Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fashion Shoot Sneak Preview

I'll be blogging in detail about this major fashion shoot very soon...and putting up lots of images on my portfolio site.

I had a blast and was fortunate to work with extremely talented and hard working people.

In the meantime I couldn't resist sharing a sneak peek!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

more weddings in 2010?

I know I mentioned Adrienne and Kyle's wedding earlier this year here on the blog. I feel truly honored that I was allowed to document such a cool couple's big day. They were just simply awesome to work with!

I was amazed at their final wedding books. The printer I used delivered the finest quality books I have ever seen.

I typically have very limited availability given my normal workflow of commercial work, but I enjoyed shooting Adrienne and Kyle's wedding so much that I'd love to collaborate on 2 or 3 weddings in 2010.

If you know of someone who might be interested in having me shoot their wedding, just send an email to my project manager Elizabeth and she'll gather some initial information and set up an appointment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Red Wall - Spencer Mulder

Here's another shot of musician Spencer Mulder. I love this newly painted red wall in Heartside that was part of local artist AJ Paschka's ArtPrize entry. It was created to be used as a photo wall...and I'm sure I'll use it again.

Even though it was broad daylight when we shot this, I lit it so it looked like the evening. You can see more of this same effect w/Spencer's photos on my web site. Just check out the "Music & Fashion" section.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lux Land Photos

Okay...I've been sitting on pins and needles to show you these photos for quite some time.

Lux Land is an incredible singer/songwriter, gifted party thrower, awesome mom and a good friend.

Lux has a new album coming out early next year. It's super great...can't wait!

Want to see more photos of Lux? Take a look at the "music and fashion" section of my web site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Meeting Ad Agencies-Creatives

Hey out there...a big part of 2010 for me, Elizabeth and Josh is getting outside Grand Rapids to meet more of you cool creative professionals that influence and decide who gets to shoot what for your clients. It doesn't matter if you're a big or small agency, but if you initiate photography or video campaigns, we'd love to say hello.

So I'll extend this offer to anyone that might have a genuine interest in learning more about my work and discussing potential photography or video based projects sometime in 2010:

We'll come to you to show you our portfolio...and we'll go virtually anywhere (within reason) to put a face with a name.

Just shoot Elizabeth an email and she'll gather some information about your agency and get the ball rolling.

In the meantime you can always look at some of my portfolio here!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sarah Palin - Photo Essay

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from Getty's London office to shoot for one of the largest national newspapers in the United Kingdom. The Observer Magazine (of The Guardian Newspaper conglomerate) is the equivalent of the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

I was honored to get the call.

My assignment was to create a photo essay of various people waiting in line to meet Sarah Palin at the first book signing of her tour here in Grand Rapids at a mall. A writer from The Observer flew in from New York and interviewed the people I photographed for a story.

It was quite a cast of characters waiting in you might imagine.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Acton Institute - Annual Reports

This year I was fortunate to shoot 4 different annual reports for various clients. I really love shooting A/R's because they offer an opportunity to work intensely with one client.

This is a portrait of Fr. Robert A. Sirico from the
Acton Institute for The Study of Religion and Liberty. This particular composition is weighted strongly to the right to allow for potential text or a letter from Fr. Sirico on the left.

Fr. Sirico is an internationally known speaker. His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, and National Review. Fr. Sirico is often called upon by members of the broadcast media for statements regarding economics, civil rights, and issues of religious concern, and has provided commentary for CNN, ABC, the BBC, NPR, and CBS' 60 Minutes, among others.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spencer Mulder - Leaves

Another series of photos of Spencer Mulder...look for more of these to drop on his web site very soon.

I've been steadily updating
with fresh images...stop by if you haven't checked it out in a while!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Aquinas College Video - President Balog

In a video I was very pleased to produce, direct and shoot, President Balog discusses the strengths and heritage of Aquinas College as well as highlights some exciting developments that are on tap in the upcoming year. You can also view the video in full HD.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aquinas Student Spotlight Video - Lauren Smith

I'm very excited about the video series that we've been shooting, producing and directing for Aquinas College this fall. We've finished 3 videos already. Here is the first one.

Aquinas College sophomore Lauren Smith is a very busy Pre-Med student and an exceptional track athlete. Find out why she feels Aquinas College is the perfect fit for her.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aquinas videos coming!!

I'm excited to say I just got the go ahead to release the first few videos that we've been shooting for Aquinas College this fall. I'll post them up here on the blog tomorrow. I can't wait to share what we've been working on for the last few months.

