Meet CHVRCHES. Pronounced Churches. I got the chance to work with photo editor Deborah Dragon at Rolling Stone a couple of weeks back to photograph this up and coming Scottish synth-pop trio. My photo is out in the current issue of Rolling Stone. The one with Miley Cyrus licking herself on the cover. Yeah, that one. The shoot took place in Minneapolis at the legendary First Avenue Theatre. In the mens bathroom… The CHVRCHES debut album is out today, and it’s pretty awesome. Here is the Amazon link to the album: CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe Enjoy!
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Editorial Work
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work
I am a huge fan of Jeff Garlin. I really liked his work going into this shoot for NY Times Magazine, and I am an even bigger fan after working with him.
My friend Sara Coates was recently cast in a movie called Laggies. They just wrapped up filming, so it should be in theaters next year. On one of the first days of filming, Sara sent me a text message with a picture of Jeff. ”I’m acting with Jeff!” I immediately thought to myself, “I would love to photograph Jeff Garlin!!!” That was a Sunday night. The next day, I got a call from my rep Julia, and she asked me if I wanted to shoot an assignment for New York Times Magazine. The answer to that question is always yes, and then she said, “It’s actor Jeff Garlin.” No joke!
This is actually the 3rd time this has happened to me in my career. Anthony Hopkins, Annie Leibovitz, and now Jeff. So naturally I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking, and “putting it out there”. I always tell my daughter, you’ll never know unless you ask. And now, she has learned the benefits of asking for stickers at any store we walk into. Who knew Chevron had stickers. But that’s another story. I can’t take all of the credit for many of the great opportunities I have had come my way, but this is the type of job where you have to make things happen, and tell people what you want. Even if it’s just declaring to your wife on a Sunday night while watching Netflix that you want to photograph one of your favorite actors.
Jeff walked into the shoot with a Leica around his neck, and I knew right away this was going to be fun. Thank you New York Times Magazine, Gabrielle Plucknette, Clinton Cargill for a wonderful assignment, and thank you Jeff for bringing the magic!
Here is the photo and interview of Jeff Garlin that ran the NY Times Magazine. I was thrilled they chose my favorite image.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News
Click the image above to watch the full interview.
It’s those three words every mother dreams of hearing. Well, maybe not in all cases, but this time its pretty exciting. And I’ll admit, I am still pretty giddy about this opportunity. Thursday of last week, I was featured on New Day NW (King 5), along with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, and designer Jonathan Adler. Thank you to Su Ring, Meeghan Black, and Mark Klebeck for your amazing support and interest in what I do!
Thanks for watching everyone! Hopefully next time I am on TV, I will be talking about my new iPhone Portrait book. :)
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work
A few months ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I accidentally started a new photography project when I snapped a portrait of a friend with my iPhone. Since that first iPhone portrait, I have photographed over 100 people with my iPhone, and my excitement for this project continues to grow (you can see some of the images on my Instagram stream as well as under the Projects section). I was in Hollywood for work last month, and I photographed my cousin’s roommate Jordan while staying with them. Jordan wrote a short story about his experience of being photographed, and I am so excited to share it with you. Please enjoy, and thank you Jordan!
On Having My Picture Taken
There are certain people that like having their picture taken. They enjoy it because they are good at it. They remember to smile and lift chins so they don’t look fat. They can look happy even if they are not happy. It is comfortable for them to hang arms over the shoulder of the person they are standing next to. When people tell them to scoot closer, they do it happily.
I am not one of those people.
Not that I don’t want to be one of those photogenic people, it just doesn’t come easy to me.
I come home tired from my job and commute. There’s an air mattress in the living room, which seems vaguely familiar. I am struggling to remember something that my roommate Lonnie had told me about–something about someone staying with us for a little while. It is all fairly hazy–I dunno, I’ve been drinking too much lately.
I pour myself some cold coffee left over from the morning pot. I look through the kitchen window and see Lonnie with another guy, presumably our houseguest, and our downstairs neighbor. They’re all talking at the picnic table in the backyard.
I go out and meet John. John is Lonnie’s cousin. Like Lonnie, John is a photographer. I shake John’s hand. I’m trying to be friendly. Lonnie asks me how work was. I growl that it was rough and excuse myself to do some chores. I don’t totally nail being friendly.
Then I’m sorting through a bunch of dirty clothes, trying to break out of my 9-5 work headspace, and getting ready for the writing I’m going to do this night.
Lonnie knocks on my door. This sort of uncommon at our place.
Lonnie asks,”Hey man, would you mind having your picture taken?”
I open the door. Lonnie explains, “My cousin John is a photographer and he really wants to take your picture.”
I say yes, because only celebrities can say no to having a picture taken of them. And also, no one has ever seen me and said, “I want to take your picture.” I can’t quite escape the mixture of compliment and embarrassment that goes along with this.
