Zachariah and he is a student at Chariot.  I could stare at this image for hours and continue to find new things I like about it.  Zachariah is one of the students in need of sponsorship, and I figured the very least I could do was provide a link to sponsor him or any of the other children who need support.  The cost is $15 a month and that covers clothing and food, as well as education.  If you decide you would like to sponsor Zachariah, please write me after you have done so, and I will send you a free print.

The Child Sponsorship Program is run by the Well Done Organization which is the organization building the wells in Liberia that my client MiiR Bottles partnered with.  I can personally vouch for the people working for WDO, as well as the organization itself.  Some really great things are happening in Liberia with the support of WDO.

Here are the links one more time.  I know not everyone is able to help in this way, but hopefully this might plant the seed in just one person who has the means and desire to help.
Info About The Child Sponsorship Program

Children Still In Need Of Sponsorship

It feels good to start posting images from this trip, and as promised there will be more in the days and weeks to come.  My developer just showed me round one of the revisions to my website tonight, and once it is finished I will have a new portfolio section with pictures from Liberia.

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