Some Experimental Work: Celebrity, Maps, and Sensor Bloom

I thought I’d share some experimental work I shot recently that was inspired loosely by the notion of celebrity, the video Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (directed by the very talented Patrick Daughters), and sensor bloom as art.

For the right brainers amongst us, consider this stuff on the merits of the peculiar, cold, distanced aesthetic united with the white-hot lights. For the left brainers, consider what’s happening with the camera sensor (blooming) to achieve these images and how the linking of multiple blooms actually works. More examples after the jump – click the ‘continue reading’ link below …

All these jpgs have just been run very quickly thru Aperture and have not been retouched in Photoshop at all (so don’t pay attention to those pesky little blemishes). They’re by no means finished files, just conceptual evaluations:

34 Responses to Some Experimental Work: Celebrity, Maps, and Sensor Bloom

  1. Richard May 9, 2008 at 12:40 am #

    It can be a good effect for for one shot with the right subject. However as a sequence of images it can be quite tiring to the eyes. However have the use of contrasting colours (gelling) with the subjects dress been considered. Also the blooming overwhelms the subject slightly. I could see this used on a car commercial. It would definately work better with a group of models. I just think the blooming is competing for attention. So full marks for experimenting. It would be fun to have a go.


  2. ArAgost May 9, 2008 at 2:51 am #

    Chase, I like these pics. That was a neat idea: the blooming adds to that particular look :)

  3. Wojtek May 9, 2008 at 2:57 am #

    Chase, that’s something fresh. I like it!

  4. Grzegorz May 9, 2008 at 3:06 am #

    Hey Chase,
    I love dynamic light vs dress,
    awesome effect.

  5. Marcos G. Meider May 9, 2008 at 5:22 am #

    Great test Chase. I like the pictures very much. My preferred ones are the first and last.

    Funny enough I thought that being left or right brained had to do whith the way you look through the camera, not in a metaphysical way, but physically. I always look through the camera with my left eye, and so I thought I was right brained. But I’ve seen you look through the camera with your right eye.
    I went to this test
    to find out who I was and I can say that I’m 35% left brained and 65% right brained.
    Just curiosity.


  6. Mr. May 9, 2008 at 5:23 am #

    uhmmmm… i think in the first series of pictures it works great, it creates a nice interaction with the model shape, especially in the third picture where combined with the “washed out” tones it looks simply amazing.

    In the second series it looks a little too much, a little out of place. Possibly it’s due to the subject looking less glamorous and aggressive. First one has more a rockstar feeling, the second one looks subtler.

    Thanks for posting, as always.


  7. Marcos G. Meider May 9, 2008 at 5:25 am #

    Sorry chase..
    My mistake. I meant the second and the last one are my preferred.

  8. ricklohre May 9, 2008 at 5:27 am #

    I was just thinking about Rich’s idea…I think some gels would be cool addition to the concept.
    Couldn’t help but seeing these on a record label when I first viewed them. Reminds me a lot of a concert scene…replace dresses w/ leather. :)

  9. Tony May 9, 2008 at 6:12 am #

    These shots are interesting. They are a bit confusing, so maybe lighten the distortion up a bit

  10. paustin May 9, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    Just conceptual evaluations? Hahahah. These are anyone else’s photographic wet dreams.

    Totally rad.

  11. TaK May 9, 2008 at 9:40 am #

    Dude, this stuff is hot H-O-T hot! Love seeing your creative brain at work.

  12. Kingston Photo May 9, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    this is amazing work wow!

  13. Dov May 9, 2008 at 11:38 am #

    Nice Chase!!! Now we’re talkin high fashion. Keep it up. I know to many, “old timers” who would hate it and say, “what are those lights doin in the back. To distracting..yada yada yada..” What they don’t get is that this is in. I keep telling them that and they just want to stick to their traditional ways.

    Keep on doin what you’re doin!


  14. Tuffer May 9, 2008 at 11:39 am #

    This is exactly the type of thing I like to see on professional’s blogs. How do you experiment? What goes through your mind? What made you think of trying this? So thanks. …And these shots rock.

  15. Brian Braun May 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    Great shoot Chase. Seems to say (from the celebrity’s point of view)… ” too hot to conceive this greatness, but I’ll come in for you…only for a second” Not exactly sure what that means but it just fits right….for me.

    quite the Profoto system….9 lights in the back alone. whats behind the camera? We want set-up (behind the scene) shots! Liberty! Liberty!

