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The Best Camera Is The One That's With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis [Paperback]

Chase Jarvis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 18 2009 Voices That Matter
A beacon of creativity with boundless energy, Chase Jarvis is well known as a visionary photographer, director, and social artist. In The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You, Chase reimagines, examines, and redefines the intersection of art and popular culture through images shot with his iPhone.

The pictures in the book, all taken with Chase’s iPhone, make up a visual notebook—a photographic journal—from the past year of his life. The book is full of visually-rich iPhone photos and peppered with inspiring anecdotes.

Two megapixels at a time, these images have been gathered and bound into a book that represents a stake in the ground. With it, Chase underscores the idea that an image can come from any camera, even a mobile phone. As Chase writes, “Inherently, we all know that an image isn’t measured by its resolution, dynamic range, or anything technical. It’s measured by the simple—sometimes profound, other times absurd or humorous or whimsical—effect that it can have upon us. If you can see it, it can move you.”

This book is geared to inspire everyone, regardless of their level of photography knowledge, that you can capture moments and share them with our friends, families, loved ones, or the world at the press of a button.

Readers of The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You will also enjoy the iPhone application Chase Jarvis created in conjunction with this book, appropriately named Best Camera. Best Camera has a unique set of filters and effects that can be applied at the touch of a button. Stack them. Mix them. Remix them. Best Camera also allows you to share directly to a host of social marketing sites via, a new online community that allows you to contribution to a living, breathing gallery of the best iPhone photography from around the globe.

Together, the book, app, and website, represent a first-of-its-kind ecosystem dedicated to encouraging creativity through picture taking with the camera that you already have. The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You—shoot!

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The Best Camera Is The One That's With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis + Sixty Tips for Creative iPhone Photography
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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Chase Jarvis is well known as a visionary photographer, director, and social artist. He is widely recognized for re-imagining, examining, and redefining the intersection of art and popular culture through still and moving pictures. While commercial work for brands like Nike, Pepsi, Volvo, Reebok, Apple, and Red Bull have earned him recognition from the International Photography Awards, The Advertising Photographers of America, Prix de la Photographie Paris, and numerous other industry buzz centers, his recent push into personal work and fine art has rapidly gained the attention of curators and art critics, mainstream audiences, and celebrity circles worldwide. The online hub for Jarvis and his work is at

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, even better photographer. Nov. 4 2009
Chase has taken his skills to the next level with this new photo-book. He does such a good job of influencing young aspiring photographers to do something so simple: shoot.

What's even more amazing is that you can download the app, and get shooting in a matter of minutes.

You gotta love a great mind at work.

Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little squares, and a good kick in the b... Nov. 1 2010
By Vincent
Not giving this book a 5 star review because many photos are simply very, very ordinary and unworthy of being printed. However, this book will make you think a lot. Sure, an iPhone is a nice gadget and if you have one, it is always in your pocket. Why not pull it out anytime you see something photo worthy but don't have your dSLR with you? The author shows us what can be captured for eternity with cheap glass, various effects and/or B&W photography, but at least YOU managed to capture it and share it with others. Emotions and perspective play a huge role in a great photo after all.

Many photos are nice, some are fantastic, and the purists will yell that he should have been carrying a "real" camera instead of his iPhone to capture these images. And that's the point of the book: shoot, shoot and shoot again, and you'll eventually come up with great photos as long as 1. you were there at the right time and 2. you had your iPhone.

Again: not a 5 star book or a revelation on how to be creative. I could not care less for photos about the author's food, his feet on the sidewalk or a shot of his friends' faces. It is, however, very entertaining and will give you that kick in the derriere to get out and shoot!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The title is so true! Jan. 11 2010
Chase Jarvis has totally nailed it with this phrase. I'm uncertain if this is an age-old photographer's mantra, or Jarvis' own wisdom, but I could not agree more.

To all those of you not familiar with Chase Jarvis work, get familiar. Chase Jarvis is probably clinically described as a commercial photographer who divides his time mostly between Seattle and Paris. When he got an iPhone, the camera in it woke within him the more pure side of photography. The side that isn't encumbered by shutter speeds and f-stops and other such trappings.

Chase made a book consisting of photographs shot and processed entirely with his iPhone, and I was fortunate enough to get a copy from Santa for Christmas.

I'm really glad to have discovered Chase's work, because the very same thing happened to me when I got my iPhone; I have a great camera practically everywhere I go, at all times.

This book is simply fantastic; flipping through it time and time again offers unending inspiration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book on pure creativity Dec 28 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for technically perfect pictures, noise free, sharp picture this book is not for you, but if you are looking for pure creativity, to look through the eyes of one of those most unique minds in photography then you want this book.

The images are amazing with a very interesting view of the world. In the book Chase states "There are at least ten great pictures waiting to be taken within ten meters of where you are standing right now" and this book is the proof of those words.

Get inspired, get a view, GET THIS BOOK
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and inspiring Sept. 30 2009
By Craig Dickson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a brilliant demonstration of what a talented and creative artist can do with the most basic tools. Chase Jarvis gives us 200+ photos taken with his iPhone and processed only using iPhone-based tools (no Photoshop!). In a way, this is comparable to the kinds of exercises that are sometimes done in other artistic fields, such as painting a picture using only two primary colors or writing a novel without the letter E (both of which have been done) -- a conscious device to spur experimentation to discover ways of working with or around the limitation one has chosen to adopt. But there is a crucial difference here: the use of the iPhone is itself a solution to the problem of not always having a camera in hand and ready to shoot whenever a photographic opportunity presents itself. And this is the point of the book: that there are always such opportunities around us, and that you don't necessarily need an expensive camera rig to catch them. Jarvis writes, "There are at least ten great pictures waiting to be taken within ten meters of where you are standing right now." This book is his proof.

