In an era when every passing pedestrian and her stunt double behind the wheel are taking “”selfies”” by the millions, all the more value is lent to a genuine lensman such as John Keatley, who, with the calculated snap of a real camera, can create a narrative instead of a nod, produce a revealing portrait rather than a doodle.
Raised in California, Keatley, 34, was a junior at Seattle Pacific University contemplating a career as a musician or computer programer when one afternoon in a drugstore the manager of the photo lab told him he had a “”special eye”” for visual imagery. Something clicked (in more ways than one), he shifted his focus to photography and never looked back.
Keatley’s photos have appeared in many publications, including Rolling Stone, Wired, and the New York Times Magazine; and he’s portrayed notables ranging from Macklemore to Sarah Palin, even turning the tables on photo empress Annie Leibovitz, his portrait of her winning a PDN award. His many other prizes include an American Advertising “”Gold Addy,”” four Applied Arts and six One Eyeland awards, and his images have been honored by American Photography on three occasions. No stranger to conceptual advertising, he’s also conducted successful shoots for clients such as Samsung, Microsoft, and Starbucks.
Based in artistically fertile Seattle since 1999, married and with two young children, Keatley’s curiosity and interests are far-ranging, stoking his desire to effectively narrow the gap between journalistic and fine art photography — a galaxy far, far away from Planet Selfie.”
BlackRapid product of choice: Double Breathe
Career Highlight #1: Making a portrait of Annie Leibovitz
Career Highlight #2: Photographing Sarah Palin for the cover of her book ‘Going Rogue’
Career Highlight #3: A 30 course meal by Ferran Adria in Barcellona on assignment for Wired UK photographing Ferran.
Career Highlight #4: Directing the Arrows music video
Career Highlight #5: Becoming a BlackRapid ambassador
Favorite place on earth? I haven’t been there yet
What was your first camera and your current camera? First was a Canon F1 and current is a Hasselblad H5D-40
Who is your photography idol/hero/inspiration? Chris Buck, Karsh, Nadav Kander
What do you do when you’re not snapping pics? Running, cooking, making cocktails, being outside, spending time with my family, listening to baseball on the radio.
What is your dream photoshoot? A portrait of Sylvester Stallone
How do you “Live The Moment”? Enjoy and appreciate what you are doing at that moment. Be concious of even the little things.
Where is the photography industry headed? Photographers who want to survive are going to have to start thinking and acting like artists. Making beautiful pictures is not good enough anymore. Anyone can do that. People want something they can’t find anywhere else.