Conversation with Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis: Creating a Life of Creativity, Income, and Sweaty Palms

92 Comments

I first met Chase Jarvis at a Summit Series dinner in Washington, DC.

It was sensory overload from the beginning: Olivia Munn was seated on my left, Mark Cuban was across the table, and everyone was drinking too much wine. Then, a Polaroid camera appeared in my hand (thank you, time travel) — in fact, multiple cameras were placed at every table — and creative chaos ensued.

Chase, as creative MC of that dinner, knew exactly what he was doing when he architected the bonding exercise. He’s become a superstar in the world of professional photography by showcasing his mastery of the craft (best known for sports and lifestyle pics), while using PR and branding to further his art instead of compromise it. He’ll go off-the-grid indie one week, and the next week, he’ll be the only person besides Lady Gaga to join the Polaroid creative team.

How does he do it?

How do you balance — nay, OPTIMIZE — artistic purity and commercial success as a “creative,” whether a photographer or otherwise? “Optimize,” in this context, for the best combination of lifestyle, integrity, and income?

Chase and I explore this topic and many others in his beautiful studio… and don’t miss his very Punk’d-like surprise for me at the end. It’s related to my first-ever photo shoot as photographer, which he walks me through.

Hint #1: Sweaty palms. Hint #2:

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. Here are some more of the pics from our little experiment.

Whom should Chase interview next, or whom should I interview next? Let us know in the comments.

###

Odds and Ends: Room to Read library names

I’m still blown away that you all helped raise more than $30,000 for a $20,000 project, which has therefore become $60,000 after matching. As promised, 30 of you will be thanked by name on plaques, 10 names on each of three schools. Here are the “winners” — generous contributors and fundraisers:

From the fundraising competition:
Grand prize: Melissa Rachel Black = Grand-prize winner of RT ticket anywhere in the world (watch your e-mail, Melissa!)
Second place: Rachel Rofe
Third place: David Turnbull

Thanks to all who competed! Every person made a difference, and you should be proud of your real-world karmic capitalism.

The top-30 most generous donors, in no particular order:


Ami Grimes
Tom Cronin
Kenny Tomasian
Wesley Butler
Benjamin Johnson
Angela Johnson
Hrag Richard Toutikian
Charlton Locke
Chris Camillo
Damian Hehir
Rosane Oliveira
Damien Forsythe
Spiderhost, Inc – Dale Frohman
Michael Gridley
Cathy Baker
David Turnbull
John Bracco
Caroline Sdano
Jay Vinsel
Kevin Pavlish
William Schwalbe
Kelley Bieringer
Jason Hauck
Justin Smith
Paul Kearns
Eric Aber

You all rock. More coming as soon as I start to get status updates on the school construction in Cambodia, Laos, and Nepal :)

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

92 comments on “Conversation with Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis: Creating a Life of Creativity, Income, and Sweaty Palms

  1. One of my friends is a professional photographer. He has his own studio and posts a lot of his works in a social networking site. He always mention it to his friends that photography is more than just to take some pictures in places that you want or with just a beautiful model. In my opinion, photography is a modern art. If you were able to make a beautiful shot, it’s a masterpiece; you can consider it as your “Mona Lisa” and show it to the whole world. Furthermore, making a good shot also entails hard work, perseverance and a lot of good ideas. With good ideas, creativity would just emerge and in my opinion, everybody has their own ways to be creative, but I could say that not all people can express it through photography. At the end of the day, I just wanted to say, keep up the good job and keep posting articles like this.

  2. Previsualizing worst case scenarios…in “HD” -what a fantastic way to articulate this! Clarity is king in unleashing what we all have to offer. And as Candice proved visually and you and Chase proved intellectually, starting with great ingredients that you offer elegantly (aka with as little modification as possible) yields a very valuable and inspiring result. Thanks to all involved for your collective generosity!
    Eric

  3. That was a great video Tim. I really love photography glad you have a wonderful conversation with Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis. It inspires me and learned a lot. Well done and Thank you!

    Regards,

    Amz

  4. Hey Tim-

    I am pleased to say that I have taken your advice and contacted someone that I see as a mentor. You have literally changed my life, and as much as I think you hear that from so many different people, I needed to let you know.

    It is for this reason that I am contacting you for a bit of advice. I wanted to know when you go about doing your 80/20 analysis with your friends, and you find someone who can provide more pleasure than anyone but not having them around causes more stress than anything else, how do you go about reversing the fact that they choose to not be in your life?

    I know you are a busy man and certainly don’t like to respond to any emails but any help will be deeply appreciated.

    Thank you.

