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Emerging Talent: Double Life + Self Portraits of Ophelia Olive […or rather, Nekole Kemelle]

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Welcome to a series of posts I’m calling Emerging Talent – where I’m spotlighting the work of photographers and filmmakers on the rise. Some are shooters that me and my spies will uncover from 500px or Flickr – others might already be shooting campaigns, but in both cases I don’t care about what the “industry” says. This is simply work I like. IMHO their careers are either on the move or are about to be. I get great pleasure out of seeing my peers make great stuff and I enjoy sharing their work. In many cases I draw inspiration from them as well. I hope you’ll join me in all this.

The first feature in this series is Ophelia Olive, a fashion photographer based out of New York City who is incredibly skilled at getting in front of her own lens. But wait, there’s more. Her real name is Nekole Kemelle, and despite the popularity of her fashion model counterpart “character” Ophelia Olive, there are very few details to be garnered about her on the internet. IMHO this only increases her mystique — and as art has the way of doing this — that mystique bleeds into our understanding of her images. Click through the gallery on the image tabs above to see what I mean.

While her work explores a myriad of subjects, I am most deeply intrigued by her self portraits. Anyone who has ever tried to artistically photograph themselves (I haven’t – I’m terrified of that) would know even better than those of us who haven’t attempted it – know just how difficult it can be. Plus, there’s a level of “meta” to the image that’s as intellectually gripping as the art itself.

Keep up the good work Opheilia Nekole Kemelle. Impressive stuff.

[Want to be featured in this Emerging Talent series? Don’t send me emails about it. The best way to get noticed is to a) do good, groundbreaking work; b)socialize that work; c)in particular post it to your own social channels but call out this series or link back to us with your desire to show up here. We’ll get that info via Google Alerts and pingbacks. Thx.]

Visual Voodoo: People as Street Art

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Street artist Mark Jenkins challenges people with his unique sculptures of humans in interesting or compromising situations. Made from packing tape and then dressed in pants and shirts, wigs and jewelry, these “dummy” arrest the passerbys with surprise and delight. Click through the gallery above to see some prime examples of Mark Jenkins’ work. Photos of the pedestrians passing seem completely disinterested in the oddities that they are strolling right past.

Twin beds and sleeping beauties on the sidewalk, headless people staring at the wall. Jenkins challenges the perception and kindness of city dwellers, in a simple and human way. The photographs of it, offer a meta view of this challenge.

Anybody got links that challenge our city dwelling with disruptive human art? I just can’t get enough…

**Update/Reminder: Come watch us work. Mark your calendars to join us LIVE online on Wednesday, February 29th. We’re broadcasting a LIVE, interactive fashion shoot with the legendary $150,000 Phantom cinema capturing 1000 frames or more per second in HD resolution. Details are here, attendance is free. Tune in.

Remembering Chris Rudolph

chris rudolph by chase jarvis

Last week, I lost a dear, dear friend.

Many of you probably heard about the fatal avalanche at Stevens Pass, WA, that claimed three lives. It made international news. My close pal Chris Rudolph was one of the victims. At just 30 years old, he was one of the kindest, most generous, talented people I knew. He loved the mountains. He loved to ski in the rain. He was the Ambassador of all things Rad.

I had the humble, amazing opportunity to work with Chris on these sorts of photos, on this book, oh, and he’s in this book too. He was a star. He will always be an inspiration.

Here is his Facebook page if you’re interested to see what a few of his friends thought of him.

He had a saying. “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” That is something we should truly aspire to. He will be so deeply, deeply missed.

I spoke at his memorial, but I was a wreck. Winding my way through a few stories about Chris – some heartfelt, some funny, some just to tell the world. Scott also spoke, but he was smart enough to read something he’d written in the days after Chris’ passing. It’s just beautiful and it’s preserved in writing, so I’ll leave you with Scotty’s words about Chris. RIP:

Our Friend Chris Rudolph – An Amplifier of Life
In a parallel universe, Chris, Jim Jack, Johnny and the rest of the crew skied safely and ecstatically down to the highway. The Stevens Pass van that Chris would surely have had en route would load them up and deliver them back to the resort in ecstasy and disbelief of how epic and how easy it all was. I know this, because I’ve been on that van ride. I’ve been at the bar afterwards as we all raised a glass to Chris for facilitating this finite slice of heaven. If we could only have realized how finite it would really be.

Chris and I shared many of these beautiful moments. Skiing, celebrating, making music, working, traveling, exploring, planning and giving freely of the gift of joy. He was a man with whom I had more in common than nearly anyone else in my life. Being around him gave me the feeling that my actions and motivations in life were of the highest tier, because the same actions and motivations were his.

