Thanks and Giving

Thanks and Giving. For USA readers, today is a holiday where we’re encouraged to take pause and give thanks for all the wonderful people, health, things, and moments in our lives. For the international readers, I’d encourage you to join in.

I’ll start with the THANKS. Most every year, I find that what I’m thankful for boils down to health, family, and community.

Health. I’m thankful that I have had mine for almost every moment of 2009. Traveling and working as much as I do can often take its toll on health, but it rarely does mine. I believe that creating a life for yourself that you want to be living means a lot toward personal health. I’m also thankful for whatever gene I got from my parents or luck I’ve continually received on that front. So thankful.

Family again played a gigantor role for me in 2009. My wife Kate is my superhero, my inspiration, and my best friend. I’d be swimming in circles without her. Dexter, our giant cat who thinks he’s a dog, continues to show me how to love unconditionally. My Dad stared down cancer and… [click ‘continue reading’ link below]

…kicked its ass this year and my mom celebrated her 11th year of being cancer free. They both somehow laugh more each year and keep getting younger despite adding a few more wrinkles. I was humbled again by the warmth and unwavering generosity of my in-laws, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my brother and sister in law for co-creating my first, one and only nephew. He’s both a lover and a little tank at the same time ;) A great reminder of how every new life is so precious. I’m again thankful to my aunts and uncles and grandma with whom I grew yet again closer. I wasn’t around as much for them this year, but in true form they were always there for me. Our extended family continues to inspire, and they remind me so eloquently–and seemingly without effort–of what that word ‘family’ really means.

Community. In 2009, ‘community’ was a constant reminder of what made my life rich beyond my dreams. When I say community, I mean my friends, my co-workers, my co-collaborators, my neighbors, and most definitely YOU. The staff at CJinc brings the love, the passion, the hard work and the dedication to the table everyday, not just Monday thru Friday. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and inspiration. YOU, the photography, art, design, and popular culture community that exists here, on other blogs and virtual salons, gives so much value to the world. Especially as the web somehow more and more viscerally connects translates/maps back into the “real” world. This is a wonderful thing to celebrate. YOU are a wonderful thing that I celebrate and I’m thankful beyond words.

I’ve said it before, but it must be said again today: Within the thousands of comments posted and the millions of visits each year, I draw a ton of strength. I laugh inside when you thank me for this post or that, because in my brain I’m so thankful for your words, your support, your visits, your comments, your ideas, your links to this site, and every ounce of your energy that is spent on your daily visit here. You are the guts and, in many ways, the driver of this pile of words and videos and pictures. I’m thankful. To the max.

Now the GIVING portion.
Giving back should be a core component in everyone’s life. Sometimes we’re better and sometimes we’re worse at giving back, but the action should always be a part of both your moment and your horizon. It’s easy to give back at a distance, but this year, between now and then end of 2009, try giving back in the trenches. Hand someone a wool hat on the street, give your old camera to a student in need, get involved with Help-Portrait, Blue Earth, Youth in Focus, your local 826, the Red Cross, or some other grassroots-dependent organization that requires you to do something rather than just write a check or click ‘submit’. You’ll feel better and the world will get more of what you have to give: the experience of YOU, not just your tax write off.

Lastly. If you feel so inclined, share with us in the comments section below some things YOU’RE thankful for. Anything sincere. I’ll select a handful of comments at my discretion, I’ll track you down, and I’ll send you a signed book, or an iPhone app or something else.

Thank you. I mean it. Have a great holiday weekend. And don’t forget: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

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81 Responses to Thanks and Giving

  1. Kees-Jan November 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Chase, let me be the first to comment on this. Since we don't have Thanksgiving in The Netherlands it's not a holiday here either (although Apple announced black friday here in Europe today, so we're getting close) But there is indeed a lot to be thankful for.
    Apart from being thankful for family, friends and health, I'm thankful for the fact that I stumbled upon help-portrait. Getting this organized together with three other photographers brought a whole new energy to photography in general. New contacts, friendships even.
    Can't wait for december 12th to arrive.
    Thanks for sharing Chase!

  2. Fire Marshal Ken November 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    I am truly thankful for my friends and family, I feel fortunate to have a good and stable job to provide for my family. My health for this is the age that my father was suffering from pancreatic cancer and losing his battle at age 47. For my Children and Grand children who are always able to make me smile and for my wife That I love and cherish today tomorrow and forever.

  3. Lars November 26, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi Chase,
    really good writing!

    Well there are so many things to be thankful for, many of those things we should not need a special day to be thankful for them.
    Those include good health, friends and family + a good job in those days.
    The thing that we should be most thankful at this day, Thanksgiving is the reconnection with people you just see very seldom. Thanksgiving is always a good reason to get everyone together and have some good food and fun.
    Btw Chase thanks for your podcasts I think its a great inspiration for the community.

  4. F.Fridriksson November 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    I've definitely been blessed this last year. I've been on the road traveling, Australia, Europe and the States and I've just been amazed at the hospitality and friendliness of people wherever I go, be it friends or strangers (friends I didn't know existed before). So I'm very grateful for that, since it's expanded my horizons and given me a network of friends all over the world!

