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.

05
Dec

Merry Christmas From Up In A Tree

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Keatley Christmas, Personal Work

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope you are able to look back at 2011 with fond memories, and look forward to 2012 with excitement and anticipation.  That’s how I am feeling right now.

Here is the highly-anticipated 2011 Annual Keatley Christmas picture.  It feels so good to have this one in the can, and to finally get to look at it.  (You can click on the image to get a closer look.)  This year, we are living the good life, up in a tree, because that’s how we roll in the great Pacific Northwest.  Sorry to break it to you, but red flannel is the new cheesy Christmas sweater.  I know, just when you finally got around to planning that sweater party.  It’s not too late to trade ‘em in for flannel and an axe though.

As you may remember, in last years picture, we were with our yeti in the middle of Fargo.  (You can see all three of our Christmas pictures by filtering the posts with the ‘Keatley Christmas’ category.)  It went over pretty well, and because of that, I put a lot of pressure on myself to repeat or even outdo it this year.  Long story short, I over thought the whole idea and couldn’t come up with anything for about 5 months.  This has been a year of great learning and growth for me as a photographer.  I have had some things I had to really wrestle and struggle with for a good part of the year, but in the end, I feel like I came out with a much better perspective and idea of who I want to be as an artist.  It was only after I made some of these realizations that I was able to come up with this idea.  It was a difficult, but worthwhile process, and  I love how this picture turned out.  I think it’s a lot of fun to look at, and something I am really proud of.  Our dog, Oliver, on the other hand, well, he is just glad to be out of the tree.  In hindsight, it is also probably really fortunate that we did the yeti last year, because I can just about guarantee Isla would have passed out from screaming if we tried that this year.  She was so young last year, she didn’t have a clue what was going on.

If lumberjacks and outdoor types sound familiar to some of you, it is probably because of my short promo video, The Woodsman, shot earlier this year.  You can watch it at the bottom of this post.  It is worth pointing out, that lumberjacks and woodsmen are not necessarily a tight knit group, but they have been known to fraternize from time to time.  All that to say, for me, I guess you could call 2011 the year of the lumberjack / woodsman.  Who knows what 2012 will bring.  Stay tuned.

It’s been really fun to hear from so many of you about how you look forward to our annual Christmas picture.  It means a lot to us, and it makes it that much more enjoyable for me to work on knowing how much some of you enjoy these.  I am already looking forward to creating next years.  Thanks for taking a look, and I hope you will like, tweet, or share this if you enjoy it.

Photo Retouching by Gigantic Squid.

16
Nov

VSCO Film Review

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Review

I was recently contacted by a new company called Visual Supply Co about using a film emulator they have been developing for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw called VSCO Film.  At first I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try.

I am fortunate to work with a really incredible retoucher on most of my commercial work, but I still have thousands of personal images as well as some smaller jobs which I try to edit on my own.  Problem is, I don’t really like Lightroom, or Photoshop actions, so more times than not, my RAW images just sit in a folder.  Every once in a while I manage to process a few personal images, but it usually takes a long time, and I never really get them looking like I want.

Within the first 10 seconds of using VSCO Film, I was hooked.  It is so fast, produces the results I have always wanted, but didn’t know how to achieve, and it actually makes image editing fun again.  Now I am going through all of my personal images at the speed of light, and everything looks fantastic in 1 or 2 clicks.  I also used VSCO Film on a small job I shot this week, and it took me 10 minutes to do 23 images.  It would have easily taken me 90 minutes had I done it the old way.

Anyway, enough of that.  I don’t like sales pitches, and I don’t want to annoy you with one either.  I am willing to endorse this because I actually use it and really really like it.  Not everyone will feel the same, but I think many of you will.  I have already had several people ask me about how it works with strobe photography, so in my next blog post, I will show some images lit with strobe that I edited with VSCO Film.  I edited the following images with VSCO Film in just a couple of clicks per image.  Here is the link if you are interested in buying, or just finding out more.  Enjoy.

UPDATE:  8/22/12 – Here is another post I just wrote with some new images I edited with VSCO Film 02.

Material Connection Disclosure

02
Oct

John McKay Seattle Weekly Cover

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

John McKay on the cover of Seattle Weekly. Photo by John Keatley.

