Annie Leibovitz

keatley bio pic_verticle cropMany know him as a conceptual celebrity portrait artist.  And others probably know him as one of the few photographers to ever take a portrait of highly esteemed photographer, Annie Leibovitz.  Aside from his famous clients and numerous magazine covers and features, I know him as a friend, father and hard working talent that has a knack for bringing out true personalities and portrayals of his subject’s inner character.  I applaud him as a photographer that is giving of his knowledge in the photography industry but doesn’t distract from his drive of working with clients and the creative process.   It is my pleasure to introduce you to Seattle photographer, John Keatley.

His home and studio sit on the heart of the beautiful Alki Beach with a breathtaking view of the Seattle skyline.  With one of America’s most artistic and talented cities at his fingertips, Keatley has broken through the doors of some of the finest musicians, businessmen, broadcasts and publications in the media.  Celebrity faces like Bill Gates, Macklemore, Sarah Palin, Tim Gunn, Andy Sandburg and Howard Schulz are just a few to name that have seen his lens.  And many of these portraits are now tear sheets in many prestigious magazines worldwide; Forbes, Men’s Health, Fortune, New York Times Magazine and ESPN.

Keatley has his hands in changing lives as well.  His celebrity photography and editorial projects are balanced with his work on international awareness campaigns, such as a recent trip to Liberia to work on a clean water initiative.  I saw the stories and lives that he documented along with life-size prints of the beauty he captured in person.  Needless to say, his inspiration lit up the hearts of many, including mine.

While his portraits are real and his post processing is distinct, his conceptual photography is a true illustration of his inner comedic sense of humor.  Whether it’s fluffy cats or composited imagery, John’s work is regularly recognized for awards, including American Photography, the PDN, and Communication Arts Photography Annuals.

Johns’ advice for photographers:

“Always push yourself to try something new.  Experiment, and explore.  Take chances and fail from time to time.  Do something that scares you.  Collaborate with others.  Take a lot of pictures, and show only your best pictures to others.  Repeat.  There are obviously many things that go into creating and sustaining a successful photography business.  However, looking back at the early years of my career, I think I was consumed by many trivial things, and I wasn’t focused on what was truly important.  Especially when I was starting out.  Shoot, shoot, shoot, or practice, practice, practice.  Don’t be concerned with how many followers you have, or who is shooting what for which client.  Just discover what it is you love to do, and shoot as much as you can.  While you are shooting, don’t forget to show your work.  It really is that simple, and it’s the best way to get your career moving forward without all of those little distractions that will hold you back.”

Take some time and dive into John’s portfolio.  You’ll find mixed emotions of humor, originality and absolute inspiration.
Plus, follow John on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photofocus presents the Photographer of the Week as a case study in great photography


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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Wit, despair, anger, wild…what a ride!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you!


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About MelissaNiu

Melissa Niu is a storyteller at heart. Niu's work ranges from her Broadcast Journalism experience at NBC in Seattle to her recent work as a co-founder and host of the photography platform, [FRAMED] Network. Her passion for photography, music and journalistic skills harvests into a massive need to tell a good story. As a mother of three daughters and running multiple businesses, Niu is constantly seeking balance, health, laughter and progression.


Commercial, Fine Art, Inspiration, Opinion, Pet, Photographer of the Week, Portrait, Shooting, Sports, Your Focus