    AG Ghavami

  5. Tim these Athletic Greens guys which are advertized on your site have terrible shipping and their site is very buggy with shipping errors placing multiple orders that you do not intend to place just thought i would let you know since i have recieved nothing from them, the order is a week late and they are spamming my inbox

  6. Who wouldn’t knew Chase Jarvis (a professional photographer) if you’re in the world of photography and fashion? Optimizing artistic side and being creative is what he is doing. Who wouldn’t want that?

    As what Tim Ferriss does, he apply the things that he learned for Chase Jarvis from the time they had a talk with each other. He produces some beautiful pictures.

    If Tim can do it, why can’t we? the important thing is we need to have passion in what we are doing and we are persistent enough to learn. Thus, creating such beautiful photos and creating magic from those can be very simple.

  7. Tim,

    Do you ever take a step back and think to yourself “this is my life?” Not from a Tucker Max-esque “what I have done now” perspective (midgets etc), but more from a “can you believe this is what I do on a daily basis” vein.

  8. I just checked out the Summit website and the whole concept just sounds amazing. I’d love to go someday, but is it an invite-only event or something?

  9. Dear Tim,

    First, really enjoyed the interview with Chase, some great stuff from both of you.

    I just wanted to tell you, you literally changed my life over the past three weeks. I’m a 3rd year college student majoring in a natural science subject.

    I’m also very heavily dyslexic. I’ve struggled with reading and writing all my life, despite loving academia. My reading speed has always sat around 160wpm despite trying photoreading and various software. For the amount of reading required for a pure science subject, has been a massive pain in the ass.

    On my baseline test, I was 156wpm. I have been doing the speed reading exercises in the 4HWW every day for three weeks, and am now reading around 550 – 600wpm. I have finished reading in under 2 week that would have taken me over 2 months. You’ve just improved my grades, job prospects, given me days of free time, and helped me with one of the most annoying bits of dyslexia. You’ve literally just changed my life.

    thank you.

    I do have a question though. I’m tracking my results, and my speed increases are levelling off. I’de like to keep increasing my reading speed! is there anything you’d recommend to keep improving, should I just keep doing the exercises in the book as they are? or would you recommend changing the length of the exercises, or anything different?

    thanks,
    Murray

    P.s. – “if you create something awesome, bear in mind that the best place to debut it is not necessarily to the audience you already have access to.” – I would NEVER have thought of that. Not sure how I’m going to use that, but I will.

  10. If you can pull it off: Jackie Chan. :D

    Otherwise:
    Joe Polish
    Frank Kern
    Jason Moffatt
    Eben Pagan
    Tony Hsieh

    The time is right for me to reread 4HWW as well! Also, because I’m from Milwaukee and what you have written in your “comment rules,” it’s my duty to make sure you’re aware of The Bronze Fonz.

  11. Hi Tim,

    Loved the interview with Chase, very salient points. Long time follower and have included much of your 4hww principles into my business and life. I also liked your 4 Hour Body video. I’m not sure what you used to color grade it but I run Red Giant which makes the worlds most used color effect plugins for Final Cut, Photoshop & After Effects called Magic Bullet. I’d like to give you and your team a bunch of copies and would make my team available for training if they are interested.

    Let me know if you’re interested. (not looking for anything in return)

  12. Thank you Tim for introducing me to Chase. What a fantastic interview. I am headed off to a nonfiction program this fall to learn how to interview. Chase’s style helps his audience learn from his interviewees by staying on topic and help mine the gold of the conversation. I have so many notes already just on your writing advice – now I am going to re-watch the interview from Chase’s POV.

    Thanks for sharing the wealth of knowledge!

  13. I like your interview with Pro Photographer Chase Jarvis. It gives me a lesson on what is the advantage of doing things with love. I think the happiest thing in earth is doing things that you love and making income from it.

  14. How about photographing a struggling Vet honing his craft and teaching Muay Thai.Ive got tons of street fights stories and Airborne Army capers to share with the world.I am a 39 year old who has found the fountain of youth.Im 5’4 125lb @ around or under 5% bodyfat with a deadlift of 305lbs.Tim I know thats not as impressive as that girl in your book,so dont punish me.But after reading that i went from 275 to 305 in 2 months.Thanks for your posts and articles Tim.Awesome stuff

  15. I really enjoyed that video. You guys are two of the most inspiring folks I follow. Chase has been a huge influence on me for about 5 years and I just recently stumbled upon you. To have you both in the same room chatting about the future and present was really awesome.

    The snaps turned out pretty classy man!

  16. Hey Tim,

    Anyway we can get a downloadable file of this interview? 2 hours is a bit much for youtube to download for me. And I’d love to be able to study at my convenience (ie: airplane!).

