As with previous Hasselblad Masters, American Chase Jarvis has always been fascinated by photography, although his interest began in front of the camera. As a young athlete at school he was frequently photographed not only by his father and grandfather, but also for the local newspapers. When his grandfather died, Chase inherited his camera equipment and used it to begin learning the art of photography, not realising at the time how it was to transform his life. Aged 35, he has now worked as a professional since 1996 and is proud of being 100% self-taught.
After leaving college, Chase spent a year backpacking around Europe where, using his grandfather’s 35mm camera, he shot hundreds of rolls of film of people and places he had seen. On his return to the USA, Chase moved to Steamboat, Colorado, a ski-bum town with a very laid-back lifestyle, to pursue his love of skiing while earning a living working as waiter and ski technician. At the same time, he photographed friends skiing and enjoying other outdoor sports, such as snowboarding, mountain biking and fly fishing.
In 1996 Chase moved back to Seattle to begin a Masters in Philosophy and, at the same time, began submitting some of his images to magazines. He soon found that he was able to make money selling them and suddenly a career in photography became viable. His unique talent in sports photography, where he was shooting real athletes in real situations rather than in a studio environment, was immediately apparent. It wasn’t long before his big break came, through a deal with outdoor sports retail giant, REI, at which point he left university to concentrate on his new career in advertising and corporate photography.
Based in Seattle, Chase is now an acclaimed sports, lifestyle and popular culture photographer working around the globe for major clients including Apple, American Express, Fuji Film, Gateway Computer Corporation, Helly Hansen, Kodak, Microsoft Corporation, MSN.com, Nike, Subaru and Volvo. His images breathe a compelling freshness – sometimes technical or conceptual, other times authentic or raw.
Today Chase shoots with a Hasselblad H3D platform, having recently upgraded from an H2D. He says “The H3D is an incredible machine, which allows me to capture wonderful images. In order to achieve successful results I require the highest quality digital capture which my Hasselblad equipment provides. I have been impressed by the way it enhances my work, makes my job easier and is durable enough to cope with any demands I make on it.”
Despite having produced an incredibly broad range of images, a distinct style runs through the core of all of Chase’s work. The phrase he uses to describe this link is ‘stylised authenticity’. “By this I mean that I am creating highly considered images in which every element is carefully controlled and resonates with a true authenticity. Even in my most quirky images, I try to make the image ring true in order for viewers to believe what they are seeing.”
With absolutely no regrets about his professional career as a photographer, Chase really enjoys the creative side of his work and thrives on the challenges posed by new assignments, especially when there are complex problems to be solved on location. He loves being able to collaborate with an experienced creative team to create an image that is unique and elevated. Working as a photographer has also afforded him the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all over the world.
In addition to achieving the accolade of Hasselblad Master, Chase has won many photography awards for commercial campaigns and personal work. Most recently he has won the Merit Award for Action Photography in the Advertising Photographers of America (APA) National Photography competition, the second year in a row that he has claimed a place in this esteemed contest. Earlier in 2007 he won Best Personal Work in the 2007 PDN Magazine Photo Annual, his third category win in four years in arguably the core photo industry’s most recognised award publication. A board member of numerous organisations, Chase is increasingly asked to speak at conferences to share his unique perspectives on the craft and business of photography.
Ironically, Chase mostly gets his inspiration from painters and says, “In particular I’m inspired by the line, style, boldness, colour and understanding of art and commerce of modern American/POP culture painters like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Lichtenstein and Jim Dine." He advises young aspiring photographers to remain positive and follow their dreams, saying, “Just pick a subject you like and go for it.” Although his experience as both an outdoor sports enthusiast and a photographer helped him to bring the best of both worlds to his work, he sees perseverance as the key to his continued success, as well as his appreciation of the relationship between art and commerce.
Chase also enjoys working on personal projects. “There is nothing quite like the freedom to create what your mind sees, independent of sketches, tearsheets and samples.”
For more examples of Chase’s work, go to www.chasejarvis.com