Chase Jarvis FRAMES: Hasselblad Masters

Here’s an interesting peek at the underbelly of professional photography–the gems and the warts, the outtakes, the volume, the repetition, light tests, blown angles, and the hero shots all wound together in one tight little ball.

This is an uncut series of 2000 still photographs, stitched together and put to music, featuring every image I shot during a 5-day period for personal work, my portfolio, AND to promote the 2007 Hasselblad Masters (a gold star I received in late 2006). Ultimately, of the 2000 images, it’s likely that only 6 to 10 of them will ever have a commercial or fine-art life.

The purpose of this concept–what we’re calling Chase Jarvis FRAMES–is to show a behind-the-scenes look into ALL the pictures from a given shoot, especially the ones that wouldn’t normally see the light of day. My hope is that this helps better illustrate what really goes into shooting and selecting the final images we see in advertisements, magazines, and on gallery walls. What do you think?

Thanks to Ghostland Observatory for the music. If you LOVE the track, like everybody I know does, go ahead and buy the tune or album here via iTunes. RSS readers can view the video here.

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I’d usually comment on photography, but music in this video is absolutely fantastic. says:

Chase…You rock dude, I know you probably get about 300 douche bags like me telling you you’re awesome everyday but seriously you’re an inspiration dude!

Obi says:

Simply love this … amazing stuff

Miss Gila says:

J’adore! Et avec la musique c’est encore mieux! Sympa vraiment!

roberto says:

dude, you’re amazing. you’ve made me really appreciate commercial photography. forget about the hero shots, i will strive to create spectacular rejected photos as well : )

Anonymous says:

As an amateur photographer working my way slowly up the chain i wanted to express my deep thanks to you for not only producing inspiring creative work, but for videos like this one that show the ugly side. Makes me feel a little better about my work when i see even the pros take imperfect photos haha.


Chase Jarvis says:

@ taylor: I think the setup was pretty basic. If I recall, and can partially reverse engineer, there was one softbox on a profoto 7b to camera right, chest level for the softer, wrapp-y light; a second strobe with no box (I call ‘em “dished”) at chest level camera left and slightly behind the subject to provided the harsher light lines. Exposed for ambient minus just a bit– a stop or two — to bring out texture in sky, pavement and garages. Added contrast and desaturated the environment in post and Scott gave the subject some special sauce in Pshop for his skin pop.

Taylor says:

Hey Chase,
Had a quick question about your Apple ad photo with the dude kicking without his shirt on…
Is that two photos merged? Im just curious as to how the background is so well lit. Could you fill me in on the basic setup of this shot?
Very appreciative of your site and involvement in the community. Thanks for doing what you do.


Anonymous says:


That was magnificent. How can you teach someone who is untrained and inexperienced the true blood and guts of shooting in a short video without a word spoken. The observer can only walk away with, I have a better feeling and can see that even the most premier photographer still has to shoot a lot of frames only to trash the majority to get the right shot.

Thanks for the insight.
Now, what can you do to show the broader scope of the shoot. I mean showing the people involved and the structure of the shoot. Most do not appreciate how many people are involved in the shoot.

By the way, I loved the MAC Case. I want to do one for my 17″ MacBook Pro.


Dale R Herbert

Chase Jarvis says:

Dcrellen: thanks for the kind words. yes, perhaps we’re venturing down the path of a new something-or-other here. To our knowledge this has not been done before. From a conceptual standpoint we’re integrating a lot with FRAMES; this is certainly accomplishing multiple things at once: style, movement, pacing, and then the whole education/behind-the-scenes authenticity all at once. It’s very exciting. Thanks so much for weighing in. Stay tuned for more.

BTW – yes, we’re editing in Final Cut Pro and we’ll check out the San Diego contest – thanks!

dcrellen says:

Are you starting a new art form? As with the “Ken Burns Effect” we now have “Chase Jarvis Frames”. Maybe Apple will incorporate Chase Jarvis Frames in their next iPhoto release. On second thought, that would ruin the impact for your own art as the masses will do Chase Jarvis Frames as a new wave on YouTube.

Fantastic work and fantastic job. Thanks for sharing. Did you do the editing in Final Cut Pro?

In San Diego each fall there is an international digital art show called “The Art Of Digital Show” ( and includes a lot of video selections. You need to be here this year. (I had a piece juried into last year’s show).

You just made my evening – after a day of sugar-high toddlers, botched recipe and a bounced check, this was awesome.

Chase Jarvis says:

Ryan: the perspective shots looking up at the dancers were created using a giant plexiglass platform that I had custom built. It wa$$n’t cheap. It’s made of steel and 1 and 1/4 inch plexi, adjustable height and is great for getting angles no one else can. Internally, we call in Ground Control.