  5. Sean Hagwell November 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Thank you for constantly giving back to me…to us. You inspire us in this community to continually push our creativity and produce content that we love. Stay with me…there's a point coming.

    We're creating content we love and in turn, offering those around us art that pushes, stimulates, and opens more and more creative doors. There is a snowball effect there that ends up creating events such as Cowarts' "Help Portrait".

    CJ Inc, point is, the time you invest in us causes us to invest time in others and I'm thankful for your time.

    Keep moving, pushing, and trying new things. Whether you see it or not, you're inspiring us to do the same.

  6. Ruan November 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Every country in the world should have a thanksgiving holiday to reflect on the type of stuff you did. Awesome!

  7. Sterling November 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    After living the last 2 years in Australia, I'm thankful to be back in Canada around my family. It's quite a treat to see relatives multiple times in a week!

  8. Michelle November 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    I'm thankful for people. As a Union rep, I get to see the sides of colleagues that wouldn't normally show; I get to see the lows as they cry on my shoulder after a hearing, I get to see them smile and enjoy their work once the trials are over.

    I'm thankful for the friends who have been there to catch my fall over the years; and I've been happy to help them in return … and the most wonderful part is that no one is keeping score.

    I'm thankful for the sharing that the Internet community has brought; the ability to see life throughout the world as the people see it, not how the media presents it.

    Most of all, I am thankful for my Mother. The trials I have put her through in my youth; it has mostly been overcome and I now have the chance to make it up to her.

  9. cdelphine November 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    I'm thankful for my amazing friends who have really become my family while at college. I'm thankful for my family for their incredible support and for my sweet kitty, snuggling up against me, for loving me.

  10. Adam Belnap November 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    I am thankful for perspective.

    The ability to watch moving clouds, regardless if they are sunny or dark, and to realize how small we are within the grandness of earth.

    The ability to look at my responsibilities and family, and understand how important I am to them – and how proud and fulfilling they are for me.

    I am thankful for determination and dreams, as I couldn't imagine getting up in the morning without pursuing something – regardless of its attainability, or worth.

    I am thankful for moments that change your life, and being able to listen to those moments and change.

    I am Canadian, and I am thankful for Canada just as much as I am thankful for the world. I am thankful that the planet is made of people, not borders.

    Happy Thanksgiving USA…..And Thanks and Giving to everyone.

  11. willmer November 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    im a mexican , do not celebrate this day , but…
    Im allways thankfull, for those who love me with no limits , my son Akira , im forgiving myself because i´ve been demanding him so much ,at school, at home , at himself. i want this world be better , and the truly way to do that its trough my son who is eight, and my new brand son 40 days born now. i want them be different from what i am , a man who growup too late, im 31 y.old. and this is the moment where im begining to do something , since i was 16 thougt that there was something wrong with the world , begin reading about pollution, corruption(not sure about this word), people whos only thougts where how to achieve easy money , making false promises, using people, making them believe they ill do something for them and then nothing happen, since i turned 16 i was ungry about people at my hometown who just wanted money from gouverment, people who need medical asistance but they dont want to pay their taxes , dont want take risk , they allways are scared , allways thinking that everything will go wrong, and for that fear do not do nothing. remain still , remain silence, letting other people abused of them and other, because they think in the future they will be cheating.
    but its until now , im strong enough to confront my hometown, ive been living in a lethargy, but this year i began my new for make a change in the way they see life, work for making then look for hapyness in somethin else beside the money and material things.
    thats why im thankfull for finding my courage to do a little thing to make the difference.
    and thank you chase , for give all of us this space to xpress ourselve with confidence.

  12. David November 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    The pedant in me wants to say that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, not thanks and giving, but that would be inappropriate right now :-)

    I am thankful for so many things. I am really thankful for my life. I am thankful that I have finished uni (as of yesterday!) and now have a good job lined up. I am thankful that I have somewhere to live. I am thankful for a great family and a great bunch of friends. I am thankful for the time and money that I have to invest in photography. Actually, I am thankful for the time and money that I have to invest in all my non-work related interests; I look around and see a nice bike, juggling balls, juggling clubs, a unicycle, piles of books, and the box for a Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS. Yeah, life is good. God is good.

  13. Marc Pritchard November 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    What a lovely post!

    I'm thankful of the opportunities that photography has given me. The experiences and travels but mostly from meeting and working with such great people. Some of which are great friends.

    I'm still young and having such great support from the online community is truly amazing. It's something I imagine wasn't available 10 years ago and is invaluable for someone trying to make a living in this industry. Something which you have been part of and encouraging Chase.

    So.. thanks for the blog posts, podcast and videos. I look forward to seeing more over the next year!


  14. Stephan Mantler November 26, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    I am infinitely thankful for the friendship and love of my friends and family. Life has been getting in the way of seeing them all as often as I'd have liked to, but whenever we did finally see each other again after weeks or even months, I always felt as welcome as ever. I am very, very proud to have friends like that.

    Also, in times like these I am actually also thankful for my current job, which – as stressful as it is – also has its truly rewarding moments, tolerates me cycling to work every single day of the year, and allows me (and actually encourages me) to pursue my photographic endeavors.