But for now I'm off on assignment for the London Daily Mirror to cover Sarah Palin's book signing visit to Grand Rapids...these photos will appear in the U.K edition of the newspaper as well as their online edition...I'll post a link when it's available.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Position filled - Spencer Mulder shoot

Well, after 3+ weeks of starts and stops in the process of hiring "One Brave Soul", I recently filled the position of project manager and client liaison. I'm very excited and will properly introduce Liz in a few days here on the blog.

I was truly overwhelmed with the number of very qualified candidates that contacted me. I received 40+ responses. Nearly all of you could have helped me in some shape or form and I deeply appreciate your interest in working with me.

So this blog's been a bit empty lately...I think I saw a tumbleweed blow through here yesterday. Here's a quick shot from a shoot I had today with future household name Spencer Mulder. I hope to post a whole backlog of projects in the next week or so here on the blog and over at my portfolio site at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm hiring one brave soul

Hey everyone...I'm really busy with a wide range of projects and am looking for one talented (or perhaps brave) individual to come work with me in the following role. Send me an email if you live in Grand Rapids, are able to multi-task and would like to know more about this position:

About Brian Kelly, LLC

Brian Kelly, LLC is a full service commercial photography and video production company that services a very diverse range of West Michigan based clients.


Brian Kelly, LLC seeks an individual to execute the roll of project manager/producer/client liaison/personal assistant. This person is the first point of contact a client may have with Brian Kelly, LLC and often the main point of contact for the client throughout a project. This person works very closely with Brian Kelly to assist in the efficient flow of communication between clients with projects in various points of production within the company.

Responsibilities may include scheduling meetings, photo and video shoots, controlling the flow email and phone communications, coordinating location scouting, delivering files to clients, running to the photo lab or to other vendors, shipping/mailing, obtaining shooting permits and/or other location and logistical permissions, shepherding projects from estimation phase to final billing, grabbing lunch or coffee on location as well as be a 2nd assistant on some larger photo or video's a little bit of everything and every day is different.

This person minds the gaps as well as does a fair share of babysitting Brian Kelly’s right brain. This person needs to be very detail oriented with strong communication skills and the ability to track multiple projects on various points of completion at any given time. This position requires a fast paced, intuition-minded, and highly professional individual with an understanding that attention to detail and the fast turnaround of a dynamic product is essential to the continued success of Brian Kelly, LLC.

Bonus points for fluency in Photoshop/Lightroom/InDesign and the nuances of ice cream.

This position requires a minimum of 20-30 hours a week with many weeks likely to exceed 30 hours. Pay rate is negotiable based on experience and other software skills.

Brian Kelly, LLC is an equal opportunity employer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes-Interview with Young Kim

I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Young Kim on Saturday for the official ArtPrize book that will be coming out later.

As you know, there was a HUGE buzz about Young's installation at 47 Commerce...(here's the first video Josh and I made about his work). It seemed to be the one piece everyone was talking about and most felt strongly that Young Kim deserved to be in the Top 10. Fortunately, he was recognized with a $5000 Curators Award by UICA at the ArtPrize awards ceremony on Thursday night.

I think you'll like Young Kim even more after listening to him talk about his work, his experiences in Grand Rapids and ArtPrize.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes-Rooftop Photo Shoot

On Monday we shot portraits of 5 of the Top 10 ArtPrize finalists. This video takes you behind the scenes on the shoot.

A big thank you to Suzette from The Ledyard Building for letting us crawl all over their historic building in the heart of Grand Rapids.

There's more shoots like this to come, not all the Top 10 artists are in town yet...but they will be soon.

I haven't voted yet, getting to know each artist a bit during these shoots has made it a harder decision for me...I have tremendous respect for all of them that I've met so far.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

ArtPrize-Less Videos = More Photo Shoots!

I've been blown away by how many people have tuned into this blog and watched our videos over the last week and a half...literally thousands and thousands of people. Josh (my assistant) and I have been having a blast putting these together and we're very pleased that you are enjoying and sharing them with others.

Many people have come up to me on the street and said "you're the ArtPrize video guy," or "we love the videos you're doing for ArtPrize."

But just to clarify one logical assumption you may have; I am not being paid by ArtPrize to produce these videos, nor have I ever discussed with ArtPrize what the subject matter of my videos would or wouldn't be. I am doing these videos purely out of excitement for ArtPrize and my unabashed love of Grand Rapids.