My perspective on this is not unique. Chris served as an amplifier of life, in full support of anything positive, brave or inspired. For the people with whom he connected, Chris was a motivator, a collaborator and a model for fully living. A life more fully and joyfully lived creates stronger bonds. My dear friend Chris Rudolph created more of these bonds with more people than anyone I can think of.

Yesterday while in the midst of living his creed, Chris was killed. When he died he was in his element; on skis, in the mountains, on his favorite run, sharing the wealth with his close friends and a crew of people experiencing the place for the first time. This was Chris Rudolph at his finest.

What Chris has left for us is a profound sense of loss that is more burdensome and acute than many of us have experienced before. But more importantly, he’s left us a guide for interacting with the world around us. We’re left with the knowledge that we have a small window of opportunity in this life to forge friendships, to inspire, to live and to love. It’s time to open the floodgates and let it all fly. It’s what Chris would do.

Dead Mobsters Remind Us: Success in Your Work is in Your Quirk.

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All images courtesy of ICP

Photos of dead mobsters lying prone, surrounded by articles of clothing and police chalk markings. The crime scene, the murder as art.

Equal parts photographer and old-school sleuth Arthur “Weegee” Fellig had a otherworldly guidance that lead him straight to fresh crime scenes, like the plastic thing on a Ouija board. Working the streets of New York City in the 1930s and 40s, he consorted with both the good guys and the bad guys, as he documented crime and street life in his neighborhood.

Ultimately, Weegee was an amateur photographer with a killer eye for detail and an interest in the macabre…a darkroom guy with a quirky passion AND penchant for making connections with shady characters. In this way, this work should be seen as uplifting and accessible. Romantic? Creepy? Your call on that, but here’s what I know…

The kicker (and if I could should it from the mountaintop right now, I would…) = There is all the merit in the world in our personal quirks, our obsessions, our internal oddities. A a photograph is all about the story and the image and less to do with anything else – including technical know how. It’s having a point of view that matters. Celebrate YOUR viewpoint, quit looking over your shoulder. If Weegee can photograph dead mobsters, then you can find something in you that is legitimately meaninful, moving, and powerful. So what’s yours?

Click through the gallery above for samples of Weegee’s work to see what I mean. And while you’re at it, if you have a chance, check out these legendary, decades-old black-and-white frames and others that are on display NOW at the International Center for Photography in New York starting now. Also check out his books of prints – found at just about any bookstore with a decent photography section or here at Amazon.

Talent Imitates, Genius Steals: chasejarvisLIVE REMIX episode with MIKE RELM [coming Tues Feb 7]

mike relm on chase jarvis via SF Weekly

Mike Relm will move you. Photo: SF Weekly.

UPDATE: if you’re reading this post now…The no “Talent Imitates, Genius Steals – REMIX” edition of #cjLIVE with one of the world’s leading multimedia (audio + video) DJ’s Mike Relm is TODAY 11:00 Seattle Time, 2pm NYC, 19:00 London! Tune in here to the live page to unlock your creative mojo and realize that inspiration is all around you.
There’s a saying that you should understand. It’s “TALENT IMITATES. GENIUS STEALS.”

Now before your undies get in a wad, I’m not saying steal work and pretend it’s you’re own. More deeply, I’m asking a question. Do you want to understand and set free your most creative work? Then pay attention here. And mark my words: the REMIX is the single most important artistic concept of our time [Go ahead and read that again. And read all the way to the bottom if you want to win a Polaroid Z340 instant digital camera…]

In truth, I didn’t really understand this until I met THE remix king himself, MIKE RELM. If you’re familiar with Relm’s work, then you’ll know why he’s the very important guest kicking off our 2012 cjLIVE season this Tuesday, February 7th on chasejarvis LIVE. Mark your calendars – you will not forgive yourself if you miss this episode, especially because (apologies in advance…) the performance portion of the show–Mike ripping it on the 1’s & 2’s–can’t be rebroadcast based on music licensing. (irony noted ;)

Who: You, Me, Mike Relm & a worldwide gathering of creative people
What: Q&A plus a LIVE PERFORMANCE remix legend Mike Relm
When: this Tuesday, Feb 7th at 11:00am Seattle time (2 pm NYC time or 19:00 London time)
Where: tune in to It’s free – anyone can watch.

In the unlikely even you’re not familiar with Mike’s work, he is a director, a DJ, a producer and live performer like you’ve never seen and he’s perhaps more knowledgable about the Remix than anybody in my rolodex. He’s directed mashup music videos featuring Del the Funky HomoSapien, done commercials for Hollywood blockbuster films (like Favreau’s IRON MAN) and Google and beyond, he even performed live at the 2010 Olympics. This episode will slap you around and wake you up to the very real notion that talent really does imitate, while genius steals.

