Introducing John Keatley, the Next Creative I KnowLast year I had the chance to attend John Keatley’s Survival Guide Workshop. I have long been an admirer of his photography work, but what drew me to the workshop was its focus on the business of photography. There will be a future blog post on the workshop itself, but suffice it to say it was one of the best things I’ve done for my photography. While the information alone was worth it, the best part was coming away with John as a friend and mentor. And that meant he was a shoe in as the next in my Creatives I Know portrait project. John is a commercial and editorial photographer based out of Seattle with his share of celebrity subjects. He’s got a style that combines comical whimsy, intelligence, and a certain stylistic pop. Originally I had considered shooting the project so each person was shot in their own style, and that would have been particularly fun with John. But as I mentioned in my previous post on Jenn Burland, I ended up going for a cohesive look using my own style through out the series. And you’ll see that though many of these photos.
Bring Flexibility to Your PhotoshootFlexibility is a key ingredient of any editorial photoshoot. While it’s important to commercial photoshoots as well, you usually have more of a set plan and strict guidelines when you shoot advertising. But editorial jobs often have less time for planning and looser guidelines. For example, coming into this shoot, while I wanted to shoot in my own style, I wanted to at least give a nod to some of John’s well known photos. One idea was to have him holding a fur coat reflecting the one he had Macklemore wear, but that felt more Macklemore and less Keatley. So I went into the shoot with my main shot planned to be a tip of the hat (pun intended) to one of (if not his most) well known image- a portrait of Annie Leibovitz covering one eye but have John use his ever present flat brim cap instead. And while I did get the image below, as I was taking the shot it was feeling forced, maybe a touch cheesy and I was concerned John was feeling the same thing. So I took a couple more just in case but quickly moved on. Moving on to other possibilities led me to one of my favorite images, and one I couldn’t have predicted. While living in Belgium, I came to really enjoy the work of Belgian surrealist painter Magritte, and as I shot John outside his studio I was struck by the color image above that reminded me of Magritte’s Empire of Lights series. Had I not been flexible and if I had spend all my time trying to force the image I first envisioned, then I never would have had time to see the magic of this Magritte homage. If you’re a creative and would like to sit for my portrait, drop me a note. I am always looking for new collaborators. Read all Creatives I Know posts and see the project all together.