The only reason I spend so much of my own time (and my own money) producing these videos is because I have 100% creative control of what I want to say and what I want to show you about ArtPrize.

We'll try to do a few more videos as time allows this week...but we may not be able to produce as many due to one major project that I actually am being paid by ArtPrize to produce.

ArtPrize has commissioned me to document the Top 25 pieces of art as well as take a unique portrait of each of the Top 25 artists. These photos will be used for an upcoming official ArtPrize book/catalogue that will be released later.

So this week will be a mad dash of scrambling to locate artists, see who's in town and hopefully make some incredible images that will honor the artists, their work and ArtPrize.

So stay tuned...keep checking back here for more behind the scenes content of some of my photo shoots for ArtPrize...still photography of some incredible artists and their art!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ArtPrize-Young Kim like a Rocket!

Young Kim was actually in the Top 50 ArtPrize artists before Josh and I produced this video bringing more attention to his work in a venue off the beaten ArtPrize path. I'm now an unabashed believer that Kim's work is deserving to be in the Top 10...and possibly win all of ArtPrize.

He's now in the top 25...keep voting...keep talking...keep advocating for ALL the artists you feel deserve to be in the Top 10.

Here's another opinion published on Facebook by Rachel Van Dyke making a case as to why Young Kim's work is so special and pertinent to the conversation of ArtPrize:

"young kim,-as a total installation, it is beautiful, it moves you to walk amongst the pieces of art and examine them carefully, his choice of location, colors, and set up were all very fitting to express his work. And his actual artwork is sensitive, using traditional and contemporary techniques. I judge by skill and meaning making and his achieved both. He made it specifically for ARTPRIZE as well." - Rachel Van Dyke

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Get out the VOTE!

Today is the last day of voting and artists with the most UP votes will be launched into the coveted the Top get out there and make your votes count...there's a ton of prize money on the line!

So VOTE UP for the pieces you think are deserving of a shot at $449,000 in prize money!!

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Rob Bliss

I was lucky to be with Rob Bliss shooting the big 100,000 paper airplane toss as part of his ArtPrize entry...take a look behind the scenes at one of the largest scale events in the history of Grand Rapids.

Monday, September 28, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Tanglefoot

If you're here for ArtPrize, don't miss the amazing Tanglefoot Building. It's one of the off the beaten path places that will blow you away!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Young Kim

I'll probably be super grouchy for a long time if this piece doesn't get voted into the Top 10 at ArtPrize...see if you agree with me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Dufala Brothers this is proof ArtPrize comprises both high brow art and the surreal.

ArtPrize never promised you consistency...but they did promise you a unique experience.

The Dufala Brothers are bad to the bone. The Toilet Tricycles races were quite the ArtPrize performance piece.

Friday, September 25, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes-ACTIVESITE



Check out our latest Behind the Scenes video at ArtPrize...Josh and I are working hard to bring you a taste of what's turning Grand Rapids completely upside down!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes-Rick DeVos

A quick look behind the scenes as Rick DeVos officially kicked off ArtPrize...already easily the most significant cultural event ever in Grand Rapids.

My assistant Josh and I will keep bringing you more behind the scenes footage and photos of interesting things we find during ArtPrize.

ArtPrize-Behind the Scenes - Yolanda Gonzalez

My assistant Josh is rolling footage on some of our behind the scenes adventures here at ArtPrize...the most amazing cultural event to ever land in Michigan...let alone Grand Rapids.

Our first video explores the Old Federal Building and an incredible installation by Grand Rapids' own Yolanda Gonzalez.

We'll be posting more videos of our photo shoots and other great stuff we stumble into whenever we can!

more kids needs a "favorite" artist - ArtPrize

New York artist Jason Hackenwerth and his installation at UICA. My story begins below.
I'm extremely lucky to be shooting a ton for the good folks at ArtPrize over the next 2 weeks. Some of the work I produce will be rather elaborate shoots with complicated lighting set-ups, and some projects will be beautifully simple and small.

I dashed out of the door this morning in a tired fog...needing coffee after a late night...I was frankly ready to run through the motions of a simple assignment of documenting UICA's ArtPrize educational outreach efforts to area high school students.

But as I started to photograph I was jolted by the palpable excitement in the air and started to listen to what the kids were saying and also what was being said to them.

