www.jonathanchapman.com

What did your 18 year old self see you becoming?  

I actually had lofty plans to work and travel as an international businessman.  I’ve managed to successfully hit the more seductive part of that profession – travel.  Thankfully the business side involves a creative endeavor.  I’d have a hard time jockeying Powerpoint presentations mixed with corporate business meetings.

What reality show would you invent?

Something to do with ordinary, everyday people, the opposite of the sensationally voyeuristic shows that profile stars and celebs.  I think it stems from the varied subjects we profile and spend time working with.  We have a project, test idea to shoot and document the people and stories behind Craigslist transactions.  Maybe we’ll dig into that at some point…

What was one of the most interesting projects you worked on?

Travel for McDonald’s (Shanghai, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Munich, London, Barcelona) likely tops the list as far as adventure, varied subjects and exotic locations. And, locally, to my home in Minneapolis, a profile of the poet Bill Holm.  His environment and demeanor could not have been richer or left a more meaningful mark.  Some of the most visually engaging and simplistic shots I’ve taken.

Can you remember the first time you got paid to take a photograph?

True story, the shoot was photographing pets with Santa Claus.  The job was an odd posting I stumbled upon that actually paid quite well for one of my first “real” assignments.  Thankfully that combined subject matter has yet to come up again since.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you do?

That’s a tough one.  I think regardless of what one does for a profession, that question always linger. It would likely have many elements of what photography offers: collaboration with creative people, travel, and something that always continues to evolve. I had the desire to work at a bicycle shop some time back. More the mechanic side, repair, tuning, etc.

When you need it, what inspires you?

Music.  Old and new.  Poetic lyrics that have depth and a story are a plus.  I play the mandolin and guitar a bit and I really get fueled around people I cross paths with who also play (and invite me to join in).  It’s something I don’t spend as much time at as I’d like, but that is definitely on the horizon.

How do you get your news?

I am definitely more “current” when I am on the road, amid travel. Always grabbing newspapers and magazines.  My iPhone and apps such as NYTimes, CNN, and others.  Most industry news comes via social media; Twitter, Facebook, and actually young assistants who stroll blogs 24×7 (they are invaluable and certainly appreciated as they keep up on camera updates, new products and equipment).

What do you know now, you wish you’d known when you first started out?

You don’t have to do it all.  Collaboration with a crew, even if it is just two or three people is so much easier and so much more fun.

What might surprise people about you?

I bicycled from Minneapolis to Seattle over 5 weeks and Minneapolis to Maine over 3 weeks.  I don’t bike commute or even ride all that regularly, but I do love long trips and experiencing adventure on two wheels.  My wife Michelle has been a trusty road companion on both rides as well as several others.  We have plans to travel from Minneapolis to New Orleans, following the Mississippi all the way down.

What were you like as a 10 year old?

Fighting battles on my knees, playing with my Star Wars ships and figures.  Baseball was also a big passion, my MN Twins were on the rise and I never grew tired of hanging and playing at the ballpark, small pick-up games or watching the Twins “Twinkies” at the big stadium.

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