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Weird Thoughts Inspire: Animal Photos in a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape

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Photo: Richard Allenby-Pratt

A friend of mine always has the same weird thought when visiting Las Vegas, “What would an alien make of this place in a totally abandoned state? Can you imagine the ruins of a slot machine with no context?” It’s these weird thoughts that can lead to your next piece of personal work. Mine usually come at 3am.

An example of some post-apocalyptic creativity is Richard Allenby-Pratt’s series Abandoned (which my friends at Flavorwire brought to my attention) where endangered animals are the only survivors in a barren landscape. No humans anywhere – but solitary peacocks, giraffes, rhinos and gazelles wander the urban ruins. Allenby-Pratt explains on his website, “This project imagines a future without people, where the relics of our unrealised ambitions are populated by some of the species we have, in the present day, come so close to exterminating.” Thought provoking statement and some equally stunning photos. Click through some of the image tabs above to get the flavor .
Go Richard Allenby-Pratt’s site to see more.

Make a Declaration of Creativity

I just received a very inspiring email. I thought it was worth sharing. I’ve changed or left out some of the personal details to protect the privacy of the sender.

“Hey Chase,
It worked. Everything you said worked. I declared myself a photographer, got business cards, set up an LLC, pumped out shots and pimped them like mad. I DECIDED this is who I am, and it’s like the whole world conspired in my favor. The best part is that my Dad who always told me photography was a waste of time, now respects me and respects my art. My life has changed because you gave me the time of day. Thanks for everything!”

By declaring a commitment to your own creativity you can make big things happen. Simply by deciding, “I am a photographer,” “I am an artist,” “I am a writer,” and taking the action necessary (like making your business cards and forming an LLC) you can and will make make it happen. Whatever your it might be. These are massive mental shifts — and not easy to make by any means. But trust me, they will make all the difference. Just like the letter says, you might find that the ‘whole world’ will conspire to help you. When I hear these stories – they deeply inspire my own work. So thank YOU for the letter. And most of all, thank you for helping to make the world a more creative place.

Inspiring New York City Time Lapse: The Manhattan Project

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I’m headed back to New York city this week. The city has a unique way of pushing photographers and filmmakers to be more creative. The constant pulse of visual inspiration is motivational. My own work has been given the occasional Big Apple boost – in fact, it was just one year ago that I wrapped up my Dasein: An Invitation to Hang installation at the Ace Hotel. The mini-doc and some of my conclusions on “An Experiment in Creative Living” in NYC, can be viewed here

Photographer/filmmaker Cameron Michael put out a time lapse of NYC that has been making the rounds the past couple of days (via PetaPixel and FStoppers). Cameron spent roughly 5 months on the project and carried 120 pounds of gear from location to location to capture the piece. It pokes around the entire city and highlights the gorgeous juxtaposition of activity that makes the city so incredible. Super cool homage to the city that never sleeps.

Click through the above tabs to check out two more time lapse videos from other cities I find inspiring: San Francisco and my hometown Seattle. [via Acadian Bay Photography and TimeFramesvideo respectively]

Friday Fun – The Lemon-Ginger Caipirinha

Straight from Guaruja Brazil - the ginger caipirinha

It’s summertime and the weekend is here. I had the good fortune of discovering this fresh Brazilian cocktail this week in Guaruja surrounded by old and new friends. I highly recommend you try it out. Have a great weekend.

3 small chopped seeded lemons or small oranges, limes, tangerines (no need to peel)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
3/4 cup lemon juice (or other citrus of choice – tangerine, lime, orange)
1 1/2 cup cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane liquor) or vodka

Divide lemons (or small oranges, tangerines or limes – we had lemon) among 6 tumblers. Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger to each glass. Crush the ingredients in the bottom of the glass with a muddler or handle of a wooden spoon. Top each drink with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/4 cup cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane liquor) or vodka. Fill glasses with ice cubes, stir, and serve.

Snapshots from Brazil

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Talking with the engineer Jacek

Here are some behind-the-scenes snapshots of my time here in Brazil with Mike Horn. Although we are almost done here, our collaboration with Mike and the Pangaea is just beginning. Much much more to come. Pay attention for our next trip to South Africa in a few weeks. Click through some of the above photos to see what we’ve been up to.

Be Committed to Your Vision

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Mike Horn on the Pangaea at Sea, Strait of Taiwan

Commitment to your vision is important. Just ask my friend Mike Horn. I mentioned in my post yesterday (about imagination inspired by travel photos) that I was scurrying around getting ready for a trip with Mike. I’m running to the airport right now – and needless to say my imagination is also running with the thoughts of spending time with the greatest Explorer of our time on his aluminium hulled 110-foot 4×4 of the sea, the Pangaea. Click through the images above to see the results of my last trip with Mike in the South China Sea.

I settle on the thought of commitment when I think of Mike. Sure he’s passionate, inspired, strong (superhuman even), creative. But its’ Mike’s commitment to his vision that is truly unique. There’s no one else like him on the planet. He has done things in his life that no one else has ever accomplished — this is a man who swam the Amazon, circumnavigated the Artic Circle by human power solo, circumnavigated the Earth solo by human power. First he imagined these things (see yesterday’s post) and then committed 100% to accomplishing them – no matter what it cost in terms of time, money, and physical hardship. In this regard, Mike is truly in a class all his own.

