DPP Home Profiles Chase Jarvis: Master Of The New Media

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chase Jarvis: Master Of The New Media

Chase Jarvis is the consummate photographer, bringing a pure love for the medium and an energy-fueled gusto to the world of commercial photography


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“I was one of the first people that was doing behind-the-scenes videos,” he says, “long before it was cool to be transparent, and I was getting hated on by the longtime pros in my industry for revealing the secrets. I was like, dude, come on, information moves so quickly these days, and if you don’t know it, you’re about to find out. When the blogging platforms really got lined up, and when video started becoming a reality on demand, I could go out and take a video of myself talking about photography, or I could make a short film, or I could just go out and take 10 pictures and put them out there without anyone’s permission. It was the first time in the world that people could really go ‘click’ and it would be out in the world. I loved that. I’ve always kind of resisted the need to have approval from the machine.”

He’s as interactive with his audience as possible, too, with Twitter and Facebook accounts, and even downloadable podcasts via iTunes. He makes it a goal to share at least one picture a day with his fans, a process that led to a new book he recently released called The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You, which was instantly an Amazon bestseller. Comprised of shots taken with his iPhone, it’s a gallery of fine-art imagery that illustrates how important it is to Jarvis to shoot constantly in order to refine your photography. Jarvis is definitely a Mac fan boy, too. One of his clients is Apple, and he runs a Mac-centric studio. He also released an iPhone application of his own called Best Camera, which adds filters and effects to images for replicating Jarvis’ signature looks.

“One minute, I literally have the most expensive camera that you can buy in my hands,” he says about the book, “and in the next hand, I have an iPhone. To be able to take each of them and run as fast and as far as you can—that, to me, keeps me really engaged. It’s not for everybody, but it’s a big part of what keeps me creatively motivated. When I started sharing my process online—saying this is how I do something, here are my settings, here is the model—people were nothing but excited about it. So when I started shooting with my iPhone, it was like, this is my visual journal. This is the production of my ideas. I take a hundred pictures of crappy textures and colors and wallpapers and my hungover buddy’s bathrobe, and just weird stuff, and that actually informs the work that makes people go, ‘Oh, wow! That’s cool!’”

It takes more than just Internet savvy to become a success, and while this business model has worked extremely well for Jarvis, he also has been a professional photographer since 1996. New photographers are faced with an onslaught of fierce competition online, and while it was never easy, getting traffic to your site is certainly more difficult than it was when Jarvis began blogging. When asked if he thinks that this business model will continue to work for future photographers, Jarvis is, in standard fashion, more than optimistic.

“The people that are charged and pumped about it are the people who understand the new kind of technology and the new media,” he explains. “The people that it scares, they just tend to be people that don’t want to integrate new ideas. The times? They are a-changin’. If you’re creating cool enough things, and sharing them, then you’re going to develop an audience. As you develop an audience, you can monetize it. I haven’t monetized the audience on my blog at all, but there really is a model out there that’s going to allow the professional creative who wants to operate in this space to be independent. Conceptually, that’s a very new and different idea.

“Unfortunately, most of what’s going on right now is a fear-based response in the photography industry,” adds Jarvis. “You know the adage, anybody with a D-SLR is a ‘professional,’ and for those photographers that are really thinking in those terms, if that’s your vision, then you need to become either a better photographer or a better businessperson. You shouldn’t be threatened by a kid with an EOS Rebel. You really have to be able to differentiate yourself. I hope that this fear-based response goes to something more positive because I think it’s the most exciting time in history to be a photographer. There are more images being used now than ever before!”

To see more of Chase Jarvis’ work, visit www.chasejarvis.com.

 

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