Ditch the idea of yourself as a lone artist out on the plains of oblivion. Throw away the notion that you are your own creative soul. Just like other no-BS, hard hitting episodes, this won’t be a about theories or what-ifs, this will be about how to specifically take stock of your inner dialog, fuse it with pop culture for inspiration, and then make kickass creative work.

***Lastly, two important things:

1. For some fun and to pimp this show, I’ll be giving away a brand-new Polaroid Z340 camera ($300 value) autographed by yours truly, to the the person who follows @chasejarvis and sends out the best tweet that contains the URL (or short url) to THIS post AND hashtag #cjLIVE, starting right now and ending at the beginning of the show on Tuesday. Enter as many times (tweets) as you want – we’ll be watching out for your shoutouts.

2. If you’d like to be a part of the live in-studio audience, meet me and Mike and our cjINC crew, sign up for our email newsletter on the cjLIVE page here AND send an email to with “Remix” in the subject line. We will invite 30 guests new to our email list to attend the show in Seattle.

See you on Tuesday Feb 7. Please spread the word! [some of Mike Relm’s work, below]

The Freshman Yearbook of Power Nerds, Washington DC Style

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All images by Christopher Leaman

Funny segue from yesterday’s political post… Got to thinking about politics and photography…. Though it seems otherwise at time, politicians aren’t actually celebs. Sure, they get their picture taken at press conferences, but–especially early on in their career–they’re not really used to having a photographer take a portrait of them like a rock star. They’re most often power nerds and people who do a job that’s -either wonderfully or catastrophically- public.

All this is hyper-evident in this series of photos by Washingtonian staff photographer Chris Leaman, assigned to shoot portraits of few from DC’s incoming class.

The range is entertaining–anywhere from delight to terror. The crispness and high contrast harkens a classic image from decades ago. The only indicators that these “un-moment” images were taken within the past decade are accessories, like paper coffee cups.

Click through to see more of my favs from this remarkably-wonderfully-awkward image set via the above tabs.

[Here’s the rest of the set, as well as Leaman’s work on his personal page.]

Remembering Sarah Burke

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Sarah Burke Freeskier Feature

Update: January 19, 2013 It’s been a year since Sarah Burke left us. Thinking of her and all she gave to us in life on this day.

Sarah Burke would light up a room when she walked into it. Actually more than that, she lit up an entire sport, and was bound to light up the world in the forthcoming Olympics, before she succumbed to spine injuries sustained while training in Park City on January 10. She passed away yesterday. The world lost an amazing skier and a superstar human being.

I had the amazing opportunity to know and work with Sarah over the course of a decade. During that time I, along with so many others, had the insanely good fortune to watch her change the face of women’s skiing and simultaneously watch her inspire all those around her. The image gallery above is the tip of an iceberg of images I was able to capture of/with Sarah. This tribute isn’t her best work, or mine. It isn’t meant to be. It’s rather a humble historical look back – in some cases looking back more than 10 years – at her first Freeskier skiing cover, her first Smith Goggle ad, her practicing runs at the X-Games, and that amazing smile. Working with her was pure joy. And she will be missed dearly. RIP.

My manager, Christopher Jerard, knew her even better than I did, as he was the publisher of Freeskier and Snowboard Magazine for many years before coming to work at CJinc. Jerard and I got the news of her passing while we were together yesterday. He wrote these words below about Sarah that I think we can all live by. The theme is ‘step up’. Step up to the challenges in your life. Step up for your friends, step up because it’s human to do so….

For my friend Sarah Burke – January 19, 2012

“Step up.”

I met Sarah when she was 16 years old shortly after I joined the staff of the brand new Freeskier magazine. She was already the “it” girl in freeskiing. Actually, in 1999 she was really the only girl in freeskiing. She was incredibly talented and fearless. And there was always that ever-present smile. She was shy early on -but before you knew it she was giving the editors at our magazine shots in the arm, still with that same great smile, and challenging us to get the shot, ski another run, or just have more fun. Her passion for skiing was evidenced by her athletic success – and her passion for life came through like the sun. She was a light for all of us. Just one of those people that is universally loved. For all of those who knew her only through the movies and photos – she was exactly as she seemed. Simply one of the best people you’ll ever meet. Pure love.

It’s impossible to deny, that by the time she was 20, she went from being a cute kid, to being simply drop-dead gorgeous. Suddenly she graduated from profiles in the ski industry standards Freeskier and Powder to being in Maxim, People and one FHM’s sexiest athletes alive. But she played it all off as no big deal with a humbleness rarely found at her level of success – an elegance and grace that was unique to her. And yet, even with all the beauty and the elegance, she was one of the toughest people Ive ever met. She once put me in a head lock. And I am not ashamed to admit I could not break out of it. And I tried. Hard. I think that memory would make her smile.