Check out my talk with Mike on chasejarvisLIVE here. Whether your planning your next adventure or dedicating yourself more fully to your craft – we can all take Mike’s example and apply it to what we’re doing. Be committed.

If you missed my stories about sailing with Mike Horn in the South China Sea in October of 2010 are Here and here.

Photographing the Imagination – or is it… Imagining the Photograph?

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Four Seasons, Bora Bora

Four Seasons, Bora Bora, All Photos via The Cool Hunter

Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Coming from a guy who had some serious knowledge that is a powerful statement.

One of the things that stimulates imagination is, of course, travel. The unknown lands that lie in wait. People, landscapes, colors, architecture, the ever-present but never-the-same-sunset (so popular among the blossoming photographers…), the promise of change and the joy of coming back home. As someone who travels for a living (Im running around today preparing for a trip off the coast of Brazil with my friend Mike Horn tomorrow – standby for more on that), I can say that my love for the journey and curiosity of what is around the next bend remain undiminished. And while the travel photograph can be a cliche, it is undeniable that a great image of an undiscovered destination can transport you to a new experience – and light up your imagination. Click through the images above, but be warned, you might empty out your savings account and be on booking your next jaunt after viewing some of these. Some of these places are totally foreign to me, some Ive been lucky enough to visit at some point, but all of them have been captured in an exquisite way that inspire my imagination.

If you like these, there are lots more as part of the series, Amazing Places to Experience Around the Globe featured on The Cool Hunter.
The Cool Hunter reports that there will be a book coming out in late 2012. Might make a good Holiday gift for your loved ones who are long (or short!) on imagination.

Spectacular Lighting Just Twice a Year: Don’t Miss Manhattanhenge

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Photo: Steve Kelley

Photo: Steve Kelley

Seeking out uniquely spectacular lighting is a good bet for capturing stunning imagery.
May 29th, yesterday, was one of the two days of the year when our friendly neighborhood star, the sun, sets perfectly in-line with the Manhattan grid. Bi-annually, photographers in the big apple take advantage of this unique moment in our solar system. Click through the image tabs above to see some shots of New York in a new, er, light.

Manhattanhenge, as it was termed by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, is a result of Manhattan’s grid not being aligned with the geographic north-south or east-west lines. Instead, according to Dr. deGrasse, it’s angled 30 degrees east of geographic north. This angle causes Manhattanhenge to occur 22 days before the summer solstice, and again 21 days after (that’s July 12th this year). The neologism is derived from Wiltshire England’s Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices with a similarly dramatic effect.

Those of you in Manhattan, who missed yesterday’s event, never fear – you have another chance for great photos today. The phenomenon continues (albeit slightly off for Manhattanhenge purists) into today as a “full sun,” event. According to Wikipedia’s definition of the event the phenomenon actually extends into today.

And for all of you no where near New York today, like me, the challenge is to go out and find some uniquely spectacular lighting. It’s out there.

Dark & Artistic: Award-Winning Photos from Afghanistan

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All images courtesy of David Gilkey and the WHNPA. Cpl. Andrew Collins springs into action seconds after a rocket is fired at the outpost in Charkh, Afghanistan on April 19, 2011. Combat Outpost Charkh sees as much action as anywhere in Afghanistan, but it's in Logar province, not far from the capital, Kabul.

I’ve posted about war photography in the past and I still believe it to be one of the single most powerful aspects of humanity that photojournalists can capture..and capture creatively. War is not beautiful–clearly, it isn’t–but is to say that there can be mastery of skill, no matter what you’re shooting. Which is creepy, but…true.

NPR’s David Gilkey recently won the White House News Photographer’s Association‘s First Place prize in the Eyes of History 2012 photography contest for best picture series in the international/news division. You can see a few of these stunning images by clicking through the photo tabs above. How does this feel different than the other photos of war? Do they tell more of a story, or are they just so stylized, that we feel more OK judging them as art?

His subjects were The Men from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, from Camp Pendleton California. You can listen to his interview about his experience photographing them here.
Catch more of this work at the WHNPA’s website.

The Impossible Cool: Stunning Portraits of Bad-ass Tastemakers from the Past 100 Years

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Photo by Billy Name; All Images Courtesy Of The Impossible Cool

What do Tom Waits, David Lynch, Debbie Harry, and Mark Twain all have in common?

They’re all…ahem…impossibly cool. And they’ve all recently been featured on The Impossible Cool, a must-follow Tumblr account that offers gorgeous, mostly black-and-white, amazing portraits of some of the most bad-ass tastemakers of the last couple centuries.

