Arriving In Manila

Posted by / Filed under Travel, Personal Work

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.


New Liberia Images

Posted by / Filed under Personal Work

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


Liberia Reveal

Posted by / Filed under Blog

My website updates are finished, and I am pleased to announce I have a new Liberia gallery in the Selected Work section of the website.  If you subscribe to this blog in a reader you may have see some strange posts come through during the update, but that has been fixed and everything should be back to normal now.  The current selection of images is basically round one as I will be adding more images in a few weeks.  I feel really good about this first edit.  Take a look and let me know what you think.  I hope you like them.


AP25 Party

Posted by / Filed under Awards

Plane Wing photo by John Keatley

AP25 Party at the Angel Orensanz Foundation.  Photo by John Keatley.

Winning AP25 Photographs at the AP25 party.

John and Jeanne Graves at the AP25 party.

AP25 Ice Sculpture

Well, it’s back to work now after a fun few days in New York.  It was really nice to be there without camera gear or a portfolio to lug around, even though I still had a full schedule.  I went to Adhesive on Wednesday and the AP25 Party the next night.  It was fun to see see friends, as well as meet some new people.  Some of the photographers I met for the first time included Ben Baker, Rudy Archuleta, and Joey L.  I also had the chance to catch up with Nick Onken for lunch.  First time I had Pho, which was very good by the way. 

I wasn’t able to get a copy of the AP25 book (hopefully soon), but there is some excellent photography in there.  I would recommend buying a copy when you get the chance.

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Work And Play In Mexico

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Heading out the door to photograph author Richard Kelley for his new book Deathstroke, I had no idea that I would be kicking it with him on the coast of Mexico just a few weeks later.  Networking, and asking questions have served me well during my young career, and this was the crown jewel of examples.  During the photo shoot with Richard, it came up that he has an incredible home called The Sandcastle, in Ixtapa Mexico that he spent over 10 years building.  As I was asking questions, it turned out that Richard needed photography of his house in Mexico for some upcoming projects and articles, and he asked if I would be interested in photographing it. Yes. No need to really think about that one.  

I spent 5 days in June photographing the Sandcastle and relaxing.  I mean working.  I have never experienced a place as amazing as this one.  Most people never get an experience like this, and I am truly grateful for it.  But I am even more grateful, because this winter I was able to go back with my wife and family for a week of sunshine while it was raining in Seattle.  

There is no front door to the house.  Just a spiral staircase that winds up to the pool deck, passing several other rooms along the way.  The thought and care that went into designing and building the house really is amazing.  It took one man 2 solid years to paint the house to give it an old worn look.  Most of the floors on all seven levels of the house are carved stone.  There is a perfect half inch groove between every stone, and the grooves in each room run into a drain.  This makes it possible to walk anywhere in the house soaking wet.  A brilliant little feature that I think we will start to see more of in new suburban homes in the States…

Below is a slide show of some of my pictures from both of my trips, as well as my portrait of Richard Kelley who made this whole thing possible.  Many thanks Richard!
* If you are using a blog reader, you may need to visit my actual blog to see the slide show.