    I've been trying to give back in many ways, by supporting various social institutions with donated clothes, food coupons and time, and also organizing free photography workshops for beginners and by getting involved in help-portrait…

    Take care,

  15. Miguel November 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Although I don't live in the states I've always liked Thanksgiving. In a way I prefer it over Christmas because Christmas is so commercial these days.

    This year I've found it a bit hard to be thankful. Being only a month since I split from my wife. However, I did have dinner with my two little daughters and realize how fortunate I am from having them and having their sincere love. So, I am thankful for them. And also thankful for the friends that have kept me going on the hard times.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Chris Snowden November 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm #


    In 2005 i was made redundant from a Sports Photography agency where I worked for four years. Having worked alongside Nikon and Canon professionals for four years and with Photography being my passion in life, it was a bitter pill to swallow. I was offered a graphic designer for a rival company soon after and during the first year I had very little time to spend behind the camera and dare I admit, lost my passion! …. Until

    In january 2009 I was looking to purchase a new Nikon DSLR and came accross a video on Youtube where you guys roadtested the Nikon D90 and BANG … The passion was reborn. It should never have gone in the first place but could not let lost time hold me back. Every spare moment in my day is spent looking for inspiration and new ideas to improve my skills behind the camera and I thankyou and your team for giving me the kick up the ass I needed to get me back on track. A truly heartfelt thankyou for bringing the joy and passion of photography back into my life

    Thankyou Chase

    Chris Snowden

  17. Noo November 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    We also don't have Thanksgiving here in Australia, however I am thankful for the opportunites I have had to follow my dream as a film maker. I'm thankful for my mums support and belief that I can do what ever I put my mind to. And I'm thankful for my health and my support networks around me.
    Without these dreams and people, I wouldn't be thankful for a thing.

  18. cristina November 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    well, it seems it is easy to make you laugh, so thanks for the blog and you are welcome to the link in my site ;)

    i grew up between cameras, slides and photos thanks to my dad who in the mid 70's had his first camera as a present from my uncle David (rip), thanks David wherever you are…

    in 1997 i leaved aside my minolta…but this year thanks to a new friend 2denias i started again, i bought in may a nikon d40 and i'm so happy with everything, that i cannot tell here in two lines.

    Thanks to Erika for her encouragement and to Emmanuel for 15 years of patience.

    Thanks 2009!!

    Kris (Spain)

  19. lukken photography November 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    Hey Chase

    i just wanted to say i am thankful for everything i have and everyone in my life, this year has been amazing, putting all that aside i want to thank you personally for everything you do for the photography community. The inspiration you given to all of us out in this world its unmeasurable so i Thank YOU & your kick ass staff. #cjnyc was amazing, i already have a signed book which i thank you for again.

    best of wishes to all!

  20. lukken photography November 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Hey Chase

    i just wanted to say i am thankful for everything i have and everyone in my life, this year has been amazing, putting all that aside i want to thank you personally for everything you do for the photography community. The inspiration you given to all of us out in this world its unmeasurable so i Thank YOU & your kick ass staff. #cjnyc was amazing, i already have a signed book which i thank you for again.

    best of wishes to all!

  21. Mirko November 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    Chase (and staff):

    I'm from Patagonia, which means that i'm excluded from that holiday that you americans live and enjoy in this time of the year. I've posted just a few times here but i've read and examined this entire site, both your portfolio page and your blog and i am really thankful for the passion and love you put in every single thing that you do. You inspire me not only in how a photographer sould be, or the things that one must do, but in a very humble and subtle way of being a better person.

    I can't spend a day without giving thanks to the place where i was born, the people i've met along my life and all the things i can do with my mind, my body and my heart.

    As Lord Byron once said: "Happiness is only real when shared".

    Thank you for sharing.

  22. ken November 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Hi Chase,

    I'm thankful for being loved and for having people to love. They hippies knew what they were talking about, except for the drugs of course ;)

    Thanks for making the book. A little expensive for someone with my income but it was well worth it.

    (With the help of some friends, I have done a variation of your Eating and drinking… Not with just musicians but with "creative" people. Thanks for straitening up an old, vague idea of mine.)

  23. John Barclay November 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    I am thankful for Miss Spinney, my 11th grade history teacher who (34 years ago) after failing my midterm exam loved me enough to take me into her classroom after school on day. She looked me in the eye and said I could do better. She said I was smart when I did not think so. She believed in me.

    It took me about 20 years to truly understand what a loving act that was on her part. I tracked her down and thanked her for believing in me and that in retrospect it she who helped mold me into who I became. I now find great joy in doing much the same for others as I teach photography workshops.

    So thank you Miss Spinney and all the other dedicated educators who give so much but are often taken for-granted…

  24. Anonymous November 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Im max from germany… but i live in the us for 9 months a year…

    i thank my friends family and creativity.

    i dont know much about thanksgiving, but i will be here today to thank everything!