As for the dancers – no trampoline! They can leap like nobody’s business…

Chase – this is an awesome video! Thanks for the insight and the openness.

Hey, just out of curiosity, in the dance shots where you were shooting up through the glass floor: was that something you built on site, or… well, what was it? :)

Also, were some of the dance jumps off of a trampoline? Specifically there were quite a few (with the girl, I think) where she seemed to be *way* up in the air!

ShaolinTiger says:

Wow nice concept, the greenscreen stuff is just awesome, so seamless.

You rock.

And the fact that you actually answer the comments on your blog, that makes you rock twice.

Come to Malaysia and let us shoot some cool shit.

shawn herron says:

chase, excellent work, this just got passed on to me by a friend. slayin it as per usual.

A J FRENCH says:

this is really impressive stuff: the video is great, and the shots are amazing — and it is interesting to see the work progress

Chase Jarvis says:

Hey Anonymous: in response to:

“Now, what can you do to show the broader scope of the shoot. I mean showing the people involved and the structure of the shoot. Most do not appreciate how many people are involved in the shoot.”

Hold your shorts. That’s coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

Anonymous says:


That was magnificent. How can you teach someone who is untrained and inexperienced the true blood and guts of shooting in a short video without a word spoken. The observer can only walk away with, I have a better feeling and can see that even the most premier photographer still has to shoot a lot of frames only to trash the majority to get the right shot.

Thanks for the insight.
Now, what can you do to show the broader scope of the shoot. I mean showing the people involved and the structure of the shoot. Most do not appreciate how many people are involved in the shoot.

By the way, I loved the MAC Case. I want to do one for my 17″ MacBook Pro.


Chase Jarvis says:

Hey Aaron: the Ghostland track is called Midnight Voyage off their latest album, Paparazzi Lightning. You can buy and download the mp3 at their website: No, they didn’t cut the track specially for me (but don’t i wish…). A friend of mine is tight with their agent, so we got permission via those channels.

Chase – What Ghostland Observatory track did you use for this cut? Did they make is specially for you? I’d like to buy it and put it on the iPod for inspiration.

This was exactly what I needed to watch today.

Chase Jarvis says:

RE: Mark’s comment… Interesting question/point, Mark. That said, I have three thoughts for your consideration that I hope will address your post:
1)this video isn’t intended to be about individual photographs. This video is really a simple artistic statement about art PROCESS. By showing an aggregate of images I was illustrating what goes in to making just six to ten professional advertising-quality pictures. (ie. what happens inside what I call “the black box” – where nobody except pro ad shooters –really knows what goes on in “the making of”)
2)If you want to see final pictures from this or others like ‘em (ie professional images), I’d steer you toward the various portfolios here on my site. They’re not whizzing by at all, they’re just sitting there for you.
3)regarding editing, the images that pan using Burns effects basically make up our edit of 30 or so images I like. As to which exact 6 or 10 have a commercial or fine art life? I can’t really show you because those are determined from the market. I can show you ones I HOPE have the value, or have value to date – but it’ll only be miles down the road that we’ll all be able to see which images were home runs and which were duds. That’s another ironic twist I was hoping to illustrate when I mentioned that 6-10 have a life, but not showing the 6-10…

Anonymous says:

Maybe some of these photos will never be shown professionally anywhere individually, but put together as a slide show here, it is pretty amazing! This is a keeper!

paolo says:

me like it, me like your work and the fact you share it with uss

Mark says:

So what were the 6-10 images that did “have a commercial or fine-art life”.? As I believe editing can be half of the total artistic process when it comes to the photographic image making process. Please show them, as the final art says more about the “business” and your talent than any of this fine animation. One thing Ive learned as an animator is that almost anything looks good flying by at 1/30 of a second. I think this animiation detracts from the images to a large degree because of the lack of time and attention that can be focused on them.

Take care-

Alissa says:

very very cool! thank you for sharing that!

Matt says:

That was awesome. It’s cool to see how much work really goes into getting a handful of amazing shots.

Chase Jarvis says:

Jacob: when shooting bigger production stuff blocking streets, with cops on duty, traffic control, etc I usually take LONGER becuase (like you point out) so much has gone into it that you’d better make sure you get it right. Also, there’s so much inertia (people, traffic, etc) that things move much slower.

Chase Jarvis says:

RE: Jack Bauer comment. Hmmmm. Not sure I understand. I’ve seen lots of MOVIES, but can anyone show me a “Jack Bauer” STILL photograph that’s NOT from a movie? I haven’t seen cinematic violence action still images done like this anywhere in the market (incidentally, which is exactly why I wanted to shoot that series). I’d love to have someone point ‘em out if’n there out there…your help would be much appreciated.