Ranging from politicians to celebs to writers to musicians, The Impossible Cool leaves no rockstar unturned, but most of all, the photography is simple (and simpLY) remarkable. No crazy lighting, no gimmicks, no BS. Just honest, great portraits. Click thru a selection of my favorite shots via the image tabs above to see what I mean. My favorite is probably the shot a few clicks in of Miles Davis…

Photography 101: The Radical Camera + New York’s Photo League

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In the Shadow of the Capitol ● 1948 (Marion Palfi/The Jewish Museum/© 1998 Arizona Board of Regents)

Every so often, I discover or am reminded of tectonic shifts in photography that seem to be little-known by the exploding world of photographers. No harm, no foul; but in those cases, I feel feel a social + moral desire (obligation?) to occasionally point to these shifts.

One such case is New York’s Photo League – a collection of some of the most innovative, culturally relevant and influential photographers who took to the streets and showed us life as it had been rarely explored before. Photogs like Lisette Model or Weegee (featured earlier on my blog here), Avedon, Leipzig, Orkin and Weston. These and other photogs are genre-defining photojournalists who created stark and unwavering images that offered unique glimpses into a world that – until their groundbreaking work – was infrequently or even NOT explored by photography. Instead of posed images of families, the NYPL documented rampant social change, the great divide between classes, racial issues, the rise of music, the war, and images of New York City in the 40s (even going so far as being labeled “Communists” by the US government…). In short, we have these artists to thank for the way that photojournalism has evolved today. Spin through the image tabs above to sample their arresting work.

If this group or any of these names are unfamiliar to you, give a read here to get the cliff notes, and more importantly – if you’re able — the exhibition called Radical Camera which features an extensive body of this work is on display at the Columbus Museum of Art from now until September 9, 2012.

Man vs. Wild: Pieter Hugo’s Incredible Photos of Hyena’s with Men

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Sometimes, however, what starts with a cool cellphone picture sent from a friend becomes an amazing, thought-provoking piece of photojournalism that probes the relationships between humans at the wild, humans and animals, and humans and each other. And I’m rarely stopped dead in my tracks when a photo crosses my field of view – but I was with these photos, with this body of work.

Pieter Hugo’s The Hyena and Other Men is a series of incredible photos, taken over two trips in as many years at the edges of a shantytown in Nigeria. Hugo worked with Nigerian reported Adetokunbo Abiola to not only find the men to photograph, but to get to know them and earn their trust.

The arresting images–which show men (and, occasionally, children) with hyenas, monkeys, and other wild animals which have been tamed for entertainment purposes–are an exploration of one tiny population’s life…a life that’s pretty different from yours or mine. Horrible or wonderful? That’s for you to decide. Scroll through some of the image tabs above this photo… Completely remarkable.

Here’s an excerpt from Hugo’s explanation of the project:

Seldom did anyone express strong concern for the well-being of the creatures. Europeans invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but this question misses the point. Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalised. Or why Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray.

Head over to Hugo’s site to see the rest and read his description of the artistic process. It’s a good read.

Hat-tip to my buddy Jon Coe for bringing this evocative project to my attention.

Artist as Entrepreneur: Making Art + A Living with Zoë Keating on #cjLIVE – Wed May 2nd

zoe keating on chase jarvis liveUPDATE!! If you’re reading this now – the LIVE broadcast is TODAY. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into today — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC & 19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on air in a few…

Now more than ever before, we artists are entrepreneurs. Born from opportunity or necessity or both, we have become the CEO’s of ourselves. We create our art and our brand, and then–regardless of whether we’re commercial- or fine-artists, or both–we share, market, strategize, license, sell, distribute, invest, manage, and collect on that art ourselves.

For those that have cracked this nut – good for you. For the rest of artists–which is a disproportionally huge chunk–who are struggling to make the art, the future, the business happen, please allow me introduce you to Zoë Keating. Take my word for it…few–if any–creatives in the world run their own career better than Zoë. As a classically trained musician turned avant-garde cellist–or ‘avant cellist’ as she calls herself–she has mastered the balancing act between art & commerce, between artist & fan. And that’s why she’ll be my next guest on chasejarvisLIVE this Wednesday, May 2nd. Prepare to learn the secret sauce for ‘Artist as Entrepreneur’, how she created a fanbase of millions and don’t miss her LIVE PERFORMANCE where she’ll blow you away with her cello like you’ve never seen one played before. #Respect. Follow @zoecello, check out her compelling music before the show and follow me @chasejarvis on twitter to get updates now until the show and beyond.


Who: You, Me, ZOË KEATING and a worldwide gathering of creative people
What: Live Performance and Q&A with the inspirational ZOË KEATING 
When: Wednesday, May 2nd, 11:00am Seattle time (2 pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
Where: tune in to It’s free – anyone can watch.

This episode of chasejarvis LIVE might just be the one that sets your ideas in motion and sets you on your path.

***And last but not least… 2 things very important…:

1. Score. In order to pimp this show and help bring together another gi-normous worldwide online audience, Zoe will be giving away 2 signed CD’s and perhaps some merchandise if we can round it up. To score one of these collector items, send out a creative and interesting tweet that contains the URL (or short url) to THIS post AND hashtag #cjLIVE starting NOW and ending at the beginning of the show on Wednesday. Enter as many times (tweets) as you want – tweet and retweet – we’ll be watching out for your shoutouts.

2. Print it. If you want to score a one-of-a kind signed photo that I shoot of Zoë, tune in during the show – I’ll tell you how.

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