  25. johnnyu001 November 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    I'm thankful that after being a photographer for like, a thousand years now, I'm at the point where I can jump on a plane with a bunch of doctors, fly to the other side of the world, watch them rebuild a child's face, for free and then use my images to make more money to send more doctors all over the world.

    So worth this long journey and so much to be thankful for.

  26. Sunshine November 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Chase,
    Glad you had a wonderful Thanks Giving, and may you continue to be blessed through out the years!!

  27. Travis Fellows November 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    I have to say that I'm truly thankful to have not just one, but two jobs at a time when some people are not able to say that. I've been able to pay the bills AND pursue my hobby of photography with even greater momentum than in previous years. Along those lines, I'm also thankful for the friends and family who put up with my hectic schedule and encourage me at every step along the way.

  28. November 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    I'm very thankful to have such a caring photographer in you Chase Jarvis. Just in reading your blog, you feel like a friend. I learn so much here and take away so much professionalism. This is the single greatest influence on my professional life and helps me to action upon my ideas about service.

    Stay awesome!

  29. Hasby Tanjung November 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    I am thankful for God, my wife and two daughters.

    I am thankful for my job. In this economy, where a lot of people is losing their jobs and having hard time to find a new one, I am thankful I still have a job.

    In the midst of this layoff and tough economy, I am thankful for the group of photographers, make-up artists and volunteers in Harrisburg, PA area that have volunteer for Help-Portrait Harrisburg. I am thankful for my friends that while they will not participate directly on the Help-Portrait, but yet want to donate to cover the costs of prints, foods and snacks.

    I am thankful that I will have opportunity to give through photography, but even more, while I know the people that we will reach out for Help-Portrait will be blessed, I am sure we, the volunteers, will be more touched and blessed by this event more than we would imagine.


  30. Regi November 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Good on you for all the wonderful work and thoughts you've been sharing with the rest of us photogs.
    I've been a close follower of your work for many years and I admit every now and then I've learned a few tips from you.
    After spending over 13 years with newspapers and stringing for wires, today I'm without regular work.
    As I'm posting this, I wonder if I get to continue shooting and still make a living?
    However, I'm thankful for all the opportunities that I got so far because of photography. And to my family and friends who always encouraged me.
    People like you are always an inspiration to go out and shoot. Even if I can't make it big, I hope I will get to continue shooting and still make a living.
    Keep up the good work always. Thank you and good luck to each one of you out there.

  31. Steve Skelton November 26, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I'm especially thankful for Zack Arias. As a lot of you know, he's been a big figure in photography over the last year. Not only is he a huge talent in the industry, but he's a hell of a good hearted human being.

    I had been a cabinet/furniture maker for the last twelve years of my life. Photography was simply something I did on the weekends for the fun of it. Well, last year, I lost my job. I was already headed into the idea of selling landscape and fine art prints, but had no idea where to go from the press of the shutter. Zack had me come down to his workshop (on his dime), and pretty much taught me everything I know about portrait photography today.

    He has continued to motivate me by keeping in regular contact, offering to loan me gear, and showing me the ins and outs of the business side of photography as well.

    This, to this day, still blows my mind. Sometimes I still can't believe it is happening. I've met other artists from other mediums, painters, musicians, actors and the like, and it just blows my mind to see that the "superstars" of photography like Chase and Zack actually want others to succeed. It's a wonderful community that I'm thankful and proud to be a part of.

  32. jeremy cooper November 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    i am thankfull for my sensi,my mother,grandmother, and my uncle. each one has given back to me there own special teachings that only a lifetime of learning can create. everyone of them kicked my butt when i desereved it, hugged me when i needed it,guided me when i was lost, and gave me what i needed to make it. thank you all
    jeremy cooper, age 16

  33. jeremy mayhew November 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    of course i am thankful for all you do…but mostly I am thankful for my myles and my amelia, who have shown me why I am on this earth…to be their dad.

  34. jeremy mayhew November 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    of course i am thankful for all you do…but mostly I am thankful for my myles and my amelia, who have shown me why I am on this earth…to be their dad.

  35. Rusty November 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    I am thankful for my salvation and my family.

  36. Madhumati Yoga November 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Hi Chase… even though I'm not a photog I really enjoy your writings. I'm thankful for my family and health, and for all the freedom to speak what I want, do what I want, and express myself the way I want… and to see what comes back. I once heard a great quote, that giving and receiving are essentially the same thing… but giving is more real.

  37. Steve Smith November 26, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    I watched a video recently of people being asked what they are thankful for, it was rather interesting and diverse. I thought I would do my own variation on that theme.
    Here it is……..

  38. Chase November 26, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    I am very very thankful that my wife and I are going to have our first child. We have been trying for a while now. It has been a very very hard time for us becuase she miscarried twice within a year, and no one knew why this was happening. We didnt know she was pregnant this third time till around five weeks. This time there is a healthy baby in there with a nice, fast heartbeat! Its been rough on us though cause the doctors have put her on bed rest, and she is only thirteen weeks along. Hopefully she will be off soon. But I am also thankful for family because they have helped us so much through the first two pregnacy/miscarriages and now have helped out so much while my wife has been on bed rest. I love family! They have just been awesome, and the holidays are even better because we are all together! From one Chase to another, Thanks for the great read and letting us know what you are thankful for!