Balloon artist Jason Hackenwerth gave a talk in the UICA auditorium about his work...a pretty standard artist talk by an energetic artist...but the poignant moment for me was blatantly unintended. It went something like this:
Jason: Who can tell me who their favorite artist is?
Audience: (silence)
Jason: Anyone?... Anyone?...Name your favorite artist...
Audience: (uncomfortable silence)
Jason: "Really? No one can name their favorite artist?"
Girl in 3rd row: "I like Picasso."

I felt frustrated by the lack of answers...and actually a little deflated in the afterglow of the explosion of ArtPrize celebrations last night. But then it hit me:

After ArtPrize is done turning Grand Rapids upside down...every kid in that audience will be able to answer Jason's fundamental question of "who is your favorite artist?" It might not be Jason's work...I'm not advocating or promoting his work in that sense (although he's amazing). But those kids will be inspired by SOMEONE here exhibiting in Grand Rapids...and that's terribly exciting and potentially life altering for some young lives that explore what is offered at ArtPrize over the next 2 weeks

How many kids and young adults might be inspired to explore a career in the arts as a result of ArtPrize?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ArtPrize is nuts...follow my blog as I go!

I'm shooting non-stop for ArtPrize the next 18 days. Me and my assistant Josh will try to bring you an interesting angle into this major cultural event...and attempt upload cool stuff here at the blog

You can follow me on Twitter if you want all the quickie inside dirt ( Actually, I won't be posting any dirt even if it happens...cuz I'm cool like that :)

I'll also be posting some cool behind the scenes videos from some of our photo shoots from time to time here...for check out my blog often.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ArtPrize - Artist Public Relations

Innovative self-promotion by balloon artist Jason can view his official ArtPrize entry at UICA.

Park(ing) Day

One of the more surreal events in downtown Grand Rapids...Park(ing) Day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spencer Mulder photo shoot

Spencer Mulder is an extremely talented singer/songwriter based in Grand Rapids that sites Ryan Adams as a major influence. There's a lot of buzz about his upcoming sophomore album and that it might be the one that breaks him national. But if it doesn't happen now at age 19, he's got plenty of time to wait for the big time to come to him.

I had a great studio session with Spencer in June to produce the cover of the new album as well as jacket art. All the old tape and cassettes were actually Spencer and his producer Michael Crittenden's idea.

The new CD is out on September 13. There's a release party/concert is at The Intersection on the same day. I'll be there!

Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot

Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot at The Winchester from Brian Kelly Films on Vimeo.

This is kind of fun...tag along with me at The Winchester on a recent shoot for the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A lot of work/planning goes into getting just one photo option for the cover of the annual Visitors Guide.

This shoot was unusual because we wanted to shoot with the models at dusk...and The Winchester is ALWAYS packed at night. It's one of my favorite places to eat and hang out.

You can also watch it in full HD by clicking on the arrows by the "Vimeo" logo on the player.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

ArtPrize's Rick DeVos -Round 2

Another photo from my shoot with Rick DeVos of ArtPrize.

You can find my other entry from this shoot here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

ArtPrize's Rick DeVos

This week I had an hour or so with ArtPrize creator and Grand Rapids based entrepreneur Rick DeVos. ArtPrize needed new portraits to help satisfy the barrage of media requests for photos of Rick. ArtPrize is deservedly getting worldwide is Grand Rapids in its wake.

I scouted several prime (if not unusual) locations within steps of Rick's downtown office. I'll post a few more favorites as I get time...almost everything we tried seemed to work.

I'm quite proud to be officially shooting for ArtPrize and will help create a book/catalog for them during the 2+ week event...can't wait!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vacation & Knuble Residence

The Kelly family is officially on vacation for the next 10 days...soaking up some much needed sun and relaxation on Lake Michigan's pristine shoreline.

I'll leave you with a dusk shoot from a few nights ago. National Hockey League star and Grand Rapids native Mike Knuble built a wonderful new home in East Grand Rapids. I was commissioned to document the home for interior designer Kathryn Chaplow, architect Jeff Visser, builder Joel Peterson as well as Cosmopolitan Home Magazine.

The Knuble family was extremely accommodating and generous with their home and exceptionally gracious family to work with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Awesome Michigan Travel Video from 1949

Pre-"Pure Michigan" could drive cars on Sleeping Bear Dunes!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

additions to portfolio

I've been slowly adding some new photos to my portfolio web site to the point that it's worth mentioning it's been freshened up. So if you haven't been to my site in a while drop by and take a peak.

In the next month or so I'll be adding some work that's been under wraps for a while.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interlochen and Cornerstone Architects

I've been shooting up north the last few days for Cornerstone Architects and the Frey's been a great trip.

