What I Learned From An Experiment in Creative Living

You have certainly heard this from me before, but the more I think about it, study it, and live it, the more I can say definitively that the photographic snapshot has quietly emerged as one of our culture’s–if not the world’s–most unsung creative heroes. (Here’s some deeper explanation.)

This little film is an exploration and summary of some thoughts and personal experiences, having just recently carved out a month to live with the snapshot top of mind via the Dasein: Invitation to Hang installation during my month-long artist in residency at the Ace Hotel NYC.

While this story is quite a personal one, I hope it carries a collective meaning back to you and your life. For the film’s simple aim is to make a case that a more creative life–through whatever mechanism you can use to break your life out of routine and for however much time you can allot–is one more worth living.

Thanks and love.

[much gratitude to my entire crew, especially erik hecht for all the effort on this work]

[UPDATE: if you’re a gear/techie head and want to see how this short film was shot, using what gear/techniques, check out this post here.]

67 Responses to What I Learned From An Experiment in Creative Living

  1. Kevin Wrenn Photography September 14, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Chase that was so simply elegant and beautifully spoken. Thank you for continuing to inspire.

  2. Christian September 14, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Beautifully said.


  3. Laura Dobrzynski September 14, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Beautiful video.
    “Duration shouldn’t necessarily be the measure of intention.” <– This thought stuck out to me especially; I've always loved snapshots because of the "frozen moment" quality. Watching something and feeling an intense desire to capture it, intending to preserve it just the way I'm seeing it at that moment.

    An eloquent expression of the validity of all forms of creativity. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Normand Desjardins September 14, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Thankd for the inspiration. I feel a lot like this lately. In term of photography, a nice quote from one creativelive courses I bought : “Emotion over perfection”… That’s it. :-)

  5. erik September 14, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Thank you Chase for letting me tag along!

  6. Karen September 14, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Powerful…. yet simply said. I enjoy the way you think and live Chase. As always thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Guenther Kranich September 14, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Thank you for this!

  8. Suki September 14, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Your words are so inspirational. Thank you for the reminder to make stuff and you kind of kicked my butt too. I have been way too passive in the shooting life lately.

  9. Andy R. Garcia September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Thank You!! This was so awesome! Loved the story, the filming and just everything!! Stoked!!!!

  10. Stephen Wright September 14, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Great video, but I have a question for you. I love the quote about people thinking that you shouldn’t cross the lines between something you do for the art and something you do for money, but there was one word that I could quite make out. As soon as you tell me what it is I’m sure it will jump out, but it was at 2:14 when you said “whether that’s commercial or ?” It’s bugging the hell out of me because I loved the context of what you were talking about. As someone interested in photography and also being a full time professional musician it hit home in so many different ways.

    Thanks for your time…and the great work as well.

    • erik September 14, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      The line is “whether that’s commercial or fine art”. Glad you like it!

  11. gin September 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    … thank you… best thing i’m thinking of while hearing you… thank you!

  12. Kenna Klosterman September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    “Nobody lives your life but YOU.” oh so true. Thank you Chase for encouraging us all to celebrate the snapshots (mirrors) of our lives.

    • Eliano Imperato September 15, 2011 at 3:29 am #

      Hello Kenna,

      mirrors, mirrors and mirrors :) Take a look at my “about” page on my website http://www.elianoimperato.com

      When I get home I’ll see this new vedeo by Chase.



  13. Mike Folden September 14, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    This was really great. I love the part when you say it’s bullshit that Commercial and Fine Art can’t blend together. Thanks again for the total inspiration.

  14. Jack Pope September 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Awesome thoughts. As someone who will enter the real world soon, this serves as great inspiration. Thanks for putting it all out there.

  15. Pierre Graf September 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Hell yeah. You’re the man. You kinda speak for all of us. Thanks. This was very inspirational.

  16. Andy Garfitt September 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Seven and a half minutes of beautiful clarity. Thank you.

  17. Dallila Santos September 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    This is a beautiful video, very inspirational. Thank’s for sharing such rich in knowledge thoughts with us!

  18. blue elephant photography September 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    so inspirational. so true. definitely will share this video on my fb page :) thanks for the reminder!

  19. John A. September 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this man.

  20. clopix September 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    inspiring stuff!! once more! Thx chase!

  21. Anthony I September 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Simply … thank you!

  22. Thad W. September 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    What an inspiring way to recap an amazing project…glad to have been one of the many who participated in this collective work…and greatly appreciate the motivation to keep snapping more shots of the world around me.

  23. Kyle September 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    …if you can carve out some time to create and separate yourself from your normal routine, you’ll be rewarded.

    Eloquent and beautifully inspiring.

  24. nicole September 15, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    Very inspiring – thank you for sharing!

  25. fas September 15, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    It does carry a collective meaning and i like it. Thanks.

  26. Roberto (Cuiabá - Mato Grosso - Brasil) September 15, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Olá Chase! Leio sempre seu blog (Google Translator). Não falo inglês, mas seus vídeos são sempre inspiradores para mim; sempre capto algo. Ousada sugestão: ponha legendas em seus vídeos, se não em português, mas em espanhol. Certamente você estará contribuindo ainda mais com muitos outros além de mim. Deus o abençoe. Ainda mais sucesso, inspiração e prazer ao fotografar/criar.

  27. Eliano September 15, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Well done Chase! It’s a cool work and this is a nice video where you say good things on a beautiful soundtrack! It’s simply perfect to me.