  39. Luke Kermode November 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    I am a student learning photography, I am so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to help me. I hope that if i am any good some day that I can do the same to somebody in my shoes.

  40. Kingchild November 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. It was very well said. And thanks for giving to the world community the way you do.

    I'm thankful for my family, friends, and God's provision in my life over the past year+ that I've been out of a job. It's so amazing and humbling to to know that my wife and our three little girls will be just fine. I start my new job on Tuesday morning. It'll be fun to start an new adventure and explore the road that sits before us!

  41. Ollie November 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Putting my personal and career life areas aside, just feel the need to thank you for everything you have been telling us all about, im sure everyone else feels the same but Id just like to point out how much of a huge influence and inspiration both you work and all the info you share with us on here is. Keep it going, we love it !

  42. bikejohn November 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    I'm thankful for a wonderful wife who loves me even when I'm not particularly lovable. I'm thankful for two wonderful teenage children who, despite my best efforts, have turned out to be good people that I truly enjoy being around. And I'm thankful for friends who inspire me to be better tomorrow than I am today.

  43. Josh Berg November 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    Stop and think about the name "Thanksgiving." What does it mean? It is a day when we give thanks. But who are we giving our thanks to? We thank friends for their help and camaraderie. We thank family for their love, support, and encouragement. But who do we thank for everything else? What about our health? Who gets credit for that? What about our jobs, food, shelter? We say, "I'm thankful for "this and this and this?" But where does "this" come from? Who do we give our thanks to for those things?
    The Bible says that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…" It also says that we are to "Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
    I'm thankful that I have a God who loves and provides for me. He gets ALL the credit.

  44. Joshua November 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    This is the first year my wife and I have spent away from our families for Thanksgiving. We literally moved from Toledo, Ohio 1500 miles southwest to Albuquerque, New Mexico just last week. So what I'm thankful this year is a little different…

    I am first and foremost thankful for an amazing and supportive wife to be with my on this amazing journey of life. We're here in ABQ because she believes in me, and there is nothing like that in the world.

    I am also thankful for new friends, and old friends alike. You can always tell who your real friends are by who shows up to help you move =)

    And lastly, I am thankful for GPS. I can't imaging picking up and moving to a completely foreign place without having GPS… what are these paper maps you speak of?

  45. a scott November 26, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    I am thankful that my sneaky and wonderful girlfriend managed to snag one of the last signed copies of your book and give it to me for Christmas!

    …and beyond that, I'm really just thankful for her, for community, for life, and for Grace.

  46. Simon F November 26, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Great post Chase.

    Firstly, thank you for your sharing & inspiration – yes we are all part of this big creative wheel but you are the one keeping it turning.

    I am thankful for a lot of things – loving family & friends, good health and being fortunate enough to make choices where many others in this world can't.

    On the photography side, I am truly thankful for my ability to see – without that none of the enjoyment of viewing images or creating them would be possible. My mother's eyesight has been steadily deteriorating over the last few years due to 'macular degeneration' – I now describe my latest creations to her as she is always keen to know what I've been up to – I love her very much & she has always been an inspiration to me… and another reminder to never take anything for granted.

  47. mycomfortroom November 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Hi Chase,
    Three or four days ago I was busy surfing the net for photography basics (I wanted to improve in photography which is a hobby for now…but then I'm considering it as my career in the future other than being a nurse.) and I saw your website.:)Your images captured my eyes and everyday I've been visiting, reading and even followed you on twitter. We don't have Thanksgiving in the Philippines but for today I want thank you for your images, blogs, and help for your "community". You are one inspiration I'd love to me some day.

  48. silliesbuyo November 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Hey Chase! Happy thanksgiving! Here in the Philippines, we don't actually celebrate it but in my family we do. We do thank each and everyone who has been a part, an inspiration and anything that we could think of to thank someone or anyone.

    It's not really you that needs to be thankful, but it's US, your followers and people who you have inspired through the years should be thankful for having such a great person such us you. Your undying and unconditional sharing of knowledge, jokes and what not. I personally is a follower of your blog, watched every videos that I see and find and practice each tip and trip to the point that I recreate what you have done. I also got aware of the help-portrait event and trying to setup an event here in Manila.

    Lastly, I firmly believe that its not how much you get from something but how much you give to make that something a great thing. As I say, we cannot change the world but we can change ourselves.

    Again, kudos to you, a great mentor, and to your staff who are great inspirations as well.

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  49. trace November 26, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    Chase, great news about your parents! A really big thing to be thankful for. It helps to hear that. A wonderful project I recently came across is helping with finding a cure for cancer, and particularly with children. There is a photo element to the project called SkyAide – Jumping for a cure! .
    As a really fun type of guy, it would be sweet if you wanted to join in, or your whole crew! Skis, snowboards, legs, anything that makes for jumping is welcome. Thanks for sharing your gratitude list, and as Kees-Jan said, your support for help-portrait and the community @ large is terrific! Thank you…

  50. Will November 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    I've had a bit of a tumultuous fall, having lost two friends, one of them being my college senior year roommate. He was an incredible person, and I will be forever changed for the better and thankful that he was a part of my life, albeit for a brief time.