Jacob says:


That is SO tight. How long do you spend on a shoot where you have permits, etc, for street shooting? Is it a “get in, get the image, and get out” type of motif, or do you spend more time than that to ensure success? You work is fantastically impressive. Thanks for allowing us to see some of the behind-the-scenes. It allows for so much learning.

Anonymous says:

Good model of persistence, but haven’t we all seen enough Jack Bauer themed photography?

Gary Allard says:

Nice stuff. It’s great to see all the work that goes into what some people may think is a “simple” shot. Most photographers know this but it’s especially important for potential clients as they sometimes don’t understand why the budget it what it is. Thanks for sharing.

gfroese says:

Very inspirational and amazing video, it’s totally an art piece on its own. Forget about how great the actual still ares.

Looking forward to seeing more.

rhettelliot says:

really tight video Chase :) you gotta do more of those! really great medium… a truely inspiring “slideshow”.

Chase Jarvis says:

Ethan: Indeed, I feel like it’s a curious new art application. Backstory – true I did not set out to create this movie when I was originally capturing the images, but that’s part of what makes it interesting. I’m appropriating my own art and in one sense re-purposing it; in another just displaying it uniquely. The interplay there is cool. I was obviously just originally shooting stills, but I love it when one art piece emerges from another.

Does all this say anything philosophically? I dunno, I’ll let time figure that out.

But the rest of the story, ie the nuts and bolts of how this concept came about is funny. Here’s the play by play: I’m on United flight 1155, seat 1B heading thru San Fran on the way to Hawaii for a 10 day job. Scott, 1C, my right hand man is sitting across the aisle from me. We’re both a couple bloody mary’s deep with our headphones on. Scott looks over to me, gestures to peel off my headphones. He says, ” if we sewed all the jpgs from a shoot together it could be a cool movie”. I pause. Then I say, “Brilliant”. We both put our headphones back on, give one another a nod, and kept on with our cocktails, now steeped in thought about who/what/where/when/how. And an idea was born. A It’s certainly evolved since then, but we’re really excited about the project from a lot of angles. There will be many, many more.


FRAMES is fucking awesome.

The only comment that I will make is that you accidentally or intentionally created a unique, interesting piece of art that few could put together even if that was their intention. This is not a problem, and the initial comments seem to reflect a gratitude for sharing–which is what you were after–but the images, beat, rhythm, and music of it all creates a package that might mystify some more than shed clear light. However, I realize your ultimate
intention was just to create something and see how it flies, and it flies high.

And of course, I know you are also planning for this to be coupled with your RAW on-location video documentaries, all of which together, I think, will create an even more powerful window into what’s in the “black box.”

Regardless, I suppose that ultimately the black box is really what lies between Chase Jarvis’s two ears and will, and should, always remain mostly a mystery.

Thanks for more great and inspiring work.

Neil Smith says:

Excellent, thanks for sharing, nice to see the out-takes and the finished shots, gives a real sense of the thought processes going on.

Chase Jarvis says:

Oops, the last part of the last comments was supposed to be to Jeffery.

The ideas for the shoots all come from sitting around a table with 6 of us brainstorming and purely fantasizing about what would look cool and be really fun. It’s almost like raw creativity. Usually an idea starts, then evolves into what the shoot becomes. But its out of our heads and motivated by the creative environment for sure…

Chase Jarvis says:

Mark: YES we were completely permitted, and had an intersection closed off in downtown Seattle, cops on hand and the whole deal. Incidentally, the Film Commission people (who control the permits) paid us a little visit that night to make sure we had proper security, etc. And since we (of course) had all our T’s crossed and i’s dotted, they loved us (and still do). Good words of widsom – always make the permit people happy.

The ideas for the shoots all come from sitting around a table with 6 of us brainstorming and purely fantasizing about what would look cool and be really fun. It’s almost like raw creativity. Usually an idea starts, then evolves into what the shoot becomes. But its out of our heads and motivated by the creative environment for sure…

Chase Jarvis says:

Simon and Ed: No problem – that’s what it’s all about.

jeffery b. says:

Wow, the underbelly sure looks good. Where did you get the ideas for all of those shoots? Such a cool variety of material. I especially liked to see the before/after on the green screen. Thanks, great project!

Thanks for giving us a look into the making of your images. Did you have a permit to shoot the Crime shots on the street? Couldn’t help but wonder about the potential uproar the sight of someone holding a gun to the driver side of a vehicle might cause downtown at night!

Anyway – loved this and hope to see more like it in the future.

Ed McCulloch says:

Sweet Chase, Thanks for sharing.

Simon says:

great thanks for showing us, great idea!


Anonymous says:

Amazing. Thanks for sharing this. You shot all that in 5 days? I saw the ‘Diver with Bubbles’ on the Hasselblad Masters’ Calendar this year and was wondering how you did that. Now I know ;)

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