  28. Anjner 'Aj B' Bruny September 15, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    “…to make a case that a more creative life–through whatever mechanism you can use to break your life out of routine and for however much time you can allot–is one more worth living.” Chase, I have been saying this for so many years. I couldn’t fathom how people could live life from a non-creative approach.

  29. Matt September 15, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Erik or Chase. Thanks for sharing this great video. Was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing where in the city Chase is shooting the skyline from at the 3:30 mark? Where he is on the rocks right by the river. Would love to know. Thanks.

    • Erik Hecht September 15, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      That’s East River Park in Brooklyn. About 2 minutes after we shot that we got kicked out by park security for not having a permit to shoot with our tripod/slider dolly combo. Shame.

      • Matt September 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

        Thanks, Erik. Born and raised New Yorker living in BK, but never made it down there. Will give it a shot. Appreciate it.

  30. R. J. Kern September 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Chase, I felt as though you were talking right to my soul. Thank you for sharing this wonderful creative, inspiring piece. One thing we also must realize is these snap shots of life become even more valueable when lost, then found. Or lost forever. Such is the case when my iPhone was stolen, alas my favorite images/videos were safe in the cloud! My thoughts on the topic here: http://www.kern-photo.com/index.php/2011/09/finding-lost-iphone-nowhere-is-somewhere-snapshots-as-art/

    • David Bakunowicz September 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Dear Chase & Crew,

      Thanks for the amazing clip. May I just say that the clip itself was a moment of escape for me. The music, dialogue and accompanying imagery were like poetry to my ears.

      I woke up 3 hours earlier than i needed to this morning. There is nothing quite like the intensity of the sun, rising and then hovering slightly above the horizon. The colour palette is amazing.

      I wish you all a fantastic day from Sydney, Australia.

      Many thanks,

      David Bakunowicz

  31. Aura May September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Thanks for the continued inspiration Chase, this video is beautifully done and does a great job of telling your project’s story. Thank you also for saying that a firm line between fine art and commercial work is bull**it. I completely, completely agree.

  32. Tim Graedon September 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you, I like the idea of blurring the lines between your professional life and your art. That’s something I want to do more of in the future.

  33. nick September 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    shits fucking Epic, mad show reel.

  34. Patrick September 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    nice. looks the goods

  35. trent light September 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    So inspirational. You are a mentor for all young photographers like me. thanks

  36. Peter September 16, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Thank You Chase for inspiration You give me every day. Your commitement in photographic field of act fills me with true power and energizez my creative juices. BIG THANK YOU Chase :)

  37. Vishwa September 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Bro even if in a small way, I’m am so proud to have helped with this project. It was soo much fun and not only informed me but transformed me. Being able to hang out with you and your team, meeting new people and spreading the word was just surreal. Talk about a little eclectic social facilitation.
    Thanks so much for the experience and wish you all the best. Much love.


  38. Brian Helgeson September 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm #


  39. David Burke September 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Chase – this is so genuine and heartfelt. truly an inspiring piece. thank you for sharing and continuing to push our inner creatives.

  40. Christian Anderl September 17, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    absolutely love this!

  41. Rob September 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm #


    Love it, just so well put, that one moment in time.


  42. fraser West September 18, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Hey Chase,

    Nice work on the video and the Dasein: Invitation to Hang project. Amazing work. The video reminded me of some of Hillman Curtis’ work, with the lovely slow motion shoots. Nice words man.

  43. thatcher September 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    thanks for sealing my blog post Chase, again. Seriously though, on point! Much respect.

  44. Dylan September 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    This has definitely been the most inspiring video I’ve seen from you… And the most interestingly made. Technically flawless yet it moves in sync with the soft music and b&w film. Thank you for the inspiring words.

  45. F September 20, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Truly a beautiful and very inspirational film. Really! But I have to say this with the outermost respect: What you say about living creatively is easier said than done. Having responsibilities often means almost no time (,money, ) and energy for living ‘outside the box’. As beautiful and inspirational it might sound, cynicism dictates that it is difficult if not impossible for many people out there to take a step to the side and find their true vocation.

    Thank you for sharing your marvellous work.

  46. Jonas September 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    What is the big camera chase is using in the documentary ?

    • Erik Hecht September 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

      It’s a Polaroid 600 SE.

  47. Fred Cassara October 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful video. It meant a lot to me because you’re able to express feelings into words and images that someone like me can never do but wish I could.

    • Chris October 18, 2011 at 5:29 am #

      That`s very powerfull! One thing I love about you is that you do not say “you have to do it this way or another”. I think offering your own experiences and strategies without the “must” word is one of the greatest things someone can share and bring some new ways of thinking to other people not only creative people.
      Please keep sharing all the things you do because this is so inspireing, on the other hand it makes me wanna get my but up and take some pictures even if i had to do nightshifts.
      That brings me to the question how do you get the energy to do all of the work you do? Sometimes i feel bad when sleeping long after nightshifts and not going out to take pictures and another picture or video of you comes up showing this amazing stuff you do all day.

  48. Neil Musson February 17, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    A number of really nice products on this internet site, I like it.

  49. Beverley Merone September 22, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    A great book to win.

  50. Jim Shaw February 5, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    I am listening to you right now and find myself wishing I could unscramble My creative mind enough to make sense of what I see and how I feel and then press the button. Thanks for these moments you bring to all of us . Jim

  51. Valentine February 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Stephen: I’m interested in your Letters in the Mail subscription. I’m a high college English teacher, and i believed this could possibly be a great way to have my students to write responding for the letters. Even so, I have to be certain that the topics of your letters are going to be appropriate for my students 9, 10, and 11th graders. Will you please comment on what the topics will be in general? Thank you.


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