    What makes the loss all the more difficult was that I'm going through the grieving process halfway around the world, but again, it's given me the opportunity to realise the friendships I've made. Last year, I was celebrating Thanksgiving in Downington, PA with Eliot's family; this year, I celebrated it with fellow teachers in Singapore. Being a Canadian, "American Thanksgiving" was never a big deal to me while going to school in New Jersey the past four years. From now on, though, it is going to be a day of remembrance and thanks for those I hold dear to my heart.

  51. dougjantz November 26, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    Love the Thanksgiving thoughts!! I wrote a TG article as well on my blog!

  52. Noel November 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    I'm thankful for those who have helped me along the way. Without those who opened my eyes and taught me a few things, I would have no way of "paying it forward".

  53. TenisD November 27, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    Hei man,
    thank You for everything!!
    Realy, U are a great inspiration for me here.
    And not only Your portfolio, but all the videos and bloggings and stuff.

    This last year i have understod the most, about how we dont appriciate things that have been given until they are gone.
    I see it happening all around me.
    Most of the things we take for granted too much.
    I thank God every day for what i have. For what we have.
    Not only on Thanksgiving.
    Everyday! U know life is wonderful if You make it wonderful and amazing stuff happens all the time.
    Every one of us is a mirracle,
    and i mean every one.
    People, animals, birds, nature, roots and elephants – everything!

    Photography somehow helps to open eyes for other people who are not so lucky to be able to see it.
    Thats why everyone loves National Geographic pictures for example.
    Thank You for being a part of the world that shows these little mirracles to the other part.

    P.s. We dont have Thanksgiving here, and what You and Mc Nally wrote was so amazing and opposite american Tv series and movies.
    I didn't wrote this because of the books or something.
    I want them, but il get them someday, some other way.
    Otherwise my words would loose the meaning and i would feel a little greedy somehow.
    Just wanted to take a part of something so amazing :)

  54. Hipporage November 27, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    I'm thankful for the opportunity my parents gave me to send me to live in France this year. I felt like I was getting lost back home. I couldn't find inspiration and I was really Sinking. France was like a breath of fresh air and I'm so thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones. The past five months have been so amazing. I'm am so happy to have met so many amazing people through out my travels. It has really proved to me that you can't believe the negative things people say about people from other countries. We really are wonderfully different but we all love, we all care, we all just want to live a positive life and reach for something better. Thanks to everyone I've met for making my life a bit brighter.
    I'm So so thankful for this amazing experience of my life that is rapidly coming to an end. I am actually fired up to go back home and get to working towards my goals. I'm so PUMPED! One of my goals would be to collaborate on something super amazing with you Chase.
    Finally I really am so thankful for "the community." Your blog, Strobist, Alexx Henry's, Drew Gardner's, Joe McNally's, Melissa Rodwell's and countless others in the community. Really without pros like you all I really wouldn't even know where to start. Thank You!

  55. mat gardella November 27, 2009 at 4:42 am #


    Let me begin by thanking you for taking the time and $$ you put into giving back to the photog community. It inspires more than photography and i want to confirm what you have already known. giving works! I am thankful this year for what i am always most thankful for, my girls…. My wife and four daughters have become my main inspiration. My girls range from six to seven months and they are a constant inspiration. Parenting is by far the toughest job on the planet but without them, i would have forgotten how to see the world as a child does. I also would not have so many models to practice with. So far, they have taught me that PINK can be cool, that i CAN do a ponytail if i try, that it is possible to love unconditionally, and that sometimes, a smile can change the world. I am thankful for their love and devotion to me and for their inspiring me when my creativity seems to be lost. Without them, i would have never have picked up a camera…
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    in thanks,

  56. Kristine November 27, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    I don't celebrate Thanksgiving (Norwegian) but I think it's a great tradition. I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for my two healthy, happy children. I am thankful for free healthcare and free education. I am thankful that we live in an area where the kids are safe to play outside. I am thankful for the forest, the sea and the mountains. I am thankful for the little things, like good coffee and comfortable high heels. I am thankful for my camera, and I am thankful for blogs like this one. I am thankful for feeling safe every day, even in an unsafe world. I am thankful for phones, airplanes, e-mail and the internet, and the fact that I am able to stay in touch with friends and family all around the world.

  57. Kyle Tuttle November 27, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    Hi Chase,

    Like everyone, I too am thankful for friends, family etc.
    What im truly most thankful for, is being able to wake up each morning, and be completely unaware what it will bring. I was reading a few quotes yesterday, I can't remember the specifics, but the one that struck me was ''a real man's character is judged by how he treats those who have no benefit to him''… I believe that going out into the day, and changing the hearts of those that do not benefit us benefit us the most. They fill us with the most joy happiness and warmth inside, and provide the biggest boost of inspiration. That is what I am thankful for. Thankful for knowing that I can creative such positive energy in my life, by sharing my life with others around me, and helping to change it with those around me. Whether its a photo walk, charitable donations, or sharing stories in the workplace.

