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F*&$ the SATs – “I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate” [A Public Service Announcement]

Creativity is the new literacy, and I’ve got an anthem brewing over here… But what fires me up is that I’m not alone. So many of us are feeling this anthem right now. Times are changing. The old methods of memorization and rigid exams for a diverse student body is not working for today’s world. Those times were for the factory. But what now? The average US college student graduates with about $27,000 in debt. For what? Students in the arts graduate with the highest level of debt. For what? Student debt now outpaces credit card debt. For what?

The good news is, for those of us who came up through the traditional education system and always felt there was something off with that path, we are rapidly approaching a new era of freedom (wisdom) to learn about what excites you first…not “later” after you’ve been chewed up and spit out by the system.

Our attitudes around education and learning need to shift. It won’t happen overnight, but I applaud this spoken word piece.

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Photo Geeks + Space Nerds Unite — Beautiful, Never Before Seen 360 Degree Images of Mercury

Photo geeks and space nerds unite. Saw this and had to share it. This is the first time mankind has ever seen the planet Mercury in its entirety. Scientists used thousands of images collected for over a year by the MESSENGER probe to completely map the surface of the planet, taken at a resolution of 1km per pixel.

The yellow-orange sections are highly volcanic lava plains, and the dark blue areas are assumed to be minerals.

Watch the planet spin a complete 360 degrees and read more about the process HERE.

Serious credit goes to those slackers at NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and the Carnegie Institution of Washington for the images.

Stop Creating False Barriers Between You & The Photos You Want to Take [aka Going to the End of the Earth to Get the Shot]

Are you pursuing your personal passions to get the pictures you want, or are you letting…ahem…”too many obstacles” stop you?

Here’s a little inspiration. Using a weather balloon, a Gopro 2, a Multiplex Funjet and some other lo-fi equipment, David Windestål decided to get some first person footage of a trip to space. What he ends up with is an awesome video of the camera’s trip into orbit, and a ton of inspiration for the rest of us. Sure he could massaged the footage and edited differently / better. But whatever. In this post its the spirit that counts. Because truth be told, he’s doing cool shit. And you…?

The takeaway is this: you might not be as handy as David with a soldering iron, but it doesn’t matter, that’s not the point. The point is to stop creating false barriers between you and what you want to be taking pictures of…

Take that project that you’ve pushed off… decided is “too difficult” or “too expensive” or “too [whatever]” and hack into it. If you can find step by step instructions on how to send a camera into space with a couple of mouse clicks, what else might you figure out how to do with a little elbow grease and that good, ol’fashioned get-off-your-ass-and-do-it attitude adjustment?

21 Behind-the-Scenes Photos from an Un-Belizeable Photo Assignment

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If you’ve been following along socially you’re in the know that I’m on a commercial assignment in Belize that targets the life and wonder of the world’s water, lakes, oceans, etc. [...You might remember this video of the SuperPod of dolphins from the South African leg of this campaign with long time friend Mike Horn...]

In short, I can’t say enough good stuff about Belize. It’s seemingly impossible to take a bad photo here…even without the high-falutin’ tools that we’ve been using –helicopters, boats, diving rigs, etc)… If you just had your phone, you could slay it here. Anyway – wanted to share some quick behind-the-scenes shots that let y’all in on a little of what we’ve had going. [#HumbleBrag?!]

Lots of love for Ambergis Caye + Placencia. Costs in Belize are reasonable – especially given the epic-ness of the visuals. Special props to the great resort down south… Robert’s Grove. En route back to the USA now – but keep your eyes peeled for a few definitive RAW and TECH videos that we made while down there, based on your requests for more o’ that stuff. Hit me with questions about Belize or our trip – happy to help inspire / enable as many people as possible to learn about this fresh spot.

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Robert's Grove, Placencia

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Lazy Caye - Erik and I filming a TECH about our GoPro set up - stay tuned!

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Fishing out of Placencia with Elroy

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The Blue Hole from above

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My good friend Danny and his wife Susan have been cruising the Caribbean with their two children for 15 months. Their 50-foot catamaran the S/V Blue Kai was a great model too. Almost as good as Danny in this photo. www.svbluekai.com

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Walking on water to get the shot at Roberts Grove, Placencia

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Jerard doing some underwater work for the shoot - not a bad office

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Jerard and Clifford got after this little Hobie Cat. In fact, they flipped it about 5 minutes after this shot. #WorkingHardPlayingHard

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When working in tropical climes I try to keep my crew hydrated - with margaritas.

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Photo of the Week – Finding the Impossible Angle

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All you need to know:

_Yes – it really was that steep. What’s that old saying, “Measure twice, cut once?” Same applies for spending time finding the hard to find angle.

_That’s Jill Kintner on the bike. Badass.

Have a great weekend.

