As a published writer/poet & journalist, who has been writing; blogging & creating for the past 6 years, my motto has always been to paint pictures with words and put the reader in the mental; emotional or geographical place of what/where/who I’m writing about. For the artist; photographer and painter, the goal is similar but the way of carrying it out differs in the sense that “a picture paints a thousand words”, a saying I’m sure that we’re all very familiar with. Regularly used to describe the visual impact that a certain picture; photo or painting has on a person when they witness a particular image and the thoughts; feelings; memories and emotions that are stirred within them, pictures can have a powerful; lasting impression upon the viewer. One such photographer that evokes such thoughts and impressions is a certain Keith Touhey, a guy whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to the know in the past couple of years.
So, when I set down to talk to Keith, I asked him “How did he become a photographer, what made him want to take up the camera and shoot pictures?”
“I came across an FB page called Vincent Peters Photography and straight away I fell in love with his style, which has heavily influenced by own photographic journey and from there realized what cameras could do! I’m mainly self-thought with help and advice from friends along the way.”
“So, when did you start actually taking photos? And how long did it take before things started to get serious?”
“I started actively taking photos in late 2011; early 2012 using friends and people I knew to help me get some practice. I was 8 months at this before I began to be approached for shots, a major turning point in my career and a huge confidence boost. As it happens, the 1st girl who approached me to shoot her was the same girl I had identified 8 months previously as someone I wanted to work with.
“How would you describe your own style of photography? What characterizes Keith Touhey’s work?”
Well Ken, I shoot a lot of black & white photos due to it’s timeless and seductive quality. Because as an artist, this is my view of portraying a woman’s beauty. It unmasks the actress to reveal the person underneath. I shoot the model, then she gets the prints & I get the prints. No money is exchanged. This method is known as TFP
Which begs the question, “How does he take all these beautiful shots? What model of camera does he use?”
“I started off with a Canon 400D, an entry level camera if you will. I quickly fell in love with film, so I purchased a Mamiya RZ67 which is the same camera that my idol Vincent Peters uses. Since then, I’ve been alternating between the 2 cameras depending on what type of shoot I’m doing at the time.
Sounds like a wonderful job right?! Photographing all these beautiful woman in such intimate and evocative poses! Sure, what difficulties could you possibly encounter in such a profession?! Alas, people being people, ego raises it’s ugly head and causes no end of damage. Unnessecary disagreements arise over perceived injustices and false allegations, especially when these perceived injustices become news over the internet. And with the increasing reach & influence of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, not to mention our “all knowing” friend: the Google search engine, bad news more so than good news can spread very quickly and tarnish a person’s reputation, both professionally and personally. Before you know it, your name is showing up 2nd on said Google search engine under “Scamming allegations”.
So, I could not let the interview pass without broaching the subject with Keith, beginning with “How did you come to meet or to know Andre Ivascu?” the source of the allegations!
“I first came into contact with Andre Ivascu through a public post I had put up on Model Mayhem, a modelling centred website, looking for a retoucher. Andre responded to that post the very same day and since then our correspondance has been conducted entirely online So, I’ve never actually met him.”
“What job were you looking for him to do?”
“I had an agreement with a client to do 34 images of suits and I was keen to get Andre Ivascu on board by suggesting him as a retoucher. Of these 34 images, 5 were retouched by Mr. Ivascu. I then purchased 3 of these images for the purpose of showcasing Andre’s work and selling him to the client for the remaining 31 images.
“Sounds like you thought highly of his skill as retoucher?!”
“Was a huge fan of his work Ken and of his natural ability to retouch. Would’ve benefited me hugely to have him on board, not to mention have served as a platform for Andre to get his work to a wider audience.”
“I have to ask you Keith, was Mr. Ivascu made aware of the job’s goals from the beginning?”
“Yes he was Ken. There was no promises of money on my part. The express goal was to highlight Andre and myself as a duo; photographer and retoucher respectively.”
“And can this planning conversation be proved?”
“Yes, I have email proof that this conversation took place and that Mr. Ivascu understood the details of the job.”
“Okay so, going back to the 3 images. What happened after you purchased them?”