    Have a great thanksgiving.
    Toronto, Canada.

  58. Duke November 27, 2009 at 7:54 am #


    I am very thankful for my 2 1/2 year old son. He is my entire world. I have learned so much since he arrived. I had no idea what I was missing.

    Sending out good thoughts for you and Kate for a healthy happy pregnancy.



  59. Ryan Smith November 27, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    From my blog:

    I am thankful to have shared the past 9 years with my soulmate, Larissa. She is my wife, business partner and most importantly, my best friend.

    I am thankful for my most loyal adventurer, Sadie. She pushes me in ways that only a four-legged creature can and she never holds a grudge when I have to cut our run short.

    I am thankful for the abundance in my life. I am never without love, friendship, food or a home.

  60. karen bobotas November 27, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Thankful for the opportunity to share my view of the world around me through the click of the shutter. My experiment for yesterday during "thanks for giving" day with family and friends was setting up a "photo booth" area for everyone to come by for a series of nine images in about 20 seconds. The resulting photographs were hilariously priceless as well as the memories they will spark for years to come. Photography always make me smile – for that I am so thankful!

    karen b

  61. Josh November 27, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    I'm truly thankful this year. This time last year I was just getting up onto my feet from being in a wheelchair for a few months after a horrible car accident. I've made the long road to recovery and I'm pretty much 100% now. My family yesterday was very happy to see that I was back and happy as ever this year.

  62. Ignis November 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    I am thankful for all the bad things that came, for the person that broke my camera, for health that put me in hospital twice, for never enough money to live – without them I wouldn't grow as much. For the good things and people too, but they know who they are :)

  63. Motormouth November 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    This season, as for many people, is my favorite time of the year. I try to be thankful all year long, but during this time of the year, it's ready on my mind, and constantly in my thoughts.
    I lead a very blessed life, and am thankful for my family, friends, and wonderful community. Perhaps the thing that I am most thankful for this year is my wonderful job. This is a difficult time for many, and I feel very blessed to be able to work in order to pay my bills, and support myself. I am also thankful that I enjoy my job. I look forward to working every day, and that in itself is a blessing.

  64. Ricky Lopez November 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    I couldn't put down in words what I am thankful for, but will try: like you, my mother is 6 years breast cancer free and I am grateful everyday that she is still with us. It wasn't her time. I honestly am thankful for waking up everyday, I am thankful for being in a country that provides opportunity despite down times. I am also thankful for photography resources like the 1 you provide: it gives me hope that someday I can turn my life long passion into a reality.


  65. Steven Vaughn November 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    First I am thankful for my family. Through all the hardships and things that rip many family's apart we have bonded together in a way that is pretty amazing.
    Then for all my friends, who have become part of my family, and a constant reminder me how blessed I am.
    Last to be able to pursue a career in photography. Where some places in the world don't have or aren't allowed to take photographs.

  66. Annalynn November 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    What an excellent post! It pretty much sums up how I feel at this very moment even though "Thanksgiving" is officially finished and "Black Friday" will soon come to a close.

    Major events of 2009: Layoff; Death of grandfather in a tragic accident; Ninety year old grandfather suffered a stroke and fell into a coma; and cousin from Chicago passed away five days before Turkey Day.

    Just from reading this list most people might be aghast by all these tragic events, but the key event was my layoff which happened in January of 2009. Had I not been laid off earlier this year, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Manila in May to organize and celebrate my grandfather's 90th birthday before he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma for two days in October.

    Because I am still unemployed, I was able to spend three weeks consoling and helping my grandmother in Washington DC after "Gramps" passed away in a very tragic accident while visiting my uncle in Texas (Oct-Nov).

    This is the first time in my life I have ever been "orphaned" during the Holidays because my parents went back to Manila to care for my 90 year old grandfather. However, despite being an orphan I had multiple invitations to spend Thanksgiving with various friends and family. It was difficult to squeeze all of the visits into one day, but I am very thankful for having loved ones nearby. I am most thankful for having had the opportunity to spend most of 2009 with family who needed my assistance, especially my Dad who suffered from complications of his cancer treatment earlier this year (in less than two months time he received 50+ blood transfusions).

    In spite of all these events, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see the silver lining of being unemployed for almost eleven months. Here's to better things in December and the New Year!


    Thanks for sharing, Chase!

  67. Dave November 28, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    I'm thankful that I've finally met the woman I'm going to spend the rest of my life with and that my friend Greg shoved a camera in my hands six years ago and said, "Go do something". Now, how to photography my own wedding…this will be the best challenge yet! Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful images you create.

  68. RV November 28, 2009 at 3:21 am #

    Yeah, easy for you Chase. You're lucky enough to not care about reality and live in a joyful bubble.

    I'm thankful for nothing, because nothing really matters. I'd rather never born if I had a choice. Unfortunately, no one had asked me. I write it to give those comments a bit of proper color.

  69. Jessica Dillon November 28, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    I am thankful to be a princess of the world – by that I mean an average American. I am thankful for the happiness I feel when I am photographing, and for the beauty of light. I am thankful for my husband and two daughters. I am thankful for the gift of life.