If You’ve Ever Asked Me To Review Your Photos, Here’s A Chance — Photo Contest + Camera Bag Giveaway

Photo by Erik Hecht.

[UPDATE: Just returned from a job in Belize and damn...you guys have been busy! 2,000 comments/entries in a week! I've been checking out the work -there is some great stuff. TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SUBMIT AN ENTRY (April 24). Any entries after today (at midnight) will miss the deadline and not be considered. Standby for the judging - it's going to take me a while to get through all these! Thanks for paying attention!]

Hey photo friends, a few weeks ago my staff video guru Erik and I shared a glimpse into an ideal everyday walk-around camera kit. It’s a kit that Erik uses everyday and one that I beg/borrow/steal when not on assignment. Well the good folks over at ThinkTank took note of the love we showed for their Retrospective line of camera bags and sent the studio three of them to do with them whatever we choose. Just so happens we have plenty of camera bags already (2 of the exact models they sent us…), so we want to give these badass bags away to you. So here’s what we’re gonna do:

We wanna see your street photography. Your best everyday photos from being out in the world, covering the earth and actively pursuing the unexpected. Post links to your photos in the comments section of this blog post and we’ll pick 3 favorites and send the winners one of these slick camera bags. A few basic ground rules:

  • You must own the rights to the photos you’re sharing (this should be obvious).
  • You must be cool with us posting your photo (should you win) on a follow-up post announcing the 3 winning photographs.
  • Submit as many images as you want, but please only post direct links to single images, NOT galleries. Don’t make us sort through your portfolio to figure out what photo you’re submitting.
  • This should force you to use a little of your editing / curatorial skills too. Send us links to what you want us to review.

    We’ll leave the contest open for submissions for a week from today and then announce the winners in a follow-up blog post within 10 days of end of contest. Photos will be selected by composition, style, and overall merit as determined by us.

    Happy shooting. If you want to learn more about the bags you’re competing for, check out Erik’s blog post for his detailed thoughts on them, or take a look at ThinkTank’s website for the full specs. Here’s a peak at what we’re giving away. Rugged, stylish, downright awesome (valued at $157.60 each):

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    Official Contest Rules

    (Cy)Eyeborgs, Slingshots & Skeletons: 3 Minutes of Filmmaking Pays Out $200,000


    GE’s Focus Forward films are 3-minute documentaries featuring some the world’s most exceptional and innovative people presenting their ideas and inventions. Each year the project awards $200,000 to winners of the Filmmaker Competition, many of which have their 3-minute films premiered at Sundance. You’re gonna wanna take a few minutes and enjoy one or two of these.

    As an example — in the Grand Prize winning film — Neil Harbisson, who was born with achromatopsia (a rare condition that causes complete color blindness) works with another inventor to create the “eyeborg,” an invention that translates color into sound. He wears this device on his head and it literally scans the world for color and transforms it into musical notes through a pair of earbuds. He is considered the first recognized cyborg in the world. I’d say director Rafel Duran Torrent nailed it. [Best line from the winning film: "It is very human to modify one's body with human creations."]

    I’ve included the other four winners below. Certainly GE is aiming to connect the dots… their brand + innovation … but kudos to them for supporting supporting filmmakers to do it, and for rewarding them handsomely in the process.

    2nd Place
    The Artificial Leaf | Jared P. Scott + Kelly Nyks

    3rd Place
    Slingshot | Paul Lazarus

    4th Place
    Bones Don’t Lie and Don’t Forget | Kim Munsamy

    5th Place
    Mine Kafon | Callum Cooper

    Repurposed Vintage Cameras — Keep the Lights On + Other Unconventional Uses

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    An invention doesn’t truly achieve obsolescence until it gets turned into a night light. Or a meat grinder. Such it is for these retro film cameras, repurposed for some good fun, inspiration, and to invoke a sense of nostalgia for the days of dark rooms. Somewhere a hipster just gasped “the horror” and a grandfather went looking for his Dualflex III. Before you freak (or hate on the hacking of old cameras in gags like this)…Maker of these beauties, Jason Hull says…

    “I’m not modifying cameras if they are in pristine condition or if they’re rare, I’d rather they stay usable as cameras in those cases. The ones I’ve chosen are lightweight plastic, produced in huge numbers and easily found for sale at flea markets/ garage sales/ ebay.” [and i'll add that, in my experience, they're often inoperable too...]

    While I don’t think the Spartus neon-blue wall light would necessarily mesh with my pad’s decor, I say better lighting the way to the bathroom at midnight than rotting in a junk heap. Happy friday.

    [have you hacked a camera into something cool? show me with a link]

    (link to Jason in one of my fav art rags, Juxtapoz, here)

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    Take My Art! Jay Shells + The Rap Lyric Street Sign Project

    Documentary makes the impermanent permanent. It’s a satisfactory compromise for street artist Jason Shelowitz (AKA Jay Shells), whose ‘Rap Quotes’ project has the longevity of a fruit fly or a sand castle at low tide.