She could play with the boys. That is for sure. She had to for a lot of years in order to open up the sport for the women behind her. Her will and determination on and off the hill in this regard are legendary. Sarah was an innovator and a leader for women in skiing. Even as Sarah was an inspiration to so many people – but she was especially important for women athletes. She did more for the progression of woman’s freeskiing than any other single person – period. She was a founder of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals and was instrumental in helping to push the disciplines of skiing she loved, halfpipe and slopestyle skiing, into the Olympics for 2014. That will be a lasting part of her legacy forever.

She pushed her sport, her profession, to the next level. And even as she had to fight for women to be considered in competition with the men, when she took her hits, she always smiled through the bruise and the bang. Both on and off the hill. In 14 years of working with Sarah – I never saw her without a smile and a good word. Not once. Ever. No matter what. That smile on the podium, holding the X Games Gold four times? That was the same smile she would give 2 months later if you ran into her on the street in passing. So radiantly genuine.

Sarah will always be around us.Trennon Paynter, her coach and good friend to both Sarah and her husband Rory, sent a message out on twitter yesterday: “She’s in every snowflake, every ray of sunshine, every breeze. More than ever, now and always, #IBelieveInSarah.” She will always be there to remind us to “step up” and be better. No matter if it’s out skiing, at work, at the gym or remembering to smile and give your friend a hug. Do not hold back. Life is simply to precious and too much of a gift. Step up. Its such a powerful idea.

It was a dear friend of mine, Matt Harvey, the longtime Editor of Freeskier magazine, who reminded me of this playful challenge to step up that Sarah so often conveyed to her fans and those around her – with such obvious joy.

The news of Sarah’s passing hit in the middle of the work day and Matt was onstage hosting a Freeskier magazine sponsored event. He was a very close and personal friend of Sarah’s. To be in public and hurting, gutted with loss, was painful. But he remembered her words, “Step up.” She would tell him this, no matter if she was standing next to him on the hill taunting him to try a jump or rail slide or pushing him to go talk to the girl across the bar later that night – she was always nudging those around her to be better. And she led by example. So when it hurt and he wanted to hide – he smiled and remembered Sarah. He dug deep and stepped up. That’s what Sarah did when organizers told her that girls didn’t have a spot in competition and that’s what she did when she was battered from falls and that’s what she did when there was a line of little girls who wanted an autograph…hours after the last competition run of the day.
Sarah always stepped up. Always.

And that’s what we’re going to do to remember her. Step Up. Thanks Sarah. We will. And we’ll remember you’re smile when we do.

UPDATE: Was just sent this beautiful video montage of Sarah being amazing. Worth the watch.

A Sarah Burke tribute video. from Downtofilm. on Vimeo.

An Interview I hope You’ll Read [Yours Truly in Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine]

I normally don’t post or link to my mainstream media coverage here on the blog–not necessarily because of the perceived horn tooting, but primarily because a lot of those articles are just sort of vapid, empty whitewashes with little depth and even less bite. That said, I was just featured in the December issue of Juxtapoz Magazine – one of my favorite art & culture mags, one that I actually buy when I see it on the newsstand — AND I can honestly say that this article is different. It’s raw and largely unedited, in a good way. It’s something I’m excited to share. Lindsey Byrnes, the writer, actually knows a lot about visual art and asked some questions that I’ve not been asked before. So hopefully in your eyes there’s something beyond the typical here for your reading pleasure. As always, feel free chuck it to the side OR ask followup questions below. Thanks -cj

Rather, he’s excited to share his knowledge and pure love of photography with whomever’s interested. He’s an eminent photographer who has achieved great commercial success. He has won awards and is sought after for high profile campaigns. And he’s entered the world of fine art. Attempting to buy freedom is his general philosophy— just about every artist’s dream, is it not? Freedom to create and freely live.

What struck me most when I caught up with Chase was his explanation that “there are a million paths, let’s judge less the path and judge more the output…” —Lindsey Byrnes

Lindsey Byrnes: When and how did you develop your interest in photography?

Chase Jarvis: As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of pictures. I had these junky disc and 8mm cine cameras. My interest in all that probably developed from an early realization, a near obsession with the idea that we could capture time, capture stories and moments with tools and a bit of film. While growing up, both my grandfather and father were hobbiest photographers, and they shot a lot of images of me and my friends as young, punk, dirtbag, BMX’er, skater, soccer kids. Strangely, many of my remembrances from that era are memories of the images themselves even more than the memories of those moments. (How very Beaudrillard of me.) That kind of sticking power—that the imprint of a photograph can actually be more powerful than the original memory—made a real impression on me as a young adult. It made me want to pick up a camera and take it more seriously.

How did you go from a soccer scholarship at SDSU to shooting photos for ski and snowboard athletes? What was your first break? How did that even happen?

