Inspiration Monday: Chase Jarvis

(c) 2008 Brian E. Miller Photography

This is my tenth in my series of posts about people or works that inspire me to continue pursuing my artistic endeavors. Today’s post is about Chase Jarvis, a commercial photographer based both in Seattle and Paris.

Chase is well known in photographic circles. He seems to be everywhere, all the time. And not just photographically. He seems hell bent to show each of us how absolutely creative we can be. He appears to be the creative energizer bunny on speed given how much work he produces and the sheer number of projects he spearheads. Not only does he operate two studios, in highly creative cities, on opposite sides of the Atlantic serving clients such as REI, Toyota, Reebok, Apple, Brooks, Microsoft, Smith Optics, Volvo, Jeep, McDonalds, Columbia Sportswear Company, and Nike to name a few (phew), he also throws himself headlong into supporting creative endeavors made possible by the advent of the internet and web-based technology.

Chase also gives. In fact, the first time I heard him speak was a video of a keynote he was giving in which he encouraged the photographers in the audience to give freely of their knowledge rather than attempt to secretively protect their hard-earned talent.  His thought was that if you give it away you will have to continue to work to grow your style and will subsequently maintain your creativity, freshness, and vitality as an artist.   This view, I imagine, comes from his background in philosophy and appears to guide his professional life. You see, Chase Jarvis hides nothing professionally. He gives of his knowledge freely and appears to seek out opportunities to do so.  His blog often has video posts in which he takes the viewer behind the scenes of a photoshoot, walking us through every step of pre-production, production, and post production, showing all the secrets, tips, and tricks to being a successful commercial photographer.  He also donates images, his time, and sometimes even his earnings to worthy creative causes.

In addition he has also recently spearheaded a project called in which he invites creative teachers (photographers, painters, web designers, app developers) to a film studio in Seattle to teach workshops about their craft.  The live feed is broadcast on and is free to the viewer.  These web workshops happen most weekends and are just wonderful!  In a recent edition wedding photographer Jasmine Star taught a wedding photography workshop and integrated it with a live wedding shoot.  It was the real deal and gave the viewer a deeper understanding of what goes into shooting a wedding.  The work that must have gone into making that weekend happen was astounding.

He also has started ChaseJavisLive in which he personally interviews somebody he respects and thinks might be interesting to the viewing public, and posts the interview on his blog and YouTube account.  Some of these interviews are close to 2 hours long and all provided free to us.

He’s also created an iPhone app called “Best Camera” and been involved in photographic book projects about aspects of Seattle that he loves.

Like I said, energizer bunny.  Generous energizer bunny, but energizer bunny!

But what I love about Chase is his willingness and courage to be open and transparent about the work that he does.  He’s received some flack about it and his good intentions have sometimes been cynically questioned, but that has not deterred him; he has developed the endurance necessary to maintain a good heart in the world, and we are the better for it.  So take advantage of what this man (and his team) have to offer.  His intention is to raise the level of photography across the board and subsequently raise each of us along with it.  I don’t know about you, but this inspires me.

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2 Responses to Inspiration Monday: Chase Jarvis

  1. Brian, Great heads up on Chase. I have seen his interview with Zach Arias and that was a lot of fun. I watched the whole three-day first creative live ‘live’ gig with Zack back in June that dove into studio lighting. For insight into all aspects of studio lighting and how to pick the most important for your own space, including picking ‘your own space’ this was drop dead perfect. Zack’s expertise, sincerity and sense of humor just wowed me. And considering it was free, priceless! I have viewed a number of their shorter on-line photoshop classes. Excellent productions that were free as well and I ended up buying several series. Highly recommended.

    • Brian Miller says:

      Thanks Robert! Glad you enjoyed the post. I came to be aware of Zach Arias through a guest blog he did someone’s site-it might have been Chase’s or Scott Kelby’s. He does great stuff.
      Hope you are well and thanks for leaving a note here.

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