    Any chance? Thanks.
    Marissa

  17. Hi Tim

    Nothing to do with your post – you did mention to get your attention was to comment or @ twitter you.
    Wonder if you might help? My dad has Alzheimers and I’m really interested in the role of Nitrogen Oxide and NOS etc etc. I think it has a huge influence on many illnesses and I wondered your views on this and also if you knew of any topical nitric oxide inhibitors ? Would really appreciate your advice/any knowledge you may have. I also own a wine import business and I am creating a brand dedicated to Alzheimers and would like to send the money to the right research people not the wrong guys – perhaps you know of someone/a group dedicated to the right kind of research? Many thanks! xx

  18. Tim, this was really another inspirational piece. I’m really glad you revisited the principles in the 4 hour work week. I read it back in 2008 and have been trying to implement the principles since then. There are always some really important things that you need to be reminded of. I’m finally gaining traction with my muse. I’ve also gained a lot of valuable unique knowledge about rapid results in from the 4 hour body. Now you’ve peaked my interest in photography. It’s really funny because for my muse I had to do a product photo session and a bunch of my buddies that are photographers built a similar set up in my living room…however we were missing one key ingredient…a supermodel. Still a super fun experience. Looking forward to your next post!

  19. Hi, not sure if this is the right place to post this, if not then maybe someone could direct me? I have been following the 4 hour body diet for 3 weeks now and have not lost even a cm! How is this possible?? Especially as my previous diet included lots of white carbs and cheese etc.

    Does it sometimes take a while to kick in? I expected some kind of result by now as references in the book seem to imply that effects would occur quite quickly.

    Would be grateful for some feedback before I become disillusioned and give up!

  20. Tim, this was really another inspirational piece. I’m really glad you revisited the principles in the 4 hour work week. I read it back in 2008 and have been trying to implement the principles since then. There are always some really important things that you need to be reminded of. I’m finally gaining traction with my muse. I’ve also gained a lot of valuable unique knowledge about rapid results in from the 4 hour body. Now you’ve peaked my interest in photography. It’s really funny because for my muse I had to do a product photo session and a bunch of my buddies that are photographers built a similar set up in my living room…however we were missing one key ingredient…a supermodel. Still a super fun experience. Looking forward to your next post!

  21. Just wanted to “thank you” for sharing this interview with us! I pulled so many ‘gems’ from this and was highly inspired and entertained (especially the part on deconstructing fear). So moved in fact, that I decided to experiment and create a video applying some of the wise bits you guys talked about – wish I could share it but I will respect the “no URL rules.”

    Much appreciated,
    Jeannie

  22. Hi Tim,

    Recently I was shoping for a belt and happened upon one that was reversible. Brown on one side black on the other. i know these have been around somtime but it got me thinking. I have been researching reversible clothing and found out that I’m not the first person of late to notice what a relevent idea this now is. I think it fits perfectly with with a low consuption lifestyle and may even be a greener alternative. I’d like to see you interview someone who could expound on this. What’s available know? Where is it available? Is fashion pointed in this direction?

    Vic

  23. Hi Tim,

    Great interview! Quick question: you mentioned a photography book “Exposure”. Who is the author? I want to ensure I am looking at the right book.

    Many thanks,
    Conrad

  24. I’d like to help out in one of these schools. I’m an IT Chap, and I really believe in teaching practical IT skills to kids in developing economies. Is that something that will be needed in one of these projects?

    Please get in touch with me if that’s something useful for these schools. I’d really like to help. I can also arrange for computer equipment; enough to furnish a small computer lab (10-20 machines, software, etc). Although shipping might be cost-prohibitive or unreliable.

    Since I’m already writing, let me extend this out to everyone else: this offer isn’t just for Tim Ferris’ Southeast Asia school project — if any of you have a great cause in mind (involving severely under-equipped schools that don’t have any IT resources) please contact me. dcohen.consulting at gmail.

  25. I HAD to pause the video and say this. I first came across your book (4hww) when I was in uni, and downloaded it for free from rapidshare. Fast forward to now, I have purchased both your books and can’t wait to buy your next book. Like you said, if that content wasn’t available for free back then, I would not have gotten exposed to it (cos I was never going to buy it), I would not have hunted your books down to buy them and I would not be living the life I am right now.
    So thanks Tim, for everything.

  26. I truly loved the actual talk you probably did along with Chase. I do believe it’s actually amazing that my favourite personas we follow are actually pals and also working together. :)

  27. Kevin Rose just uploaded an Instagram pic of you wearing a frilly apron on Thanksgiving. There is a girl behind you… she looked a lot like a certain model in this post… I could be wrong, but *high-five* nonetheless. Maybe I should take up photography ;)

  28. Hello!

    Can someone give me a good reference for outsoucing my sales? I am currently running a transportation brokerage (service oriented) and i am interested in outsoucing my sales activity through a commission/profit split method.

    Thanks!

    RD