Marc Silber: We're here in San Francisco with our friend Chase Jarvis again, a world renowned photographer with a boatload of awards and a brand-new book which we're going to talk to him about.
Marc: Chase, thanks for joining me again on our photoshow.
Chase Jarvis: My pleasure Marc, nice to see you man, how are you doing?
Marc: Yeah, great to see you.
Chase: Right on.
Marc: Now you have been one busy guy since the last time we talked. You've released a book?
Chase: It's true.
Marc: And a whole ecosystem, so what's the story here?
Chase: I guess the short version is that when the iPhone first came out, a couple of years ago, I started taking pictures with it right away and I used that as my visual journal.
Chase: You know, no- what is it, like painters, they have sketch books and writers have notepads, and, and the iPhone really became that for me, I was always just snapping pictures of things that, that inspired me and things that, that, that caught my eye and I used that information and visual journal to then, kind of I guess play a role in my proffesional work, and my, my, both commercial and fine art stuff, and then I started realising that "Wow, I was having a lot of fun taking pictures", I had this kind of like renewed sense of innocence about photography and at some point I looked around and I had, well, twelve or fifteen thousand pictures, and I thought...
Marc: Twelve or fifteen thousand?!
Chase: Yeah, yeah...
Marc: Okay, you're snappy!
Chase: I'm busy with this thing... I'm telling you, yeah and I thought: Wouldn't it be interesting to publish a book of just these, you know, three megapixel pictures to kind of make a statement to the world, like: "Hey, look it! It's really not about resolution and not about dynamic range, it's about little moments and seeing differently"...
Chase: And not a lot of artists turned their visual journals inside out, us-, usually those aren't published until long after people are dead, and I thought it could be an interesting topic, and lo- low and behold, we, we've, kicked the book out, and it's been, it's been ripping up the shelves and the-, there's a twist to that, which in the process of shooting with the iPhone so much and in the process of Apple allowing us to have these Apps, that, that, that people can develop now, I started finding the limitations of the Apps that are out there, I used all of them and, you know, some of them a ton, and realised "Wow, wouldn't it be cool to create my own?", because I was sharing them everyday: these pictures on facebook and twitter, through kind of a daily iPhone picture...
Chase: And I was using five and six and sometimes seven different photo applications to get the looks that I wanted and be able to share them and so, to the process of taking the pictures and creating this visual journal, I, I dreamed up what would be the ultimate iPhone App for me so I found a development partner and ubermind, and low and behold, we had an App, and then I said: "Wow, let's, you know, what about a unique, new place to share all these pictures that were being created on the iPhone?", so we created a, a site at "thebestcamera.com", and that, that kind of buttoned up the ecosystem.
Marc: In the last interview, you were talking about your marquis point of photography is turning the image on its head.
Marc: So, what are some practical steps that a viewer could use in terms of doing that in their own work?
Chase: Okay, I, I'm gonna talk about kind of flipping on its head in, in two categories: there's the *literal* flipping on its head in the *literal* composition, and in that case, I have a, a kind of a signature style which is very kind of, it's one of two things: it's either very, very bold and in your face or there's alot of negative space. So compositionally in the classic sense, I try and drive towards those two things. And then there's the conceptual composition which is an individual's unique viewpoint and a lot of people I think spend time chasing something that other folks are doing out there, like "Oh, I want my pictures to look like this, or like that", and I think there's a certain part of that that's good when you're trying to learn, because you're imitating and that's a form of kind of studying. But when you're really trying to develop your own personal vision or creating pictures that only you can take, people need to look inside because that's the way they're going to differentiate their images from someone else's. What life experiences do, do you have that, that really can set your pictures apart; what kind of pictures can *you* take that nobody else in the world can?
Marc: Here's a straight-on question about equipment: What's the best camera to have?
Chase: I would advocate that, that's the perfect leading question, by the way, I would advocate that the best camera is the one that's with you, and that is the title of the book: this one here.
Chase: And, okay? And what I mean by that is that if I've got my Nikon D3X hanging around my neck, that's great; that's the best camera because it's, you know, it's one that's with me and it...
Marc: You're shooting it.
Chase: Yeah, it can take beautiful pictures.
Chase: But the reality is that, that we don't all live our lives with our Nikon D3X's hanging around our neck. But one of the things that I noticed in my, you know, in my kind of studying of the world around me was that I always *did* actually have a camera with me: it was in my cellphone. And, you know, as said before, for me it's the iPhone, and, and I'm not saying that, that for the folks at home it would be anything different but it *could* be a Samsung, Windows Mobile or Blackberry, whatever it is that, that...
Chase: It's fascinating to me that in our modern culture, almost everyone has a camera with them at all times. And normally, the barrier to any kind of mass cultural movement is this, it's this big, it, there's a big hurdle to entry: you have to get people to do X and jump over Y, and one of the things that occured to me was: "Wait a minute! Like there's just a revolution waiting to happen right here because everybody already has the camera, and they don't even know it: it happens to be their cellphones. So what if we can get people to take that thing out of their pocket and use it and it doesn't matter if it's two megapixels, three point two megapixels or ten megapixels, it's the fact that they're taking pictures and then, you know, hopefully sharing them with the world. Again, if you have your twenty five megapixel camera, that's great, but most of the time we have our three megapixel camera so let's use those.
Marc: So that's the inspiration behind the book.
Chase: Yeah, that's the inspiration behind the, the, the kind of whole concept of "The Best Camera's the one that's with you", you know for me it resulted in a book, and the book, as I've mentioned to you before is really about: "I want people to pick that thing up and say: "Wow, there's some amazing pictures in here but there's also some snapshots, there's these little wonderful little moments"", and if people are like "Wait a minute! Chase is a proffesional photographer, he's been blah blah blah blah master blah blah blah, but *I* could take that picture!", I would say "Exactly!", and, you know, "Why don't you?". And, and again, that process really got me thinking about the applications, and I was using so many different applications to take a picture and share it with my facebook and twitter followers every, every day; it's like I wanted to bundle all that into one application. So the application "Best Camera", which you can get at iTunes is I think the easiest one out there going where you could take a picture, apply some cool effects, and again, my sixty three year old mother can just jam through this thing, but so can my hardcore commercial photographer buddies. They, they can make something really advanced and, and interesting in their own right, and then hit "Share" and share it to facebook, twitter, you know, via email, at the touch of a button. And we're listening to the folks out there for feedback on thebestcamera; we want to make it, we're not in this, this is not a short term thing, I'm in it to make an impression in the long term capacity and, and we want feedback, so hopefully, hopefully we can continue that dialogue with the world and make it a more interesting place photographically.
Marc: So we've got some synergy here, because my mission with the show is to bring viewers in contact with many photographers, so they...
Marc: Get inside their world and you're making it accesible to get those shots.
Chase: Hey, my pleasure!
Marc: We're going in the same direction.
Chase: Agreed, agreed and I, I value and appreciate what you're doing for the community.
Marc: Thanks, Chase.
Chase: My pleasure, man.
Marc: Okay, thanks for joining us again, letting us take another look at your world.
Chase: My pleasure.
Marc: Subscribe to our blog where we'll give you tips and updates about the show and other cool stuff. Also, check out Chase's blog "ChaseJarvis.com/blog". Tune in to our next episode where we get another look at a photographer's world. Until then, this is Marc Silber reminding you to get out and capture your *own* images of life.