There Are No Excuses

I’ve heard you say that there’s nothing to take a picture of. I’ve heard you say you don’t know what to make, when to make it, how to make it, what to do. I’ve heard you say that you don’t know how to get your work “out there”. I’ve heard you say that you don’t know what to put on your blog. I’ve heard. I’ve heard. I’ve heard. And I promise you, I too have said all these things.

But there really are no excuses. Just make something and share it. You could make something in a day, just like these guys made this video. Or that thing, or that other thing. No excuses. These 2 guys had a wonderful, simple curiosity about a street in their home city of Toronto. So they explored it. They took a day and they made something.

Now. By itself, this isn’t going to land them in a museum. Or get them an editorial job shooting for a magazine. Or a campaign. But they’re not sitting in their dark basements doing nothing. They’re making something. They’re living the Create-Share-Sustain paradigm. They’ll make this cool thing. And then another cool thing. And then another cool thing. And then, you know what? They…[click ‘continue reading’ link below]

…they will get contacted to shoot an editorial job, or a campaign, or to hang in the Tate.

It’s not any ONE thing we do. We might make a splash with something, but that is short lived. Just like I don’t get to know you through a first introduction at a party. Or via a single tweet, for example. I get to know about you through lots of interactions or the sum of your twitter stream. It’s the collection of our work–the repeat cycle of making things and sending them out into the word–that helps us illustrate who we are, what we stand for, where we’re going and why.

Go make something and share it.

(thx for the tip @jacoblied)

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72 Responses to There Are No Excuses

  1. Tim January 10, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Great post Chase! You are so right there really are no excuses! Well said!

  2. Marc Pritchard January 10, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Found that video before and loved it. Great for sharing and I love the switch to the other perspective.

    Totally agree on continually producing – of course it's never easy but it's a must!

  3. Chris Mills January 10, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    The net is such a fantastic canvass for creative expression.

  4. SarahRachel January 10, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Very inspiring, and VERY true. I have found myself saying those things a lot since I got out of photography school. It's a big world out there, but you can't use excuses forever, or as my mom says, "use crutches for the rest of your life".. at some point you've got to walk on your own and face your fears!

  5. Christopher January 10, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Hah. I made my first youtube video today. Here it is (German)

  6. Jason Pablo January 10, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Wow, Chase! Your blogs always encourages me. No excuses for me not to take a photo a day and complete my 365! Btw, you just inspired me again in my day 10 shot at my blog!

    Thanks Chase!

  7. Jess January 10, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    So true. I'm attacking my first 365 and after just 9 days, it's amazing to me how it drives creativity in how I make a photo, how I look at the world, and what stories it inspires me to tell.

  8. Alex No Logo January 10, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    The great gift of human beans is to create. Thank you for always encouraging people to learn, create, share, and keep growing.

  9. David Redding January 10, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I said all those excuses before. For the first 3 years I read and looked at pictures more then I had my camera to my eye. 2009 I fired off more shots then I did my whole photographic life.

    One of my biggest excuses was my day job. I always saw those 14 hours a day of driving in a truck is what really held men back. I couldn't shoot what I wanted to shoot because I worked to much…Then I took my 70 hour a week day job and used it to help my photography with 18 Wheels and Camera.

    best move I have ever done and we all know who I have to thank for that ;)

  10. Sunshine January 10, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Never waste your talent! I lost most of my eye site in Sept. due to a sever allergic reaction to a antibiotic. I cant see the settings on my camera now. But I just assess the lighting and tell my partner what settings I want and he puts them in and then I pose and direct and shoot away. So, even mostly blind people can take pictures.

  11. Marvos January 10, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Exactly the reason why I started my website: where I post 1 picture a day made on the same day. Which means I'm giving myself a kick in the bud everyday ;-)

  12. Pamela Swan January 10, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Thank you for the encouragement. I look forward to your teaching and tips and am grateful for your giving spirit and willingness to share with complete strangers. Pam from Bowdoin, ME

  13. jforest January 10, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    This is so true. I'm doing a Project365 and yes, it's hard sometimes to decide what to photograph. But you know what? I have been able to make it happen for 36 days running, and that's not bad. It's been tough, but it's possible. Sure some of my shots aren't so good, but I'm learning. The process of DOING something is helping me learn so much!

  14. Susan January 10, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Well said, inspiring post! Happy New Year and happy shooting!

