Bio:  Gary Keith, GWK Images





With a career spanning 45 years in journalism, broadcasting,

electronic media production, marketing, promotion and teaching,

Gary Keith brings a unique and especially relevant skill set to the

Great Model Showcase. As its founder, producer and principal

photographer, Keith is the creative and strategic force behind the

GMS.

For Keith, mature women (40+) were always more interesting

photo subjects than the teens and ‘20 somethings’ that generally

populate modeling. “Though I’ve shot pretty much every genre

that involves live models, my favorites are glamour and pin-up.

My creative influences come from the great pin-up artists and

glamour photographers of the 1940’s and 50‘s. I just think mature

women are innately sexier, more interesting and have more to say

photographically. I also enjoy working with new models because

they are intensely motivated and they really want to learn the

craft. So I established GWK Images and began shooting almost

exclusively with mature (40+) subjects in 2003 which led to the

creation of the Great Model Search and eventually to the Great

Model Showcase.”

But his career began quite differently. At age 17 Keith covered

his first auto race credentialed as working media at the historic

Riverside Raceway in 1969, writing as the sports editor for the

student newspaper at Rim of the World High School at Lake Arrowhead, CA.

    “I took some heat for that story especially as the paper was published only monthly, it was during football season, and I was on the football team, yet the biggest story on the single sports page in that November issue was about a car race. In my defense, we weren’t a very good football team,” recalls Keith.

    He's been involved with motorsports ever since, in photography, video and film, radio, event production and promotion, media marketing and publicity for professional racing series, teams and events.

Along the way he has written for print and broadcast and been the award-winning producer and executive producer of nationally syndicated motorsports radio programming covering every form of racing from Motocross to Formula 1.

   As a photographer he’s shot an amazing array of projects from trading cards, events, fashion and beauty projects from catalogues and ad slicks, to calendars and he’s even directed the video coverage of a beauty pageant. His work has appeared in a wide variety of print, broadcast media as well as electronic media projects, and he’s been a force in the development of many models’ careers.

In the 1980s and 90's Keith was a contributor to national news and sports broadcast networks including Associated Press, Mutual Radio Network, CBS Radio News and the Prime Sports Network. He addressed a global audience, producing and voicing radio and Internet coverage of the supersonic land speed record trials reporting from the very remote and desolate Black Rock Desert in far northern Nevada for six weeks in the fall of 1997, reaching a combined audience of over 120 million viewers and listeners, world wide.

   Keith’s sports credentials go beyond motorsports. Under his leadership, first as the media director (1979-81) and later as the race director (1982-85) of The Nevada City Classic, an amateur bicycle race that, under his leadership, grew from a notable regional event into one the most rigorous and prestigious one day amateur cycling events in the world. The Fathers' Day classic swelled the population of the tiny gold rush town in northern California from 2,200 to over 20,000 for the annual event. Olympic speed skating gold medalist and cycling star, Eric Heiden competed twice and three time Tour de France Champion, Greg LeMond won the Nevada City Classic twice, competing as a junior. The event attracted substantial sponsorship, huge crowds, and global media coverage and prestige throughout his tenure managing its presentation and media outreach.

Keith was the co-national media director for the United States Cycling Federation in 1981-82 and was a consultant to the Southland Corporation (“7-Eleven” stores) from 1982-84 assisting in its development and promotion of the sport of cycling and its sponsorship and presentation of cycling events at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Additionally, Keith was the race and media director of the inaugural Tour of Texas in 1986.

   With a background in all forms of media, Keith is also an experienced video camera operator,  director and producer. He’s written for television, radio, and print as a journalist covering sports, science and politics. He’s a designer and producer of electronic media including websites, apps, and interactive media on DVD. He has also worked as a camera operator, director, and producer on “indy” film projects and numerous television and cable commericals.   

    A believer in passing one’s skills to the next generation, Keith also mentors college and post graduate level film school students. He even taught writing, photography and video production to middle school students as a volunteer for four years. His students won national honors competing against high school students in each of those four years.

Keith's production company, CK Media was the world's leading producer of professional drift racing video as the executive producer of The Driftzone, the official video podcast of  Formula Drift. That program attracted over two million viewers between 2006 and 2008, defining the genre of “high production value” video podcasting and giving rise to a dozen successors in drift racing alone.

But his background isn’t only in sports. Keith coaches and produces content and cutting edge digital media tools for fledgling models, assisting in their career development, mentoring and guiding them in their endeavors. He works with modeling agencies, shooting model portfolios and facilitates project development with contacts he maintains in LA’s fashion and photography communities in the southern California media.

    "I'm a huge advocate of model safety. I have developed strategies and best practices that promote the safest conditions possible for models who often must put themselves in vulnerable circumstances in pursuit of their careers. I have published these strategies and make them available to models at no cost because I know modeling, while not inherently dangerous, at times puts models in somewhat dangerous situations. There have been far too many tragic headlines that were preventable if the reasonable safeguards had been employed," adds Keith.

It may seem as though he lacks focus with so many initiatives in so many different genres but Keith knows that to survive in this business as an independent, “...one must be incredibly versatile and creatively agile. Besides, it means I get to work on projects that excite me and that means my work is better."

     Keeping up to date on the latest trends in media including the ever-changing landscape of electronic and social media take an enormous slice of his time. "For much of my career I was usually the youngest guy in the room so I my input was often dismissed or at least discounted due to my relative youth. These days, at 62, I'm immersed in the world of social media so I'm generally the oldest guy in the room and as such its often assumed I don’t get the culture of the new media. In both instances the assumptions were and are incorrect. I keep myself at the cutting edge or even just ahead of the curve and my career is testament to that."

But these days Gary is at a point in his career where he’s not so much searching for the next big thing as he is focussed on his legacy, something meaningful and important to leave behind. “I believe the GMS, this extraordinary collection of exceptional women, all on parallel paths aimed at the same destination, at a most unlikely time in their lives is meaningful and important. Their stories are compelling and inspiring. They face discrimination, even ridicule at times but they are undeterred. They put themselves out there, they learn new skills, a new culture and they lean on each other as they fight to make their way. Its a great story that should be told.

"If years form now, I am most remembered out of everything I’ve done, for the GMS, I would be very happy and proud."



End

Bio:  Gary Keith, GWK Images

Gary Keith, of GWK Images, founder, producer and principal photographer of the Great Model Showcase