I grew up immersed in sports and did go to SDSU on a soccer scholarship, but my teens and early 20s were largely a reconciliation of my being a creative, arty kid trapped in a jock’s body. I had the perception that the world was only capable of putting a kid like me in one camp or the other, jock or artist, never both. But it was actually the SoCal skate/surf/punk scenes that helped me realize that it was ok to… ahem… go both ways. So I did. Music, art, culture and sports all jumbled together was my ticket to a bit of clarity. Combine that clarity with the untimely death of my grandfather, who willed me his camera and a bunch of lenses the week of my college graduation. It was a confusing and ironically perfect storm. With new freedom, some self-confidence, some curiosity, and a camera,

I took all that to Europe for six months, lived out of a bag, and taught myself how to take pictures. The experience was transformative. Secretly, probably even to me at the time, it was during those months of traveling and taking pictures, when I realized that life as an artist wasn’t just a possibility, but was what I had to do.

I stretched a little money a long way in Europe, but was soon broke and decided to move to Colorado to co-mingle my love of skiing and snowboarding with my photography. I fell into a crew of talented 20-something snow sport junkies and creatives—many with ambitions to make a life doing what they loved—and although a lot of my photos sucked, I started getting a few good ones. Fast forward twelve months, lots of wasted film and time sunk, and I was licensing images to ski and snowboard companies, shooting every day, and living a goddamn dream.

So, would you say that it all happened pretty quickly?

Considering that for my whole life I’d been told, by no particular person, but sort of ubiquitously by society and social circles, that it was mostly impossible to make a living as an artist, it was interesting how fast it all came together once I actually focused all my energy on making stuff, and sort of declared those intentions the world. So I guess that, ultimately, having the balls to pursue my work with purpose, especially as a career, took years and years. But once I committed, things moved really quickly.

Where many people really struggle with the business aspect, you have been able to parlay your interest in photography into quite a successful commercial career. To what do you attribute that? Was there a lucky break? Why do you think so many other artists have difficulty making that work?

I think it’s more of the ten-year-overnight success syndrome. There hasn’t really been any one break by my counting, just a lot of small successes combined. Two steps forward, one step back—head down to the trenches, make stuff and put it out there in the world to get cheered or jeered. I can’t speak for other artists, but I think the “making it work” part just takes a hell of a lot longer than most people expect or want to give.

What or who inspired you to working commercially rather then focus solely on a fine art career?

Initially, it was purely about being creative. It wasn’t at all about doing commercial work instead of fine art, or before fine art. The pretense around all that was the furthest thing from my mind. It was about getting paid to do what I loved, period. The fact that magazines and companies out there were willing to pay me to travel the world with friends to shoot ski, snowboard, and skate pictures and films made it a no brainer. I felt lucky. Grateful. And for me it beat the hell out of any typically “real” job, or waiting tables or bartending. And it still does.

As time went on, I suppose I’ve gathered perspective and more experience, and with that, I have segmented the work a little more into the fine art and commercial art compartments. But I’m finding it much less useful than I’d been led to believe. I really enjoy working in both camps. And, to that end, I’ll add that I think the rigid classification of art as fine or commercial is actually eroding. Never really as cleanly delineated as people have made it out to be, the veil is being lifted a little more every day. That bullshit—and the hierarchy manufactured around it—is more and more just false, machine-driven distinctions. Those distinctions have rarely been anything that artists lived or died by, or used in the making of this or that. Those distinctions have always been more about the machine, and the machine’s need for classifications, barriers, segments, and the manufactured pedigrees that come along with it. This new era into which I think we’re emerging is actually more art and artist-centric for the better.

Ultimately, art is about making stuff. My time in philosophy at art grad school helped me understand the certain necessities around classifying it, etc. But, at the end of the day, all the artists I know are pretty damn happy just to be making a living by making stuff, regardless of what people call it.

Explain how, at this stage of your career, you see yourself as a photographer. An artistic photographer taking commercial imagery to another level? How would you describe your contributions?

I’m not too concerned with titles or descriptors, so I’ll generally take whatever creative moniker people give

me. But I think the most accurate is just “artist”. Not because I’m critical about the term “photographer” or trying to snatch up more creative ground than photographers are typically allowed. But primarily because viewing myself as a photographer, or describing my work to somebody else in that most respectfully simple term, just seems incomplete. I guess I’m sort of a hyphen… Or like one of those German words that is like ten words fused together.

And for what it’s worth, I’ve been told my whole career that being a hyphen, that not having a simple title or a term that describes you or your art is horrible for one’s image, or marketing, or brand, or whatever. Which is total bullshit. I’m doing just fine without a specific label right now. Most people that buy my work or that I work with in a commercial capacity are just fine with not having a buzzword to describe the work. Fitting into a tidy little box isn’t my job— my job is to make stuff and get people to see and think differently.

