Big thanks to Jane Sherman and Seattle Met for this fun shoot with Seattle Seahawks big DE Michael Bennett. I am a huge Seahawks fan (ok, who in Seattle isn’t right now…), so making a portrait of one of my favorite players was an exciting opportunity. Thanks also to Michael and Pele for letting us set up a studio in their home. Go Hawks!
Hello, Taylor here! Hot off the press with some new work coming out of the Keatley studio. Last month we were given the assignment by Jane Sherman at Seattle Met to photograph a portrait of Charissa Thompson. Charissa host’s Fox Sports Live and reports on celebrity news for Extra. Basically, she is talking to famous people on a daily basis, and after spending 10 minuets with her I could see why. Extremely charismatic and approachable. And although she is intimidatingly beautiful and a celebrity in her own right, she seamlessly fit right in with the entire crew. She’s the first one of Keatley’s subjects to ever call me before the shoot and offer to buy everyone coffee. I mean, come on!
Before the shoot Matthew Halverson and Jane Sherman, at Seattle Met, told us they wanted and iconic serious portrait, but with a sports twist. Going into the shoot we had what we felt were 10 strong ideas. After tinkering with lighting until it was perfected, John began to gravitate toward 2 of those concepts. The top image you see is exactly what we envisioned. Monochromatic, fun, sporty, but also has a tinge of seriousness. One thing John said while driving to the shoot stuck with me. He said that he wanted to create an image that she could use for the next 50 years. While only Charissa could be the judge of that, I think he did a bang up job. Hope you enjoy the outcome!
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.
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.
Over the past few months, I have had several assignments featuring everyday people facing big challenges. It’s a nice change of pace every once in a while, and I appreciate the opportunity to meet and work with people who have completely different stories than myself. It’s a humbling feeling to photograph someone in their 4 million dollar home one day, and the next day photographing someone out in the sticks who is really excited and impressed by my Hyundai rental car.
This portrait is of an illegal immigrant who has lived and worked in America for the past 20 years. There were no guarantees the subject would show up, which I guess is understandable considering the risks involved for her (being sent back to Mexico). I was told I could not photograph her face, only her shadow. However, after I met her and we talked for a while, she said she would let me photograph her from the back which is what I was hoping for.
I bought some small American flags the night before, and asked her if she would mind holding them. She said, “No, I don’t mind holding the flags. I love this country.”
Seattle Met / July 2010
Art Director: Benjamen Purvis
Economy got you down? Looking for a new career? Well, this man can help. David Boushey is one of the top stuntmen in the industry and the founder of the International Stunt School in Seattle. If you dream of a life in the movies and have no fear, David can teach you how to jump off buildings, set yourself on fire, punch someone in the face and all kinds of crazy stuff the well-known actors won’t do. In fact, the International Stunt School is thriving these days thanks to the bad economy. Lots of people are looking for a career change, and the film industry thrives when times are tough because everyone is looking for an escape. Enrollment is up this year, and David is in talks to create a reality show about the stunt school.
On set, David asked me, “What’s my motivation for this shot?”
I told him, “Once a week for just half an hour you have a regularly scheduled time for yourself. You always go to the same cafe, and you get the same drink and read the paper in your regular seat. You don’t talk to anyone, and you certainly don’t like people talking to you. While you are reading, you hear someone yelling. You try to ignore them, but they get louder and more frantic. It seems like they are yelling at you. You try to ignore them for as long as possible while your frustration and anger grows. Finally, you turn in the direction of the person screaming and snap off, “What the hell do you want!?”
I have started experimenting with video on some of my shoots for editorial clients recently, and this is a short I put together on how to throw a “picture punch”. So far I have really enjoyed working with video, and I hope to do more in the coming months. If you are reading this in a blog reader you may need to go to the John Keatley Blog to see the video. This was not my first lesson on how to throw a punch from one of my photo subjects, although my first lesson was about punching for real.
I have another short video in the video section of my website of David telling a story about almost getting chopped to bits while filming a movie at sea.
Here are some links to the camera equipment I used for this shot.
I have really been looking forward to posting these portraits and videos. I had so much fun working on this assignment with Vince, and as an added bonus, the story is one of those rare page turners that doesn’t come around all that often in a magazine. For me, it’s right up there with the Wired article on Dan Kaminsky which I worked on last year. Here is the intro for Vince’s story, which is in the July 2009 issue of Seattle Metropolitan. The link to the entire article is further down.
“Billed as the Second Coming of Johnny Cash, a teenager from Federal Way wowed rock stars, morning news shows, Ellen DeGeneres, and the Cash estate. There’s just one problem: Vince Mira is done parroting the Man in Black.
There was a moment in September 2007 at the Cash Cabin, the studio built by the late Johnny Cash outside Nashville, when everyone froze. In the room were musicians intimately tied to Cash and his music—his son John Carter Cash, his bass player Dave Roe, and Jamie Hartford, who played guitar in the Cash biopic Walk the Line. Vince Mira, the Federal Way teen flown in for the recording session, had just crooned the last line of his “Cold Hearted Woman,” a twangy harangue against a cruelly apathetic succubus (“…as far as you are isn’t far enough for me”), leaving his audience speechless.
Finally, Hartford, who’d been scribbling music dictation in a notebook, dropped his pen and paper and turned to the producer. “John. Carter. Cash. Does that freak you out?” John looked up, “Yeah, that freaks me out.”
John Carter had just heard a familiar voice pour from the mouth of the teenager. The producer had agreed to record an album with the talented teen—already making a name for himself with Cash covers—on the condition that “We don’t just record a bunch of my dad’s old songs.” Now, here was Mira performing an original, but his voice, a haunted baritone, was spot-on Johnny Cash.”
– James Ross Gardner. Read the entire article (here).
Before this assignment, I had heard stories over the past couple of years about Vince Mira, the young teenager who was discovered playing Johnny Cash songs on the street. I had seen the YouTube videos from Ellen (here) Good Morning America and a few others, but I didn’t become a fan until I heard him perform live. Wow. This guy is talented. He is the real deal. There are a lot of people out there with a gimick, or who sound like someone famous. But Vince has huge talent, and he can stand on his own. His similarities to Johnny Cash provided him with a great start, but it’s exciting to see him head out on his own now and show people what he’s got.
The first video above is Vince Mira performing an original song, “I’m a Goin Back Home”. The second video is a Johnny Cash song, “Folsom Prison Blues”. Both were performed at the gum wall in Post Alley, Seattle. I asked Vince to play one of his songs so I could film it, and it didn’t take long at all for a crowd to gather. After he finished the first song, someone yelled out, “Play ‘Folsom Prison Blues’!”. Even though he is trying to get away from that, he didn’t seem to mind.
Vince has an album out now, called “The Cash Cabin Sessions“. It was recorded at the Cash Cabin Studio by John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s son. It’s a great album. You can also catch Vince every Tuesday night at the Can Can in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. For now at least. I don’t know how much longer he will be playing there, as he has already toured with Pearl Jam, and played on some pretty big stages.