  15. dale h lewis January 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I had no clue what I was doing last fall when I did this;

    at a fundraiser for elementary kids up in SF at Ocean Beach. In the end I learned a lot, not that I consider it to be very good work compared to others, but none the less I really enjoyed doing this.

  16. David Kenna January 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Always a challenging time of the year to get the motivation going….. Thanks for the inspirational words and link….

  17. David Peacock January 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Very cool stuff! I always wondered just how far Yonge Street does actually go. These guys did a superb job – and you're so right about getting out there and doing something.

  18. Selina Maitreya January 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Just remember what you create and choose to share does not need to be as extensive or "perfect"as Young st.
    It needs to be integral to you, and something that serves…period. Don 't wait for the "Right" thing to shoot or , the "Perfect" shot.
    Get into the habit of shoot, "trust."and post.

  19. James Duncan Davidson January 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    If you need a little nudge, my friend Mike Clark and I put together the Daily Shoot website. No rules. No contests. Just a bit of something every day to maybe start out a photo exploration:

  20. Alexandra January 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    I looove this post. So true, so true.

  21. exoticat January 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I had just used the create-share paradigm via twitter when I saw your tweet. *Perfect kismet.* Keep on doing what you're doing, I love it!

  22. Andriy January 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    The truth is that laziness is the real reason behind keeping your butt on the couch. All the excuses just trying to hide this.

  23. David Porter January 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    So true!

  24. Chase Jarvis January 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Amen to what @selina said. Nothing is perfect. Make sure it's YOU its REAL, and get it out there. And repeat.

  25. jag January 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Thank you for the inspiration. Thanks to you I've started my iPhone 365 on . Keep up the great work – us mere mortals need you!

  26. Joshua January 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    I always try to catch myself before an excuse leaves my mouth….
    If what you're trying to do has been done before, change it to take it tot the next level. If not, then you've found an amazing opportunity.

  27. n i k k y January 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm #



    Especially considering that Yonge Street is the longest street in the WORLD.


  28. Austin January 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    Damn right!!! All I had was Excuses before I read this. But now I know what to do. Love this post!!!

  29. Gordana.M January 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    You have said this so well I will go ahead and quote you someplace important ;)

    One by one, the shots, are the building blocks… Given sometimes distance (emotional, chronological or other) it is very gratifying to see that there is a direction and strength to our seemingly random work.

  30. Marc Pagani Photography January 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Love it. I appreciate you posting this type of things, as it does inspire. It's easy to look at your own body of work and become a perfectionist. I sometimes take the attitude that if it's not groundbreaking and perfectly beautiful to look at, then it wasn't worth the effort to shoot it, but I am starting to see that some of my best work comes from those unexpected, off the wall places and situations, where I just happened to have my equipment handy. Keep it up and thanks!

  31. TeeWebb January 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    @Sunshine, that is incredibly inspiring.

    @Chase, you continue to be a massive inspiration for me. Coming from a video background, having evolved into photography your synergistic approach to utilizing and embracing both mediums is an incredible model/goal to work towards. Showcasing these incredible people on top of that (esp Canadians ;) ) really keeps me off the couch. Thanks

  32. mjk_photo January 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    This so hit the spot right now! I needed a little kick in the ass. Thanks bro!

  33. cdelphine January 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    The hard part for me comes after taking the pictures – organizing, editing, publishing. I get so bogged down by all of it. I have one week before I'm back in the daily grind of school so my goal is to clean up and organize my hard drive before then. I downloaded the beta of Lightroom and it makes processing way faster.

    Any other tips for a fast turnaround?

  34. Anonymous January 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Perfect example of how to burn a shutter in a day :)

  35. Elizabeth January 11, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    Yonge St. must be a really long street. Intriguing example of using what's at hand. Thanks for the inspiration.

  36. register January 11, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I love this post. Your blog made me start my own at

  37. Vince Gonzales January 11, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Good words.

  38. Dave Keating Photography January 11, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    Ha, I like it. A little creativity and some desire there.

  39. Marco Antonio Mendoza January 11, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    very inspiring stuff, It's great to read articles like this, even more so on a day like MONDAY. Just the motivation I need to get me in the mood for blogging and photography!

  40. sebastian January 11, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Good point. Reminds me of the book, "The Tipping Point."

    To let you know I'm listening, thought I'd share my first youtube slideshow, which I highly recommend anyone who wants to laugh…

  41. Kerry January 11, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Thanks Chase. No more excuses. Time to make it happen!