In addition to their GR presence, Cornerstone has a sizable office based in Traverse City. They've done some great projects in this area. If you're a design firm in Michigan right now, I can't imagine two better communities to hang your hat on that seem to be surviving the economy better than most.

This is a new fine arts building Cornerstone designed for Interlochen Center for the Arts. I had very nice weather and these dusk shots really accented the design. There is a natural vignette at the top from stretching my tilt/shift lens to it's limit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daisy May - "WaterFall"

This is a beautiful 7 minutes...worth the escape!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joseph Jeup

I came across this photo tonight. I shot it last December. I liked it then...but I really like it now for some reason.

This is Joe Jeup; owner of Jeup Furniture and a good friend. I've been shooting for Jeup off and on for almost 10 years. He's the best furniture designer/manufacturer I've ever seen.

Jeup Furniture built a new facility last year; it's extremely impressive.

This photo was taken inside a staining room before their facility was operational...the stainless steel provided nice reflections. I used two strobes for this set-up.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meet Nixon

A sneak preview of a story coming out next week in Rapid Growth Media.

This is Nixon. He's a rapper/producer and a major figure in GR's burgeoning hip-hop community.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm sitting on it!

How did I make it through June without really posting anything here? Well...I can tell you it wasn't because I didn't want to share some highlights of some great projects I've been working on.

In fact it's been KILLING me lately not to be posting more recent favorites...I've been working with some very creative people and I've been given an awful lot of freedom to shoot things however I want. But for now, for one reason or another, these photographs are still "under wraps" by the client.

That's pretty don't want to leak anything on a blog and erode the potential impact for the client.

That said...I've been very busy...and I'm particularly excited about recent work I shot for Lux Land, Karisa Wilson, Spencer Mulder, The Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the list goes on. Not to mention film projects for Ralston Bowles, Disability Network and MomentumMI.

I've also been involved in one of the most ambitious, creative and fun projects I've ever shot for Wondergem Consulting...we're still shooting this one off and on all summer. By the fall this tiger should be ready to be unleashed. And no, Chris Knape..."tiger" is NOT a hidden clue! :)

Although I woudn't mind shooting a tiger...with a camera...any one have a tiger?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Karisa Wilson photo shoot - outtakes

I wanted to shoot outside instead of the we set-up a backdrop in my backyard to photograph the amazing singer Karisa Wilson.

My girls Maddie and Hanna were great assistants...they love Karisa.

My assistant Josh stands in while we tweak the lights...he's got a sweet portfolio of stand in shots.

I'm really happy w/how the shoot went. Karisa was up for anything and we experimented a paid off big time. We'll have to wait until her new album comes out to see the final photos!

Madcap Coffee - Photoshoot

A couple of quick picks from my shoot at Madcap Coffee in downtown GR for the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

I always love shooting for the CVB...this shoot was for potential cover photos for the annual Visitors Guide...a very high profile magazine for this region. It's an honor to get the call from Janet Korn and Kate Wiltzer to help create the cover.

Georgia was our model and she did a great job. Ironically, I tracked her down after seeing her several times at Madcap Coffee...and thought she'd be perfect for this shoot!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inspiring Photographers - part one

Yesterday I was itching to discover new work to admire and be inspired by.

So on Twitter and Facebook I asked photographers to tell me who inspires them. I'm still sifting through some fantastic work and links. Thanks everybody for chipping in.

A few people asked me to share which photographers inspire me.

So I'll speak to inspiration...and not necessarily influences on my work. Here's a list in no particular order...perhaps I'll post more later:

James Nachtwey - purpose like no other. I'm glad I have not witnessed what he has documented

Hiroshi Watanabe - (photo above) My good friend, Hiroshi...he's the Japanese Cartier-Bresson...only better. There is a hard to describe formality to his street photography. I was honored to attend his wedding in Hawaii a few years ago.

Katie Barnes - young, emerging, highly talented, she documents everything...she'll be a household name in 10 pressure, Katie!

Mark Seliger - One of the best careers forged from music, celebrities and editorial work.

Annie Leibovitz - I greatly admire the deliberateness of her portraiture, although I'm not always fond of her work...I've learned a great deal by looking at her career.

Anton Corbijn - U2's longtime photographer and friend of the band. He also works in film and that's where I find myself migrating. Although his latest film "Linear" for U2 was the most awful thing I've ever watched...literally...but I still love you, Anton.

I'll add more artists later...feel free to send me your favorite photographers!