John is enthusiastic. He has already shot Lonnie earlier in the afternoon. He tells me about this iPhone portrait project he’s been working on as he looks at my shirts–not the dirty ones on the floor, but the few that are still hanging in my closet. I push for a red Pendleton camp shirt, but he isn’t interested in it. He knows what he’s looking for. So I put on an old 70s polyester flannel, which I like, but it is missing the third and fourth buttons from the top. I am slightly worried about this, but it doesn’t seem to bother John.
I follow John around the apartment as he looks for the lighting he needs, which is in Lonnie’s room. I sit on Lonnie’s army cot. John and I talk as he holds his iPhone with both hands. He stares intently at the screen. He puts the phone close to my face, about twelve inches, maybe sixteen inches away from me.
It’s got to be a delicate thing, the iPhone portrait. Like everybody else, I’ll snap off some pictures with mine, and occasionally they’ll look alright, but it’s just a phone, and I don’t care too much. But John’s really working here, looking for a specific thing to show up on his screen. He gives directions like: shoot your chin forward, or look at the top of the phone, or look off to one side. I move my head a centimeter one way, then the other. Later, we move around the room, chasing the light.
John takes, I dunno, less than a thousand photos but more than five hundred. They’re all about the same–I’m not doing much here, just sitting and doing what he asks me to do. At some point, he tells me to look concerned. And my eyebrows squeeze together a bit. Later, he asks me to pretend like I’m about to say something.
At some point, I try to smile, because it’s a photo, and you’re supposed to smile in photos. John immediately tells me to cut it out.
Eventually, John decrees that we’ve gotten it and he says thank you and I say thank you and that’s it.
Later that evening, he shows Lonnie and I some of the shots he had taken that afternoon.
We see the photos from Lonnie’s shoot. They are great, unmistakably great. Lonnie looks earnest and charming, like he might be on his way to sail to Patagonia or propose to his girlfriend.
We look at my photos and they’re the best photos I’ve ever seen of myself. The lighting is warm, my shirt looks better than it looks in real life, all of what anyone could ask for in a portrait, anything you could possibly want. But I look very unhappy in these pictures. My looks range from concerned to sad to angry. I look like someone I do not want to be. John, in the few minutes I had known him, had keyed in on this emotional thing inside me. This was me on a Monday after work.
I thought about this a lot. Weeks later I quit my job, not exactly because of this, but certainly because life’s too short to be a miserable Monday-hating-sonofabitch.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work
A little over a year ago I got an assignment for VIV Magazine to photograph a service dog named Radar and his boy who has autism. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think much about the images after I wrapped up the assignment. Several months later, I revisited the images with fresh eyes, and 2 of the portraits of Radar jumped out at me immediately. There was something very human like about his expressions and how he was coming across in the portraits. It looked like I photographed him in the middle of a conversation. This got me thinking about some new ideas, and lately I have found myself photographing dogs in a way that makes them seem more human than animal. It’s been a fun process, and today I thought I would share one of my recent favorites from my adventures with dogs. Say hello to Wallace the French Bulldog. How perfect is that name. Wallace. I love it.
On a personal side note, as a kid, I really wanted to be a dog trainer. I have always loved dog’s, but at some point in my life, I liked them so much I wanted to work with them for a career. Looking back now, I suppose it is only fitting that I now find myself working with dogs, and thoroughly enjoying it. And if you ever find yourself at our studio, ask me about the silly tricks Oliver, our small Pomeranian can do.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News
And that’s pretty much what I do on a typical day. It’s a good life, with very few complications really.
So there is this new app called Instagram for mobile phones. Seeing as I do not consider myself an “early adopter” it took me some time to check it out, much less install it on my phone. Needless to say, it is pretty cool, and I have enjoyed using it this past week. I never do anything unless I am all in, so it is safe to say, you can follow me on Instagram and expect a steady stream of photos from my adventures with a camera. There are a lot of funny moments that happen behind the scenes, so that is what I am going to be focusing on with this outlet. It will be a different view into my world from what I have been showing on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter etc.
You can find and follow me @johnkeatley or www.instagram.com/johnkeatley
Thanks so much, I’ll see ya out there.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work
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.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Celebrity, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets, Travel
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel
This is the fourth post in this series. You can see all of the posts by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.
I love and hate these pictures. From a photographic standpoint, I am really proud of this series of images taken at the PREDA Foundation. On the other hand, I hate that these pictures need to exist, and that this is a story which needs to be told. It seems impossible to ignore the devastation and loss of innocence these images also represent. But fortunately I do see hope in these images as well. I believe we were created with the capacity to choose great evil, but thankfully we also have the choice to love, which I believe has the power to overcome all else. At PREDA, I met some wonderful people who have made the decision to simply love, and care for the people who have been exploited and experienced so much devastation.
I arrived at PREDA with only 2 hours to work with before Becker and I had to take a taxi to Angeles City. It was a bit hectic when we arrived, and we didn’t have much back story or time to prep for this stop. After meeting Alex, the program director, I asked if I could take a tour and look around. The tour started in the administrative offices, followed by the kitchen and then some classrooms. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for or interested in. Eventually, we went down a hall and into a large room filled with colorful metal bunk beds and bright blankets. Half of the room was lined with large windows, streaming in midday light. As I took it all in, I asked my tour guide what the room was, and she told me it was the girls dorm, for children 9 and under. To clarify, these are children age 9 and younger who have been sexually abused both commercially and domestically. Unbelievable.