Let’s talk about the fine art you have been doing and the show that you curated for the Ace Hotel! In blending social media and art, can you explain this inspiration and how it is going? Do you feel this is an actual step towards that segment of the art world that people need to classify as “fine art?”

Let’s face it: we have hit a critical mass of cameras in our culture. They are nearly ubiquitous. Point and shoot cameras, Polaroids, web cameras, surveillance cameras, DSLR cameras, and particularly mobile phones. An earlier body of my


work called The Best Camera is The One That’s With You focused on mobile phone photography and yielded the first photo book on the subject, and the first live, unedited feed of mobile images from around the world. Celebrating that we can now be whimsically, instantly, in-the-moment free to be more creative than ever before, my current work has come to rest not in the artistic exploration of what creativity these devices afford, but specifically the content of the snapshot images that spring from them.

Like it or not, the snapshot has become the most meaningful visual storyboard we have of our ‘being’ in the world because it is pure, direct, unmediated visual expression. It refreshingly lacks academic influence or vogue and invites accessibility and participation. The intention to capture a moment is fundamentally present but not over thought. There is a raw, metaphysical power present in snapshots—especially some aggregate of them—that cannot be denied.

My recent installation at Ace Hotel NYC called Dasein: An Invitation to Hang was a deeper exploration of this concept, a celebration of the snapshot. It involved hanging thousands of printed snapshot photographs, my photos, the photos of some of the most well-known photographers and celebrities of our time, and images from photographers all over the world, all curated and displayed anonymously together throughout the course of a month. Hundreds of new images were curated from digital submissions to, printed and hung in the physical gallery space every day for 30 days, to create a living, breathing, piece of artwork that was as dynamic and fleeting as the images from which it emanated.

How’s it going?

The installation at the Ace just wrapped up, but I can say pretty definitively that it blew all of my expectations out of the water. All told, more than 15,000 images were a part of the project, from thousands of artists and something like 150 countries. The Ace extended the show three times. I was humbled and, quite frankly, blown away to be visited at the Ace by curators from most of the major NYC museums, including The Met, and MOMA. Given some of those meetings, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the concept is really just beginning. I have high hopes that it can grow, evolve, and continue in one of those major venues. My inspiration for creating work like this lies in an attempt to get us to rethink and re-contextualize modern photography, and the culture of making and sharing art. Anything that attempts to do this without tapping into social media would be remiss, right? So that’s where the social media stuff comes into some of work.

It has enabled a new kind of art that is widely interdisciplinary, interactive, and symbiotic, and most importantly, it requires the participation of others. Such a transformative art has only become possible in the last ten years, which for lack of a better term, I call social art. Not unlike street art and graffiti, the spirit embodied is one of immediacy and accessibility, of creative empowerment and self-expression.

While it’s my name that is screened onto the wall at the Ace installation, it’s more complex than that. The structure of this installation alone is an open challenge to the status quo. Not only did well-known artists hang next to unknown artists, but everyone owned it and no one owned it. Stuff like this is may be difficult or impossible to categorize, but that’s part of what is exciting. Not only does it celebrate new notions of openness, accessibility, distribution, and the democratization of creativity, but also these themes are appropriated by the work and become meta-narratives beyond the underlying subject matter.

You are completely plugged in to the newest ways to promote your work including CHASEJARVISLIVE, which live streams your photo shoots. How do you come up with these ideas, and what is the advantage of a live stream like that?

That’s a fun side project. The back-story is that I started messing around with live Internet video broadcasts a couple years ago and it became pretty interesting to me. We streamed a couple live photoshoots and a lot of people started watching, like twenty or thirty thousand, and sort of figured we were on to something. It’s not network numbers, but I didn’t give a shit. It’s unique to broadcast TV in that it’s interactive, so people in Malaysia and Russia and New York and South Africa can ask the guests questions via Twitter, for example, and they get answers on the show in real time. It is a great way to bring creative, culturally curious people from all over the world together. Since 100% is under my control, it gets to be uncompromising and laid back and whatever format we want. And it’s okay to swear and drink beer and stuff like that.

Over the past year we’ve become more organized, made more of an actual show, and called it Chase Jarvis Live ( But it ultimately isn’t about my work at all. I’ve tailored the show toward sharing with the world some of my insanely talented friends who range from Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, Grammy award winning musicians, New York Times best selling authors, and also some of my homies who maybe haven’t got a ton of traditional recognition, but deserve it or will get it soon. It is a bit selfish, I suppose, because I love spending time with these great people and they inspire me personally. But, fundamentally, my hope is to connect my audience with these guests and vice versa so that everybody wins. The show keeps growing, so I think it’s working.