  42. Stephen January 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    awesome. great thoughts Chase. trying to live this out. gets tough pretty much everyday though. Especially since I'm new to this business and all of the "other" stuff I have to do seems to keep me tied down. Want to be in a place where I just kick those thoughts to the curb daily. That discipline will be key, I think, for me being able to stay in this industry.

  43. PAUL TREACY January 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    You're right!

  44. PAUL TREACY January 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I had a big breakthrough last week. I know exactly what I need to do this year.

    I get your blog into my inbox but don't often comment. I must involve myself more.

    All the best for 2010, Chase.

    Paul Treacy

  45. Ian Livesey January 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Well, that's just amazing !

  46. Alexis January 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Completely agree. To make something imperfect, but that *exists*, is better than being so tied up in perfectionism that you never make much at all. And each time you make something, you get better!

  47. chad January 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    thanks chase…

  48. Brock N. Meeks January 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    @selina's words: Shoot. Trust. Post. Repeat." Now that's a classic T-shirt or bumper sticker in the making. I'll take two. :)

    Thanks, once again, Chase for the admonition.

  49. M. Christopher Holloway January 12, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    SarahRachel's comment hits home with me. I've always been plagued by fear of failure and rejection. I believe it comes from my persistent perfectionist tendency. It's caused me to miss so many opportunities in photography and in life. I battle this daily.

    Just gotta do it!

  50. Andrew Urban January 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Excellent words Chase! As I like to say… if you have nothing to do… do something, and that defiantly works out to our benefit these days with modern technology!

  51. Scott Margetts January 12, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    I am full of admiration for the simple hard work and effective delivery of this concept.

    Meaningful. Inspiring.


  52. azonicbruce January 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Chase, this post has really helped motivate me to stop focusing on the bigger picture for just a moment and work on getting something done NOW. Step by step; little by little. HOWEVER, there's one thing I'm not sure you've addressed. HOW are we supposed to SHARE our little creations when, legally and ethically, there are still barriers to us sharing our creations. Music, for example. Did the creators of this video get permission to use the music? Have they payed the licensing fees necessary to distribute on the internet? Were there any buildings/property in the pictures that perhaps required a release, or people that required a model release? Perhaps they got lucky and found content that was free to use, but many of us don't have the connections or resources (money) to start sharing our creations because of all the hoops one has to jump through to get the content out there (again, legally and ethically). Any thoughts on that?

  53. Chase Jarvis January 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    yes, azonicbruce. those are all just excuses too. (couldn't resist ;)

    there is abundant royalty free music available on the net. or you probably have a musical friend or two.

    models should be released as a professional habit. otherwise, make 'em not recognizable (by you OR themselves) and you're ok.

    or don't photograph people

    or create your own music with garage band for free.



    Let's just say there are lots of options with a little effort and some ingenuity. best of luck!

  54. Joshen Reborn January 13, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    I have been a long time supporter of the create-sustain-share paradigm, without ever knowing what it was. This post, is the kind of fire starter we all need in those times of uncertainty. Chase Jarvis has been, approved!

    Cheers and Creative teddy bears!

  55. Dwayne Tucker January 13, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Pretty sickkk!! Thanks for the post Chase!

    Nassau, Bahamas | Miami, FL

  56. Two Jack Studio January 15, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    I did it… no excuses!

    Tanks for the inspiration Chase.


  57. Carlos Prio/fielddominance January 21, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    Making pictures, films and music!!! It is always a challenge to find the inspiration to start and complete work. The net is both inspirational & distracting… My best method is to turn off my machines & cell phone and pick up a camera!!! Also, nothing motivates like a paycheck!!!

  58. georgespictures January 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Oh, Chase, you don't know me, but I must thank you for this post and others as they hit so close to home right now. It's a time of moving into my own – getting off the ground (again) – and your voice stands out amidst the chorus of doomsdayers and naysayers! Thank you for the inspiration!

  59. newmexicomtngirl January 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    What an awesome, wonderful, uplifting post. We all go thur a downtime, a time of turning within and not doing alot, not creating, not sharing, but going quiet and listening, and then asking. Asking ourselves and then others, 'What is there for me" what is new and lets me create? how? what? when?
    And then the answers come….. like your post, that makes it so simple. Thank you VERY much
    peace n abundance
    CheyAnne @

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