“I presented them to the client along with the price for the whole 34 images.”
“Which was??” €750
“What did the client think of this?”
“The client deemed it expensive and rejected it Ken. However, I convinced the client to view 1 or 2 more images in low resolution in a further attempt to bring Ivascu on board.”
“And what was the response 2nd time around?”
“Again Ken, the client felt that the price was unaffordable and decided to use his company’s retoucher.”
“So, has anybody been paid for this job at all? And what has happened to the 34 images?”
“The model was paid for the job, no-one else. As for the 34 images, they remain unused.
“When were you first made of aware of Andre Ivascu’s blog and the allegations they contained?”
“A close friend of mine and mentor made me aware of the allegations. My friend and the client, of course, both wish to remain anonymous.
“What was your immediate response to Mr. Ivascu’s blog and allegations?
“I emailed Andre and asked why he had done this, making him aware of legal issues in the process: such as defamation of character and slander via blogging”
“After all, a man has nothing if he has lost his character, right?!”
“Absolutely Ken! I mean, he’s potentially jepordized my future career in photography and destroyed my name as a person. And this hurts, due to how much I went of my way to help Andre Ivascu!”
“Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only allegation that he made in his blog?!”
“No, it wasn’t. He also alleged that I hadn’t paid an Indian company called Uretouch India the same sum of €750.”
“Had you ever heard of this company or had any sort of relationship with them?”
“I have never heard of nor have I had any relationship with Uretouch India. Besides that, the link he provided for that allegation doesn’t exist!”
“Having read the blog myself Keith I can confirm that the link to Unretouch India doesn’t work and am immediately struck by the maliciousness and spitefulness of the last line of his blog in which he states the following: ‘Well, since we didn’t have a signed contract or some sort of legal stuff, I guess that’s the only thing I can do for now – tarnish his name on the web and, hopefully, help other retouchers avoid working with Keith Touhey.’”
“Speaks for itself.”
“So, in light of all this, can you foresee any circumstances in which you might ever work with Mr. Ivascu in the future, if ye were to resolve ye’re current differences?”
“I’m afraid not Ken. I mean, what photographer would want to work with a retoucher who has the ability to destroy their career overnight via completely fabricated lies & malicious allegations?”
“ I’d like to address one more issue. And this was a dispute between a personal friend of yours that arose on a group page! Can you tell me anything about this?”
“The person in question, did work for me personally and did not get paid through my own neglect and wrong doing.”
“An honest admission. Has there been any resolution to this matter?”
The issue has been discussed and resolved. An agreement has been reached and payment has been made. I’d like to draw a line under that, if you don’t mind.”
So, what are your plans for the future?”
“Well Ken, the most important plan for the immediate future will be to clear my name and get my reputation back. I also plan to launch my new photography webiste this coming week to showcase all the work I’ve done so far. After that I will strive to continue learning and improving my work with the ultimate goal of mine being: to be published for my own vision of beauty.”
“In light of that, is there anybody in particular that you’d like to work with?!”
“Yes there is actually, her name is Kimberle Behan. She’s a model whom I believe my vision of beauty will shine through! Shoot is planned to take place in the near future, the last stages of which are currently being finalised.”
“Before we go Keith. Is there any advice that you’d like to give aspiring photographers out there?”
“First of all, have an idol whom you can look up to and be inspired by. Then try it to see if it’s for you. Learn as much about the craft and business side of photography as you possibly can, so you’ll avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Make sure that the client understands every angle of the job before it’s carried out. Finally, seek advice on how to properly construct and complete a job so that everybody walks away with a final product that they’re satisfied with.”
“Very practical and sound words of advice. Thank you very much Keith Touhey for taking the time out to answer my questions, it has been a very enjoyable; honest and revealing interview. I wish you the very best of luck in your future photographic endeavours. I hope it brings you much happiness and success!”
“My pleasure Ken. Thank you for your patience and your time.”
“If you would like to find out anything more about Keith Touhey and his photographic work, then you can log onto http://www.keithtouheyphotography.com/ which, as it happens, is going live today! So, what are you waiting for? Clink on the link and enjoy visual feast of female beauty that is Keith Touhey’s photography.