I started the day expecting to make portraits, but this room was speaking to me, and drawing me in. I didn’t have my camera with me, and after looking around for a moment, I burst out of the room, and down the hall to get my camera and tripod. I think my guide thought I was a bit strange, leaving the way I did with no explanation, but I couldn’t move fast enough. I was in a zone. I spent maybe the next hour shooting these images of the girls dorm, although it felt like I was only there about 5 minutes.
Primal therapy room.
Father Shay, founder of PREDA Foundation in Olongapo, Philippines, on Subic Bay. Father Shay has dedicated his life to fighting for children who have been sexually exploited both commercially and domestically. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize 3 times, and I sincerely hope he is recognized by one in the near future.
I just can’t decide between these two portraits. It is usually pretty easy for me to make these kind of decisions, but there is something about each of these that I can’t get past. It doesn’t help that everyone else I have asked have said both as well. What do you think?
Father Shay’s desk. Nearly 40 years of hard work has happened here. I can’t even imagine the phone calls, letters, and meetings that have taken place here over the years.
PREDA Foundation is a service provider for sexually exploited children in Subic Bay, Philippines, which infamous as a destination for sex tourism. From their website:
“In 1974, with Filipino helpers, Fr. Shay Cullen established the PREDA organization (Peoples’ Recovery Empowerment and Development Assistance Inc.) to give shelter and protection and recovery to victims of abuse and more importantly to change this unjust situation in society that abandons children and criminalizes them and prostitutes them or allows them to be abused without getting help and justice.”
PREDA provides many crucial services to the children, including residential care homes organized by age – one for girls as young as 9 years and under.
Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel
Last month I wrote about an upcoming assignment in the Philippines for an organization called Arts Aftercare. Here is a link to the post if you are interested in the backstory, but basically I was working with the story of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and the work people are doing to help survivors. I was gone for 10 days in the beginning of March, and I got back to the States a few weeks ago. After taking some time to rest, and reflect on the trip and what I saw, I finally feel like I am at a point now where I have processed enough of the trip, and I can share my thoughts and more importantly, my pictures. I feel like this project makes the most sense when split up into 4 or 5 different stories. The first part of the story is arriving in Manila and getting somewhat acclimated to my surroundings.
I have never had to think so much about an assignment as I did on this trip. There are so many variables to consider, which I have never had to think about on past assignments. One of the things I found myself thinking about a lot on this trip was journalistic integrity. Thankfully I was traveling and working with my close friend, and filmmaker Eric Becker who I learned so much from. It would have been a totally different experience for me if I didn’t have him there for support, and just overall great companionship. When I was in Liberia last year, I took pictures of anyone, because everyone in the entire town I was in, was effected in one way or another by the lack of clean drinking water. It was something that had a broad reach, and just about any person, place or thing seemed relevant to the story. In the Philippines, I was trying to tell a story about sexual slavery. Although prostitution seemed to be everywhere I turned, it is not so easy to create a visual story without being painstakingly careful. For example, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort when we visited Angels City. Just in the short time I spent in the lobby during a 24 hour period, I saw 20 or so men bring back, or meet prostitutes in the lobby. Everyone knows what is going on, but at the same time, seeing a 65 year old American man and a 20 year old Filipino girl walking to a hotel room is not proof of what is going on. Sometimes the age difference was not so great, and it certainly isn’t fair to assume every white guy and Filipino girl are in anything other than a serious relationship. Being a portrait photographer, I wanted to photograph so many different people, but I knew I needed to be careful what I was implying by including someones portrait or picture in a series like this. I didn’t photograph the bellhop at the hotel I was staying at and say he is somehow a part of the story, anymore than I would want someone photographing me in the Philippines and saying I was somehow involved. There is actually a lot of human trafficking that happens in Seattle. Seattle is a major player in human trafficking unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean you can photograph anyone in Seattle and say they are part of the story. Some of you may be thinking what I am saying seems pretty obvious, but it was new for me, and took a lot of thought to work through.
With all of that being said, these images are from our travels to Manila from Seattle, as well as wandering around and exploring Manila after we first arrived. Which I might add, we didn’t have much time to explore. None of these images are linked to or are intended to be linked to prostitution or human trafficking, but they help set the stage for where I was in the Philippines, and what my surroundings were like.
I am really excited to share more from this trip in the coming days and dive into the images I am most excited about. As always, thanks for your interest!
On another note, all of these images were edited with VSCO Film which is an amazing image editing tool for Lightroom, Aperture, and Camera RAW. It has totally sped up my workflow, improved my images, and is one of my favorite tools as a photographer. Check it out for yourself here. I also wrote a couple of reviews here and here with processed images if you want to find out more.