Chasing Jarvis

Chasing JarvisAccording to the way my buddy Russell Byrne tells it, he was sitting in the audience at one of Chase Jarvis’ speaking engagements – I think it was a PhotoShelter “Town Hall” meeting. Chase was exhorting the crowd of aspiring photographers to simply “walk a mile in my shoes, and you’ll get to where I am,” in his inimitable fashion. Russ, being the smart-aleck that he is, raised his hand.

“Chase,” he said, “I could walk that mile a lot better if I had your shoes.”

Fast-forward a few weeks, and Russell comes home one day to find a package on his doorstep:

Photo by Russell Byrne

Chase’s message was clear: stop whining, get out there. Acknowledge no barriers. Russell decided that this was a great opportunity, and organized the Chase Jarvis Shoe Project – something between the Kelby Photowalk and the Amelie Garden Gnome.

The shoes would travel the world, be photographed everywhere, in every way, and the results shared online. Awesome. A website was thrown together, and sinceHargis_090111_9233 I happen to be friends with Russell, and (at the time) lived near him, I got an early crack at the shoes.


I had a million ideas but the one I liked best involved Chase being “chased” by his own shoes. I sent him an email asking if he would be willing to be photographed by me for the project, and briefly outlined the idea. To my surprise, I got an answer the same day – and he was totally on board.

With that encouraging start, I began planning in earnest. I visualized a dark, early-evening shot, with the shoes pursuing Chase through a desolate area.

The shoot took place in Gasworks Park, a Seattle picnic area with a killer view of the city skyline and a favorite spot for local photographers. Chase’s studio is nearby, so it was convenient for him.

Trusty Assistant Mia (taking her own photos on my time…)

I set up a makeshift boom and hung the shoes using monofilament fishing line. This ultimately didn’t work so well, as the shiny monofilament picked up the light from my flashes and was very visible in the photos – I had to clone it out later. Black thread would have worked much better.

I lit them with a couple of SB’s; one in front and one gridded, from behind, for a little rim light. Chase would be lit with a third SB, camera left.

Trusty Assistant Pretending to be Chase

Chase showed up and was incredibly gracious with his time and enthusiasm. I made him run (slow-motion) through the set a good 10 or 15 times, and ultimately made about 3 good frames. A little re-touching to fade the fishing line, and they were ready.

Chasing Jarvis

Chasing Jarvis

If you’re interested in taking part in the project, the website is HERE.

13 responses to “Chasing Jarvis

  1. Good on ya for actually putting the shoes in the shot, and not just pasting them in later.

    And oh yeah… Good job of getting the model. 😉

  2. Such a good idea dude and nice execution!

  3. Brilliant idea and execution. I almost hate to even add this …. Chase Barefoot and shoes behind.

    Shots are fantastic and frankly inspiring to me.

    M. James

  4. My first guess was that you cloned out the person who was wearing those shoes–but your way makes much more sense! Your post reminds me that I really should start working on some personal projects. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Thanks, guys.
    James — that’s at once the most brilliant, and most obvious, idea I’ve ever completely missed. How could I not have thought of that?!! DAMMIT!!

    On the other hand… was about 35 degrees and starting to rain, and I was already so grateful to Chase that I’m not sure I would have been willing to ask for that.
    But then, on the OTHER other hand…..he would probably have done it. Dammit!

  6. Awesome shot Scott!

    One quick note, you might wanna tweak the URL to the site in your post. It points to your personal user profile there, and will likely produce an error for anyone who doesn’t have admin rights like I do. 😉

  7. Brilliant idea and execution, so glad to see something happening too 🙂 Well done.

  8. Great Idea Scott…I’m really glad you could get Chase on-board…helps with motivating almost a lost project.

    BTW is the Hall of fame ticket still with the package?

  9. Don, my shoot took place last January. Hall of Fame tickets must have happened sometime afterwards.
    I really hope the project does get going again, I think all it really takes is the next few people who get the shoes to turn them around quickly and post their results.

  10. Yes fishing line will shine. Instead go to the hardware store and get a spool of thin black wire. The black is dull so it does not reflect.

    I use the black wire to suspend pieces of jewelry over others (much like the way you suspended the running shoes, but on a smaller scale).

    Being wire I can shape it and turn back the end to form a small hook on which to hang rings, etc.

    Terry Thomas…
    the photographer
    Atlanta, Georgia USA

  11. “…taking her own photos on my time…”

    I’ll give you the opportunity to take that back.

  12. I saw this shot on Flickr, for some reason I didn’t connect it to you.

    Excellent work, and a great concept.

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