This is the cover of the current Seattle Weekly featuring my portrait of John McKay.  We had some difficulties scheduling this one, and it went right down to the wire.  Thankfully we were able to get some time with John the night before the issue went to press.  I really like this picture.  It is a simple portrait, but there is so much about it that makes it fun to look at.  His eyes are bright and focused, as if he is looking right at you.  One eyebrow is slightly raised giving him a a strong sense of confidence, and maybe even a bit of mischeviousness.  The subtle tilt of his head, and parted lips seem like he is either about to say something profound, or even start laughing.  I never get tired of photographing people, and I love that I learn something new about expression, emotion, trust, interaction, light, and timing every time I take a picture.  As much as I always feel the need to try something different, I don’t think I will ever get tired of photographing faces, because there is always something new to see and learn.

You can read the corresponding story on the Seattle Weekly website here.

01
Oct

New Liberia Images

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

I added a couple of new images to the Liberia section of my website.  Check em out.

21
Sep

I’ve Been Framed

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Press & Interviews, Videos

Thank you to everyone who wrote in and asked the fine folks at FRAMED to do an interview with me. It was very flattering to get the call to do this, and fun to spend the day with Melissa and the whole crew. I am blown away by what a great job they did with this video from top to bottom. They actually made me look somewhat respectable, which is no small feat.  In about 15 years, when Isla is an unruly teenager, I am going to make her watch this video, and then I will look her in the eyes, and say, “Respect”.

I know that 36 minute ticker may scare some of you, but I got several comments and emails today from people who said they didn’t plan on watching more than three minutes, and ended up getting sucked in and watched the whole thing.  Hopefully that is incentive enough to press play.  Even if you only have time for three minutes.  There are no axes, or wood carving in this video, but there are a couple of pretty funny moments with a (Spoiler Alert!) karate master.  Which reminds me, I am really excited you get to meet some of my creative companions who pop up in the video as well.

As always, thanks so much for your interest and support of my work.  It means a lot to me, and thank you again to FRAMED!

06
Jul

2011 Px3 Photography Competition

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Awards

2011 Px3 photography competition winning images by John Keatley.

It’s an embarrassment of riches!  I am especially proud of the work I created over this past year, and it is an honor to have that work recognized by the international photography competition ”Prix de la Photographie, Paris” (Px3).  This is my first time in the international game, and all 5 of the images above were selected as well as 2 honorable mentions.

From left to right:

Luke Burbank, host of Too Beautiful To Live for Seattle Met.  Art Director Benjamen Purvis.
Dennis Haysbert for Seattle Met.
Keli Carender, founder of the Tea Party political movement for Seattle Met.  Art Director Benjamen Purvis.
Plants Vs. Zombies / John Vechey, co-founder of Pop Cap Games for Inc.  Photo Editor Monique Perreault.
The Keatley Family 2010.  Personal work / self promotion.

27
Jun

Giant Cat Face

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS

Photographer John Keatley helping his subject feel more comfortable with a giant cat face.

I get a lot of questions about how I work with my subjects to make them feel comfortable.  A photographer’s interactions and technique with his or her subject(s) is one of the most important aspects of a photo shoot, next to being prepared.  I have a lot of thoughts and ideas on this subject, but one idea I thought I would share today is a giant cat face.  I don’t think I need to explain why this works, but here is how you can try it out on your own.  Place a giant cat face over your left shoulder so it is facing your subject.  This will generally help your subject feel more at ease.  If they hate cats or giant cat faces, then they may not feel so comfortable, but at least you will still get some interesting expressions.  It’s a win win for you.

Here is how you can approach it.

Subject: “What’s with the giant cat face?”

Photographer: “What giant cat face?” (It’s important to pretend you don’t know what they are talking about.)

Subject: “The one right behind you, staring at me.”

Photographer: Slowly look around the room, and then discover the giant cat face.  ”Oh, that giant cat face.  Don’t worry about him.  Dante is here to help you feel more comfortable.”

There you have it.  Now you know one way to make your subject more comfortable.  Use a giant cat face.

31
May

Now Represented by Snyder/Redux

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under News

I am pleased to announce I am now represented by Snyder/Redux, a new agency in New York.  They have a great roster of talented photographers, and the best reps and staff you could imagine.  In a few days I will be heading out to New York for the agency launch party as well as a few other events.  The company website is snyderredux.com.  I am looking forward to the new opportunities which will come from this relationship.  Here we go!

31
Mar

Adorama TV: Video Interview with John Keatley

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog, Press & Interviews

Here is my new video interview on Adorama TV, hosted by Mark Wallace.  I was really impressed with Mark’s questions, and I think the video turned out great.   Some of the questions include the gear I use, what it was like photographing Annie Leibovitz, how I approach photographing celebrities who are aligned with hot issues, and much more.  I am going to keep this pretty short because of the video, and there  isn’t really anything I need to add.  Thanks for taking a look, I hope you enjoy it.