  70. Abba November 28, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    Apart from thanking God every day for being healthy, just waking up every day and finding miraculously that everything in me works, and also thanking God for family and giving me eyes to be able to see – I also thank Chase Jarvis for being a constants inspiration and being such a mensch. Abba Richman, Israel.

  71. Chase Jarvis November 28, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    @RV: i don't live in a bubble. and plenty really matters. my thoughts are with you.

  72. Megan Case November 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I have unlimitless thanks to our dear friends that have allowed us to move into their home when times got hard this year. We are now peacefully thriving through a blissful coexistence together, saving our money, and ready to buy a new home any day now. I am thankful that they have allowed our furry four legged children to be here as well……they have done a LOT of perfecting on their squirrel hunting skills. I am thankful to my husband for loving me through my jagged and cavernous faults. I am also thankful to myself. I used to be a sidelines person. I used to envy all of the interesting things that other people were doing. This year, I picked up a camera, am learning all I can, and have come a long damn way!!!!

    I, and many others, are thankful that there are such highly skilled photographers with such bottomless hearts to provide direction and inspiration. Thanks Chase.

    P.S. Thanks for exposing me to Help Portrait- I am now a site leader for one of the Atlanta, GA locations and can't WAIT for Dec. 12th!!

  73. RV November 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    @Chase: I'm just glad for you Chase, I'm just saying I never achieve even half what you achieved because I don't have that part of what it takes to do that and I'm not an American.. I'd really want to be "just" a high-end retoucher on team like yours, I know it's the only thing I enjoy. I'm really lost without it.

    And by reality I mean that we're all facing death eventually, and there's no escape from that. You're really fortunate to make your dreams come true and it automatically comes more easily for you to be thankful. If I had what you have I'd be thankful, too. I think without your work you'd be lost, too living with the burden of cancer history in your family and waiting for the pain to come.

    Thus having a dream job is like living in a bubble and I'm not using that as a pejorative.. It's just real fortune and good genes of yours that enabled you to earn what you have. You're the man! :)

  74. Kok Wai November 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    Hi Chase,

    Thank you for your selfless sharing.

    For me, I am just thankful of being alive and having the ability to make a living.

    Thankful of able to love and be loved.

    Thankful of being able to do what I love and show that love in the work.

    Thankful of our good God of being in control of all things and the peace He gives me.

    God bless all and happy Thanks Giving from Singapore.

  75. Sanford November 30, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    As a photojournalist I see many who are not as fortunate as myself. I try to give thanks as much as possible. With every Army welcome home ceremony I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in this country with men and women who sacrifice so much to watch our backs. I am incredibly thankful for my wife and children, gifts that are truly priceless. I am grateful for friendships, my families health and a growing freelance biz. I am thankful to have survived 3 rounds of layoffs at the paper when so many did not. I am thankful to Jarvis, McNally, Richards, Mark, and all photographers who continue to inspire. Hope everyone enjoys the season.


  76. mortalwombat November 30, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    One of the things I have grown increasingly thankful for over the last year is the wealth of helpful hands on the internet. Chase, you are just one of the many many sources of inspiration and information I have found to help develop my photography habit.

    I am only a beginning photographer, but I try to imagine how it would have been before the internet. I am not surrounded by a local photography community, so inspiration would be left to magazines and other publications.

    Instead, I can waste away my time at my day job pouring through endless photos, reading about peoples techniques, and gathering endless inspiration from great people all over the world. The internet, I am sure, has changed photography drastically; In my world, it has made it more amazing than I ever expected.

    This is just one of the many many things I have to be thankful for this year.

  77. Thomas December 5, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    This year I have a lot to be thankful for, not least of which is my life. I and my Fiance travel full time and recently lost our truck and travel trailer in a fire, along with everything we own.

    however, we live in a most amazing traveling community. People have stepped in and helped get back on our feet. So I am unbelievably thankful to all of them. We have even been donated a vehicle, so we can continue to travel and work. Absolutely amazing people.

  78. Jujee December 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    In early 2006 my mother started having random medical issues. This resulted in 7 ambulance rides, a million visits to every specialist under the sun, and my family pushing the medical system to be an advocate for my mom.

    Last year, nearly 4 years later, my mother continues to be a medical mystery with 2 major issues going on. The first is an Alzeihmer's like process but will never be fully diagnosed. The second is a rare autonomic nervous system issue that will also never be diagnosed. Whenever she has "episodes" with the 2nd issue, her Alzeihmer's like process gets worse.

    As disheartening and extremely sad it is to know that with the medical advances in this world, something can go unanswered and no one can treat accordingly, this past Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family.

    I have had to learn to grieve for my mother who continues to disappear right in front of my eyes. I have had to learn to grieve for the passionate personality of my crazy Italian father dim as he does nothing but put my mother first. I have had to grieve for my sister who is saddened by seeing her children's grandmother not recall intimate childhood details.

    But even throughout all of this heartache, I could never get out of bed in the morning if I was not blessed with such an incredibly loving, dedicated, committed family. This is what being here on this earth truly means.

    Thank you Chase for asking this question.

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