Capturing PLL’s Keegan Allen at los.angeles.times.festival.of.books

On Saturday, April 18th at precisely 11:42 AM, I sat down next to Megan, a Keegan Allen superfan, to see what had drawn her to the 20th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She had been waiting much longer than I for Keegan’s 12:10 discussion about his first nationwide publishing project, life.love.beauty (The title of this blog posts makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?). After introducing ourselves, we put our heads together and began enthusiastically thumbing through the 320 pages of beautiful, intimate photographs and striking prose. Megan bookmarked a few, intriguing entries, marveling at Keegan’s photos of his co-stars (Troian Bellisaro, Shay Mitchell, Tyler Blackburn, James Franco) while we chatted about Pretty Little Liars, the unbearable heat and Keegan’s cat, Daniel.

Keegan took the stage smiling and waving to the audience on the lawn. He wasted no time in pulling out his phone to Snapchat all of us before his interview. He made one thing clear from the get-go: “I don’t consider myself to be a professional photographer. I consider myself to be a hobbyist.” He claimed that his hobby has enabled him to capture precious and meaningful moments throughout his travels and time on set.. and apparently, time-travel: “[Laughing] You get to time-travel. [Photography] allows me to go back in time and re-live each of the moments from the photos.”

Soon thereafter, he couldn’t stop gushing about the feeling he got from being behind the camera and the enthusiasm for film that arrived at a very early age in his life: “I’ve always loved to take self-portraits.” His best advice for a novice photographer? “Go out and buy a point-and-shoot camera from CVS or something; it’s inexpensive and allows you to actually go through the process of developing film. Take photos of things that are meaningful to you or interest you,” he advised.

Though the young actor/photographer has a deep love of film and printed photos, he isn’t one to shy away from the digital sphere. When asked to provide an opinion on the so-called “Selfie Generation” and non-traditional forms of photo presentation, he laughed away the harsh criticisms: “We all have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… Each form is very compelling. I don’t think it’s good or bad, it’s just different.”

Keegan recommended that we each live in the moment, regardless of our beeping, buzzing, 10-frames-per-second cameraphones and that we ask for permission to take photos of someone’s likeness, even for candids. I immediately took his advice to heart at the signing tent, calling out in a stringent 1940’s bad-guy voice: “Keegan! Over here, see! Right into the camera, see!”

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Miraculously, I made him laugh. “That’s the ticket! Look at that smile!”

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I kindly thanked him and continued on my way, proud of the little moment I had captured. And it looks like he got me, too!

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Your favorite young paparazzo,

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