    Feels good to break the loose for a bit aye…..think with that side of the ego. You’ve got style my friend….I dig.

    Keep it up, Don’t stop believin!


  16. Black English May 9, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    #2 is smoking!!! I love how you take an idea and give it life. It’s inspiring and motivational at the same time. Thanks for sharing these!

  17. SSaxi May 10, 2008 at 1:50 am #

    the idea and inspiration behind these images are admirable – wow- impressive shots! i´m new around here but it seems that i got stuck on your site – very much to explore ;o)


  18. richard May 10, 2008 at 2:52 am #

    A add on from my original comment at the top.

    Just a quick note Chase I like the concept and the idea but I will not kiss you arse. If there is something not working it is not working. I am a working professional I would like to be told without emotion quite simply when I miss something on my work. I still think the blooms are a good idea but you are in danger of losing the subject in the shot. Good idea and I think this Grunge High Key has a future it just needs tidying up.

    Professional respect,


    Grunge high Key (this is what I call this type of photography)

  19. Matthew May 10, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    Finally a fresh web page! I was getting sick of the old intro, as much as I liked runner-girl…

  20. The Art We Breathe May 10, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    great series! also, great new site! I enjoyed the staff video bios and the clean layout. Looks good.

  21. Rud Media May 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Hey, Chase, congrats on the new site. Waaaay better than it used to be :-D

  22. ricklohre May 10, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    Great new site Chase.
    Got an error last nite with a “Livebooks” default page. I knew something was in the works ;)
    Props to you on the new shots as well…some inspirational stuff bro.

  23. Cdubz May 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm #


  24. Dani May 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    What camera did you shoot this with? I believe the bloom is a characteristic of CCD sensors and CMOS reacts differently to overexposure… Am I Wrong?

    OMG Chase what have you done? You’ve created a new internet craze…

    Sensor Bloom… the new Bokeh!

    BTW have you been to Spain recently? Your second model had a Spanish-folk reminiscent dress, and the pressure of the yellow press towards these artists is a very actual thing here. Did I guess your inspiration? =)

  25. Aaron May 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    I like the new site design.

  26. Adham May 11, 2008 at 2:20 am #

    Hey Chase,
    I like the lighting here, neat stuff.
    by the way I like the new website very nice and it’s user friendly.


  27. Awesomefest May 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    I personally love the first the most. The last two are also really great with the horizontal flares. I also agree that this is exactly what I would hope to see on a pro photogs blog: Awesomesome experimentation.

  28. Chase Jarvis May 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    @ Daniel: yes this phenomena is CCD contingent I’m told. These were shot with the Hassie, not the cmos D3.

    As for Spain? I wish ( I love Spain…). The inspiration here for her dress was primarily themed simply in loud/exotic.

  29. William Anthony May 11, 2008 at 10:58 pm #

    Maps is a great song and video. The long opening shot is killer. Have you seen Terence Stamp in “The Limey”? Amongst other cool cinematic techniques, they utilize blooming pretty well for dream sequences.


  30. Matt Haines May 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    Some people seem to have missed that this was an experiment, not a photo critique. The idea is cool! Like anything, it’ll work with some subjects and not others, and perhaps in moderation. I personally like the fact that is obscures the models a bit. I still don’t pay attention to the bloom when thinking like a non-shooter…it just feels like I’m trying to stare into the headlights to see the dear crossing in front of the car. Or something like that.

  31. JB May 13, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    I like the new work. Oh by the way, congrats on you being put in the PDN Photo Annual 2008!

  32. Jeff Singer August 8, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Ahhhh, sensor bloom. I hate hate hate hate it. You never know for sure when its going to screw up your images (btw, personally I don’t like what its doing in your shots… maybe its just because I hate the phenomenon so much when it happens to me).

    I wrote about it here:


  33. Steve November 4, 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Thank you for sharing your experimental work with us; such sharing makes us all better in the end one way or another. Plus, it is a very artistic result which is good for the eyes and spirit.

    Oh, are we supposed to post a critique or an opinion too? Ok, not loosing site of the fact that this was an experimental work and not a paid for shoot, I like them :)

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