A Candid Q&A With Chase Jarvis

by Interview by Libby Peterson

December 15, 2016

1. What’s your favorite project/shoot from this year and why?
Directing and hosting the “Uploaded” series for Starbucks featuring a handful of the world’s top YouTubers. The series is a great proof point of my core belief that with fewer gatekeepers and technical barriers than ever, it’s never been a better time to be a creator, so I was happy to be able to shine the spotlight on them and share their stories.

2. What’s one thing you wished you had known before becoming a successful photographer and getting to where you are today? 
That meditation helps everything. From managing stress to increased empathy and energy, the benefits are clear (and supported by plenty of hard science). I’m a firm believer in the power of meditation today, and I wish I would have had it in my life much sooner.

3. What was the first job you ever had?
Selling golf balls. I snuck into a golf course that I didn’t work at, watched golfers hit balls into the water, then fished the balls out and sold them back to golfers.

Photo © Chase Jarvis

4. What’s your middle name?

5. What’s one thing you would change about yourself if you could?
I have very few regrets because it’s a policy of mine to chase down anything that might become one, but here’s one I do have: I don’t play a musical instrument. It’s not too late, and I think I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet, and I wish I would have started when I was younger because it’s so much easier when you start early.

6. How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
Two, but not first thing in the morning—usually one after breakfast, then something small after lunch like a half of a cup or a shot.

7. What happened in the last dream you had?
Everybody could fly.

8. How did you ask your wife, Kate, to marry you?
On the side of a mountain in the dead of winter, overlooking the Cascades. We skied into a mountain pass, across from a classic peak on a (literally) zero-degree January morning, then enjoyed a romantic/frozen picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Photo © Chase Jarvis

9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
Scratch your own itch. Work on things that you passionately care about, because that’s going to fuel you when the work gets hard and you have to dig deep. Without the kind of drive that only comes from a personal connection, it’s all too easy to quit, move on to the next thing, and ultimately have little impact on the problem you set out to solve.

10. If you had to choose, would you rather quit photography, give up everything you’ve built and go to a regular 9-to-5 job, or continue photography but become a hermit?
This one is easy: Quit photography. Life is about human connections, not photography. Photography is simply a means to express ourselves, and if we’ve got nothing to express and no one to share it with in a way that touches others, it’s pointless.

Chase Jarvis is an award-winning photographer, director and entrepreneur. In addition to his photography, Jarvis is also the CEO of CreativeLive, and the host of the video series Chase Jarvis RAW and podcast Chase Jarvis LIVE

To read this article in the digital edition of the magazine, click here.

Related: 30 Days of Genius—A Video Series From Chase Jarvis

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