Tea Party With Keli Carender

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Blog

Keli Carender is credited with starting the Tea Party Movement.  Her online alias is Liberty Belle.  Photo by John Keatley.

Keli Carender goes by Liberty Belle on her blog “Redistributing Knowledge“, and she is credited with starting the Tea Party Movement.  She burst onto the political scene last summer while attending a town hall meeting hosted by Democratic Washington Congressman Norm Dicks.  She made a speech and waved a $20 bill in the air daring Norm to take it from her and use it as a down payment for health care reform.  I wasn’t familiar with the Tea Party Movement when I got this assignment, but I thought it would be awesome to shoot Keli in a way that would look like an old painting from the Revolutionary War era.  Thankfully my art director, Benjamen Purvis at Seattle Met loved the idea, and I was also able to get Keli to go for it too.  The hardest part was tracking down a period dress from the right era.  I should also mention Keli is actually a member of a comedy improv group called The Beta Society.  That obviously was a big help when asking her to dress up in costume since she is used to this sort of thing.  I don’t expect it would be very easy to get Nanci Pelosi or John McCain to wear a costume for a shoot.  Although that would be amazing!

*UPDATE* – This image was published in the 2011 Communication Arts Photography Annual competition.

Equipment Used:
Hasselblad H3DII-31 w/ 80mm lens
Profoto Giant 150 Silver Reflector
Wescott 45” Umbrella


The shot came out great John – love the concept!

posted by Krystal Kerr on 03.31.10 at 11:22 am

That’s classy! You really achieved the mood from the era. Lighting is perfect.

posted by Marcin Retecki on 03.31.10 at 11:34 am

Love it. And that’s a pretty big ring flash you’re wearing, too…

posted by David Hobby on 03.31.10 at 12:21 pm

awesome photo!

posted by Nathan Ciurzynski on 03.31.10 at 12:36 pm

Love the lighting (and the tattoo!) And I fully support that tea party :)

posted by Michelle on 03.31.10 at 12:43 pm

Awesome portrait! Very fitting composition for this illustrious lady too. Love your creativity with this shoot.

posted by John A. on 03.31.10 at 5:41 pm

Excellent result. Super collaboration. Go Keli!

posted by Bob K on 03.31.10 at 7:45 pm

Fantastic portrait, awful organiztion (Tea Party).
Their members spew hatred, bigotry, and hypocrisy. They are of the same ilk as the “birthers” and pretty much anyone that watches FOX news as “real” news. Obama, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with their anachronistic view of Government and taxes is persecuted for being “un-american” and “un-patriotic”.
It gives me a new perspective now knowing the founder was/is in a comedy group because the “movement” is a complete joke.
I’m sure you’ll get a ton of website hits for having the tea party tags and I’m sure I’ll get blasted by all those people for expressing my opinion. But like I said, fantastic portrait.

posted by damien on 04.01.10 at 10:21 am

Just wanted to apologize for getting political. I’m not attacking you the photographer in any way! Just wanted to make that clear. Love your work.

posted by damien on 04.01.10 at 10:24 am

Very cool shot. What is the advantage of that particular camera?
(Hasselblad) Because it looks awesome…

posted by K Moran on 04.01.10 at 12:33 pm

I love the portrait and the execution was fantastic. I don’t want to turn the comments political but since it has already been done, I won’t worry. It’s hate to see people stereotype “Tea Party” patriots. I love the “Tea Party” organization and have never “spewed hatred, bigotry or hypocrisy” at anyone. I will not persecute anyone for being against my views but I don’t agree with anyone who says the organization is a “joke”. I respect damien for sharing his opinion and I am glad to live in a country where he is free to share his opinion and I am sure the rest of the patriots feel the same. Please don’t judge a whole group on the actions of a few.

posted by Josh on 04.01.10 at 12:58 pm

Instead of “It’s hate to see” I meant to say “I hate to see”. Sorry for the error.

posted by Josh on 04.01.10 at 12:59 pm

A beautiful portrait for such an ugly movement.

posted by Ash on 04.01.10 at 1:15 pm

I really love your work and love that you share the equipment that you used for the shoot!

posted by Tamara on 04.02.10 at 8:20 am

I seem to remember a tweet from David Hobby saying you were on your way to photographing every high-end conservative figure out there (!).
Great portrait, great light. And unfortunately, I have a feeling you might just’ve made it into the history books – I say unfortunately because as a neighbour to the north the Tea Party is one of the scariest things I’ve seen from the US in a long time.
But really John, it doesn’t get any more iconic than this. Beautiful job.

posted by Patrick La Roque on 04.07.10 at 5:43 am

enjoyed this blog!

posted by teapartylatest on 04.10.10 at 3:22 am

[...] War Era, and I worked with art director Benjamen Purvis at Seattle Met to make it happen.  I also wrote about Keli and this shoot in a previous blog post if you want to find out [...]

[...] War Era, and I worked with art director Benjamen Purvis at Seattle Met to make it happen.  I also wrote about Keli and this shoot in a previous blog post if you want to find out [...]

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