Con Keyes met me on a lecture tour in Europe. He asked me if he could take some pictures of my presentations. I said sure. I speak on the human journey through art, movies, and the creative process. I use screens. Lots of screens. The bigger. The Better. There’s something happening behind me or to my side, always. Things go a lot better when you have Jack Nicholson stage right and Diane Keaton stage left.
I always said that if I had any success as a studio executive, it was because I felt more comfortable advising from behind the screen rather than in front of it.
When I started lecturing, or perhaps, presenting is a better word, I just could not appear on an empty stage. I had to bring the players with me. So I used lots of imagery. Lots of movies . Con Keyes knew every film. Every character. Every cut. He would come up after the presentation with his lovely wife, Sheila and be so kind and encouraging.
I believe Con Keyes came to all eight of those presentations. He was like a dutiful photography student, snapping silently with all kinds of lenses . In the end, he asked me if I would like some “snaps” when he got back to California and I said sure and I gave him my address.
This morning, a beautiful picture book arrived in the mail of all my lectures and a CD of his snaps. I do not like looking at myself, but if I had to, I would like to be looking at whatever lens Con Keyes is looking through.
I googled Con Keyes only to realize that he was the Director of Photography at the LA Times for many years and has taken wonderful photos of personalities as diverse as Edward Albee, Zubin Mehta, Johnny Carson, and Sammy Davis Jr. He never tooted a horn, nor made a big deal about his accomplishments. He was always too busy smiling, taking pictures.
I believe Con and Sheila, who have been sweethearts since they were 12 and have been married all their adult life, retired about five years ago. They have been on a world adventure ever since. But once an artist, always an artist. And I am grateful to Con’s artistry and that I am the beneficiary of being in the eye of his lens if only for a moment.
Here’s a few of the many photographs he sent on to me –