    Inspired by many rappers’ tendency to work the streets, blocks and parks of their upbringing into their lyrics, Shells decided to turn those shout-outs into official-looking street signs and hang them up at those specific street corners and locations. So the line “I’m blacker than midnight on Broadway and Myrtle” from Mos Def’s track ‘Champion Requiem’ got printed on a sign and hung at that street corner, a section of Brooklyn where the rapper grew up.

    If you watch the film, you can see Shells is only securing the signs with hand-tightened nuts and bolts. He openly acknowledges that most of the signs likely won’t even stay up through the day and doesn’t care. Quite the opposite in fact. Imagining some hip hop fan coming across the sign, Shells says, “Fuck it, it’s my gift to you. Go take ‘em.”

    Watching the video, I’m just as taken by the artist as I am the art. There’s an exhilaration — a giddiness, almost — apparent in Shells as he bounces from location to location, climbing his little step stool, snapping photos and thwarting the police. His creative energy is contagious – that my friends – is the energy that you give off when you make something you care about. Irrepressible.

    Rap Quotes is a reminder to make stuff. At least part of you has to say feed the beast, fuck the money or you’ll never get anything off the ground.

    The Irreverence Episode (aka NOT GIVING A F#$%) — Author Julien Smith + Musical Guest MY GOODNESS on #cjLIVE [RE-WATCH]

    We had TWO amazing guests on the this episode of chasejarvisLIVE, which aired Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

    Julien Smith is a NY Times best-selling author, CEO, voice actor and radio broadcaster. To fully enjoy his appearance on our show, you need to stop giving a f*#k right now. Not about your work, but about what other people – the haters, the doubters, the “experts”, your boss, your classmates – think. I went man crush when I read his post The Complete Guide to Not Giving A F*ck and The Short Sweet Guide to Being F*cking Awesome. I hit ‘like’ on Facebook, along with 53,839 other people (seriously) and promised myself to have him on the show that day. N.G.A.F. will set you free and put you on the path to being truly awesome. It will help you do your best work and be your most creative, most true self. A heavy dose of this is what you need.

    Julien reviewed his message with us:

    FACT NUMBER 1. People are judging you right now.
    FACT NUMBER 2. You don’t need everyone to like you.
    FACT NUMBER 3. It’s YOUR people that matter.
    FACT NUMBER 4. Those who don’t give a f#$% change the world. The rest do not.

    NOW…. Guest #2 is the perfect accomplice to Julien and his mantra, except these guys do it with music. We tipped you off to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis …had ‘em on cjLIVE before they went quadruple platinum… Tipped you off to The Lumineers before they hit the Grammys (among others)… In this episode, we offer yet another tip…the meteoric rise of Seattle duo, My Goodness. Drums, guitars, and some heavy effing vocals, it’s garage punk Black Keys on fire.

    As you might imagine, this episode was a whole lot of fun. Check it out.

    Here are some behind-the-scenes photos:

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    The Only Subject You’ll Ever Need. Ever

    Marcin Sobas has a body of work that speaks to a photography maxim: Nature is still the best subject. The endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth; the arc of the sun and the moon in a 24 hour period; the play of clouds and fog as both filter and subject — your window could look out at a tree on a hill and you could find a million different ways to capture it in a photograph over the course of a year.

    A hobbyist, Sobas benefits from his sense of timing and his appreciation for Nature as Subject. His misty hillsides and above-the-cloud compositions are quintessential landscape shots: just the right light, just the right fog, just the right angle.

    I popped a few questions the artist’s way to learn a little more about his approach.

    Why the fog and the green as subjects?

    MS: I have always been fascinated by fog. Mists are mysterious and you never know what will emerge from them. On green fields, the light is discovering their form at a right angle. Some places then look magical.

    Do you do commercial work? If not, do you want to?

    MS: At the moment, I treat it as my hobby. I really respect commercial work and I’m open to any suggestions and any cooperation.

    What is your process?

    MS: It all depends on the air and weather conditions. The foundation is good light and then the process is easy.

    Can you dive into the kind of gear do you use?

    MS: My main equipment is Telelens and sometimes a wide lens. I’m working on a Canon.

    What’s your favorite location you’ve shot at thus far?

    MS: From the places that I have visited, my favorite is Tuscany in Italy. But for the moment I have not visited too many places.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    MS: The whole world is beautiful and amazing. I would love to visit both America and my dream is New Zealand.

    Check out more of Marcin’s work here.

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    Ecoliteracy + Stewardship — Chris Jordan’s Conscious Photography

    Chris Jordan filming his latest project, Midway: Message from the Gyre. Photo by Center for Ecoliteracy.