I became familiar and a fan of your work after a friend showed me the video you made for Nikon showcasing the D7000; how did you begin working with Nikon, and what is the scope of your relationship?

I don’t recall when Nikon first reached out, but my earliest memory recalls when I was commissioned by them to create the campaign around the world’s first HDSLR— the D90. It was the first camera enabled with the technology to produce not just stills, but also video with that shallow depth-of-field, cinematic look of a camera that, before the D90’s time, cost $100,000 or more. It’s hard to visualize in these terms now, but that shit was revolutionary just a few years ago. I shot the still and video campaigns for the launch of the camera and made a behind-the-scenes video, which became the first viral video of its kind, clocking millions of eyeballs. Like all things, a little talent with a lot of luck converged at the right place, right time. It was a big honor getting to throw the first stone into the pond. And since then, it’s been so amazing to see what this technology has enabled, completely juicing the indie digital filmmaking revolution.

The above D90 gig went so well that I got invited back the following year to shoot another campaign, this time for Nikon’s newest HDSLR camera, the D7000. That work is the film your friend showed you, and it was even more fun in that I got to actually make a short concept film that had been brewing in my head for a while. Called Benevolent Mischief, it melded street art and graffiti with originally scored classical music. Then I immediately released a remixed version of that film in music video format with rapper Victor Shade. Those shorts, plus a ‘making of’ video, had an even greater reach than the D90 stuff, so everyone had a good bit of fun and came out smelling like roses.

What inspires you right now?

Right now most of my inspiration is couched in a few camps. One is straight up snapshot photographs, real un-moments seemingly unremarkable until you look more closely. Ari Marcopoulos has a great saying about shooting the everyday stuff; he calls it shooting things that are “at arm’s length.”

That’s interesting—it’s close to me, both physically and emotionally. Perhaps I find these images most interesting because they comes from a definitive point of view— one that only I could have, a photo that only I could take.


Another inspiration, a constant, is people, not famous people, but the almost famous. Because

fame is weirder, wider, and more abstract, intangible, and complex now more than ever before.

The third camp involves mosaics of images, patterns, or aggregates of images that come together to say, do, or make something larger than an individual photograph, usually of people from the above genre.

The Dasein project is indicative of all three camps. The latest thing I’m wrapping up right now for the Polaroid 50/50/50 show at Phillips de Pury next month is also in this lineage, large mosaics where hundreds of individual images become pixels in a larger image. I think of them as little cultures or societies— each photo needing the photos next to them to stand up. A lot of meaning resides in the one image, one person, one photo, one expression, but a much larger meaning emerges when aggregated with the other, larger cast of characters.

When commercial companies seek you out to create original, jaw-dropping campaigns, how are you inspired for each project? What contributes to the actual execution? Do you work with a big production crew or a small team? Do many first ideas get rejected, and if so, does that impact your personal project ideas?

It’s much more collaborative than it used to be. I’m brought in a lot earlier in the conception phase now, and am actually inspired by many of the parameters, which can really spur creativity. In some ways, I think there are constraints placed on artists when doing commercial work of a certain size. Although there is a common belief in the art world that creative constraints are bad, I don’t see it that way. I think that interesting visions can be inspired through boundaries. Limitations seem to drive my creativity, forcing me to think on command, which I think that is a great challenge for any artist.

The crews I work with range from just me to fifty or more people on a commercial set.

Few of my first ideas get rejected, but almost none of the final products look like what they start out looking like. It’s almost always a collaborative, evolutionary process.

And when you can’t find inspiration?

The best thing for me to do is forget about my need for inspiration and go out and live a little more. Get uncomfortable. Live some other art. Travel. Walk the earth and get into adventures. I believe pretty strongly that this sort of thing comes from deep inside. So it requires some shake-up. Ironically, for me, getting inspired is ultimately about forgetting about looking for inspiration, because in that mode, you’re always judging. And when you’re judging, you’re not nearly as open to some inspiration that might crack you upside the head. Escape and engage.

Get Schooled: Best Biz Advice for Creatives with Ramit Sethi [chasejarvis LIVE re-watch]

If you weren’t one of the 25,000+ people who watched this show on the day it was broadcast or if you couldn’t take notes fast enough and need to see it again, we rallied and pulled together a YouTube re-watch for you & your comrades… I was lucky enough to host business guru and #1 Amazon and New York Times Best-Selling author Ramit Sethi for a hard-hitting, no BS chasejarvis LIVE focused on the the thing that keeps most artists/creative minds down…it’s the BUSINESS side of being a creative…for photographers, filmmakers, video peeps, designers…anything creative. Check it out.
UPDATE: Ramit was just featured in a mammoth, 6 page spread in Fortune Magazine here…check it out.