    My good friend and frequent guest Chris Jordan was named a featured speaker at the Center for Ecoliteracy’supcoming June 2013 seminar in Berkley. First-timers to this space should become familiar with Jordan’s growing body of work, which uses photography and film to capture and make personal the global issues that too often we distance ourselves from.

    An on-going project of Jordan’s takes him to the island of Midway — alone in the Pacific more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent — where he has documented the life cycles of the albatross, the island’s de facto official bird. More specifically, Jordan has called attention to the death and suffering wrought upon the species by the trash that washes ashore daily — trash that, as the images show, finds its way into the stomachs of the birds, eventually killing them.

    In a recent interview with Lisa Bennet, the director of communications for the Center for Ecoliteracy, Jordan speaks about the path which brought him to the present, about his mission and about his upcoming film, Midway: Message from the Gyre. I’ve grabbed a few of the exchanges to post here, but everyone should take whatever minutes necessary to read the whole interview, here.

    Says Jordan of the albatross:

    Their eyes, like those of eagles, are piercing and gorgeous. They’re huge and stunningly graceful, elegant creatures. They’ve been living on Midway for four million years and never had a predator. So they know no fear. You can walk right up and get so close that if they wanted to, they could peck at your face with their beaks. I got to witness and film babies hatching. And as I went and witnessed this, I realized there was an environmental tragedy happening there, and it was wrapped up in this envelope of exquisite beauty and joy and grace.

    The carcass of a dead albatross reveals the cause of death. From Midway: Message from the Gyre.

    Jordan’s reverence for the bird speaks to the importance that we, as photographers, can weave a greater sense of truth into our work when we regard our subjects with such respect — and even love. Later in the interview, we discover that much of his love for the albatross grew from an unfortunate incident on the island, which found him holding the remains of a baby bird:

    That was a moment when I accidentally killed a healthy albatross myself. There were so many on the ground, and I ran over one with my bike. I jumped off and immediately got down and looked at her; she was gasping and choking up a bunch of orange liquid. She tried to move, and I saw that both her wings were broken. I think my bike had passed right over her body, and she suffered internal injuries. She took four days to die. I visited her over and over. It was an astonishing experience to discover how much it impacted me that I had inadvertently taken the life of this beautiful, innocent creature. I felt a depth of grief I never thought I had in me, for one bird on one island I never thought I would visit. I discovered that I had this tremendous amount of grief over this one little life I had taken, but there was really nothing more beautiful or lovable about that one bird than any of the other albatross on the island. I discovered that somewhere hidden in my heart, I must have that much love for every one of them.

    Get over and read the full interview. And don’t forget to check out the trailer to Midway, which comes out later this year.

    Re-watch my ChaseJarvisLive interview with Chris Jordan in 2011 and read up on our previous coverage of Jordan’s work.

    The Largest Mobile Camera in the World — Ian Ruhter’s Wet Plate Photography

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    Some of you who follow the blog and chasejarvisLIVE probably remember Ian Ruhter from last year’s season finale of the show. I wanted to let y’all know that Ian’s Silver and Light Project will be in Vancouver, April 2nd to April 16th. For more info on the Vancouver event go HERE.

    For some background on Ian and why you should be paying attention to his work:
    Ruhter and his crew shared his unique process of wetplate photography with a worldwide live audience – and me – along with his very personal story when he brought the world’s largest mobile camera to my studio and we shot several wet plate photos over the course of a 3-hour live broadcast. If you missed it, it’s one of my favorite episodes.

    His project has attracted a ton of attention and is a great example of the power of personal work. He transformed his life to follow his dream to do something different in photography. He has been living the mantra of doing something different… not just better.

    His personal artistic mission is for the creation of photographic art using the wet plate process dating from the 1850’s. His project “Silver and Light” is getting worldwide attention for both the story and the unique images he is creating.

    Ian’s story is one that is reflected in the subjects he photographs, Severely dyslexic as a kid he found himself as an outsider challenged by many obstacles. It was his mother’s gift of an old film camera that got him started on a way to express himself and the path to his present project. In his previous career as a snowboarder Ian was a rebel, which helped lead him to his direction as a photographer.

    His “American Dream” series has focused the largest portable camera in the world, a giant camera in a truck which he calls “The Time Machine”, on a cross section of others with a variety of challenges. His photographs present calm and dignified portraits that honour the subjects and tells their story. The narrative of Ian’s project and subjects are truly inspiring. Ian’s images of Los Angeles and the Mountains are one of-a-kind studies that are beautiful, mysterious, captivating and mesmerizing all at once.

    Now, just up to the north from us in Seattle, Ian is at it again, sharing his passion and his amazing Time Machine camera. He is creating a body of work focusing on Vancouver, people and the stories he can find. He will also be participating in a series of talks to share his stories.

    For more information on the project go HERE

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