Ramit also created a special landing page on his site for #cjLIVE viewers with a video to get you up to speed on some of his techniques and other products aimed to help you in biz. Check him out on here on Twitter too.

How To Make a Kickass Portfolio: chasejarvis LIVE Re-Watch with Allegra Wilde

In case you missed our December 6th episode of Chase Jarvis LIVE, it was all about the portfolio. We had Allegra Wilde, visual strategist and co-founder of on the show, talking about common mis-steps and some of the best ways for your work to get noticed. She even gave us a quick portfolio review and a sneak peek at her upcoming service You missed quite the show, indeed, but luckily the re-watch of that broadcast is right here.

The Best Advice Ever On The Business of Art & Photography — Ramit Sethi on #cjLIVE — Tues Dec 13

UPDATE: if you’re reading this post now…The no BS Business Edition of #cjLIVE with #1 Amazon & New York Times best-seller Ramit Sethi is TODAY 11:00 Seattle Time, 2pm NYC, 19:00 London! Learn to negotiate fees and show value to your clients from one of the world’s best…

No one has single-handedly given me better insight about the business side of art/photography than has Ramit Sethi. [Go ahead and read that again.] In a single conversation earlier this year he dropped so much knowledge on me that I couldn’t take notes fast enough. So right now, you should be asking yourself “Who is this guy?” and “How can I learn from him?” Questions answered: Ramit is a business guru, the author of #1 Amazon & New York Times Best-Selling “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, AND–lucky for all of us–he’s my guest this Tuesday, December 13th on chasejarvis LIVE. Do yourself a favor – tune in to that show.

Ditch the idea of yourself as a starving artist. Throw away the notion that you’re doomed to be another poor creative soul. This won’t be a fluffy episode about theories or what-ifs, this will be a hart hitting, no BS, hit list for succeeding at the business/financial side of art, photography, design, or any creative pursuit. Ramit (@ramit) blows me away because he can put into words (and actionable to-do lists) all the stuff you’ve been thinking you could say or do…or wanting to say to your clients past, present and future.

Who: You, Me, Ramit & a worldwide gathering of creative people
What: Q&A with business coach/NYT best-seller Ramit Sethi
When: this Tuesday, December 13th at 11:00am Seattle time (2 pm NYC time or 19:00 London time)
Where: tune in to It’s free and anyone can watch.

Among other things, we will discuss:

_Specific techniques to negotiate with your clients
_Concrete strategies to help you earn more money per job, shoot, photo, etc
_How to –in very specific terms– illustrate the value of your creative work to your clients
_When to work for free (or cheap) and when NOT to
_How these principles can guide so many other parts of your life
_and a metric tonne more…

Also, we will be taking a boatload of questions from YOU, so cue them up now and ask them all during the show using my Twitter handle @chasejarvis and hashtag #cjLIVE. If you don’t come away with a new vocabulary for talking about the value of your work AND a new bad-ass approach for negotiating, I’ll eat my shorts.

***Lastly, for a little fun and to pimp this show, we’ll be giving away two signed copies of Ramit’s Best-Selling book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, to the two people who send out the best tweet that contains the URL (or short url) to THIS post AND hashtag #cjLIVE, starting right now and ending at the beginning of the show on Tuesday. Enter as many times (tweets) as you want.

See you on Tuesday Dec 13. Please spread the word!

[image by Mike Kepka/SF Chroincle]

A Polaroid A Day for 6,000 Days [18 years!]

NYC Photographer Jamie Livingston shot a Polaroid photo everyday for 6,000 days, or, roughly, 18 years. The first shot was of his girlfriend at the time on March 13, 1979.

His last photo was on his deathbed, dying of cancer on October 25, 1997.

And so I ask you, how strong is YOUR commitment to a creative life?
Enough said.

Here’s the site where most of the images are scanned in…

[Thanks Lee.(via this…)]

Guaranteed to Look Twice: Powerful Photos of 2 Year Olds Smoking

Don’t view this as endorsement of kids smoking, tobacco or any of that shiznit. But these photos will make you look twice, guarenteed. Regardless of if it’s social, political or commercial, or otherwise, it’s very effective art. This is smart, powerful, horrible.

This photo series “The Beauty of an Ugly Addiction” is Photographer Frieke Janssens’ response to nicotine addiction and new smoking laws. She asks, “does this ban treat adults like children who can’t willfully decide whether or not to partake in this horribly harmful habit? What is it about smoking, aside from the obvious addictive content, that draws people in? Is it its image from film noir? Is it the appeal of its performative consumption, that mannerism or pose that seems to imbue a smoker with a particular sort of character?”

Can’t argue that you’ll stop and look. Tell me what you think in the comments. Then check out this sort of surreal behind the scenes video is here:

[via flavorpill, neatorama]

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