Another inspiring aspect of the book is the way Jarvis sometimes takes advantage of the iPhone's limitations. It is not a high-resolution camera, nor are its optics any match for the better compact point-and-shoots on the market today (let alone any SLR), but Jarvis shows that this can be useful. Some of his pictures actually benefit from imperfect focus, digital noise, and limited dynamic range. In a few cases, I found solutions in his work to failed pictures that I have taken. I can see now that those pictures failed, at least in part, because the images were technically too precise. I played by the usual rules of photography (correct focus and exposure, etc.) when I should have broken them. "Louvers" on page 206 is one example of this. I shot a picture once very like this one, but it was too clear and too detailed; anyone looking at it would have said, "Okay, a picture of louver blinds, so what?" Jarvis' picture of the same subject is more mysterious, and therefore more interesting, due to blur and "incorrect" exposure. It becomes an abstract graphic design (and a good one) rather than just a shot of vertical blinds.

I think anyone interested in photography should buy this book. You may not "get" it right away, and it may be best not to rush through the whole thing in one sitting; but over time, I think it will help your mental and creative gears to turn in new ways, and the pictures really are great in their own low-tech way.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's All About The Idea And The Execution Feb. 24 2010
By M. Caruso - Published on
This book is great for one reason. It's simplicity is inspiring. Everyone takes pictures with their camera phones, but most people just brush them off as "not good enough." This book is proof-positive that "not good enough" can be "good enough to publish a book with." On top of this, add what other reviews have called The Best Camera "Trifecta" and you get an ecosystem that is both creative and technically genius. Great work, Chase.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Sept. 30 2009
By David duChemin - Published on
Chase has done it again. The Best Camera is like visual proof that Jarvis' manifesto (the best camera is the one that's with you, and it doesn't have to be fancy) is right on the money. His images, and the way they've been curated into this mini-exhibit, are inspiring. It's not a how-to book, in fact it claims to be nothing more than what it is - a collection of images that re-examine the intersection of art and pop-culture. If you're looking for technique, move along. If you're looking for inspiration, this is a great reminder that the brand wars (Canon vs. Nikon) are irrelevant and that the camera really has so little to do with this art. I love this book and will pick it up time and time again just to stir the paint and poke the muse a little. Well done, Chase.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts Nov. 24 2009
By Lawrence Ripsher - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I reviewed this book on my blog (and provided a few samples with permission from the author). Here's what I wrote:

Chase Jarvis is an award winning, internationally renowned photographer based in Seattle, WA. While Chase is well known for his innovative commercial work, he has also gained a large following through online forums due to his willingness to share advice / tips on his blog, his inspiring collection of personal photography and his advocacy of social networking.

"The Best Camera is the one that's with you" is his latest initiative, a 256 page photography book featuring only images taken with his iPhone. The book was released in 2009, and also coincides with his online iPhone photo ecosystem via the website [...]. I purchased my copy through Amazon a couple of weeks ago and just managed to get around to reviewing it.

The book itself comes in a minimalist, small format (6 x 6 x 0.7 inches). There is little in the way of written work, consisting mostly of images and titles, with a few of Chase's personal inspirational quotes scattered throughout. The photos are clearly the focus of the book, with each one attempting to underscore the statement that it's "the photographer that matters". Chase cover a wide range of both subjects and locations with images shot from plane windows, around the streets of Seattle, in bars and restaurants and by hotel pools. It's clear that Jarvis' iPhone goes pretty much everywhere he does. Many get a heavy dose of post processing, using a variety of filters. Several shots are black and white, others highly saturated mimicking a Holga or Lomo like effect. Others receive a lensbaby like finishing. The effects are wide and varied and it keeps things fresh. The quality of the shots themselves vary. A couple rank among my favourite images I've seen this year (irrespective of the camera used). Others are more slivers of insight into Jarvis' daily life - immensely meaningful to the subjects and the photographer and inspirational examples to anyone else.

Chase's work in "The Best Camera..." reminds me somewhat of the groundbreaking photos from Hiromix (real name Hiromi Toshikawa), a female Japanese photographer who rocketed to fame in the mid 1990's when she won a high profile Canon competition in Japan at age 19. Her original work could be characterised as the simple photo diary, and spawned a generation of female photographers who started seeing their every day lives around them a little differently. Chase's promotion of the camera phone as a meaningful photographic tool could potentially do the same.

In addition to the images, the quotations found within are of particular interest. "Each photograph is a tiny invention" and "No longer do I tire of the lounge or the crappy food or the painfully lines at airports" are both statements that have lived with me long after my first reading. Chase's quote about the gourmet chef who comes home and makes himself a grilled cheese sandwich is pure class. It's the perfect example of "strong words, softly spoken" - a case brilliantly argued without a great deal of fuss or words. In doing so, "The Best Camera..." quietly and effectively goes about putting to shame anyone whose ever muttered "there's nothing to shoot" or "if only I had a more expensive camera".

Undoubtedly with work like this, there will be some critiques who will pour scorn on the image quality found on some of the pages. The digital photography industry has given birth to a generation of "pixel peepers" and "The Best Camera..." stares down and challenges that trend. The few who walk away from the book thinking "so what" are the ones who are are missing a bigger point when it comes to photography. Inspiration is often what you make of it.

While the book benefits from a close association with the iPhone, it's not about the iPhone as a photographic tool. They key aim of the book is simpler - a demonstration that you don't need the latest or best equipment to produce great images. However, even with Jarvis' status, the book will ultimately will live or die by the quality of the work found within. And on that basis, how does it rate? My verdict is that the book absolutely succeeds in what it sets out to do - to challenge, to lead by example and to inspire. While it's a different experience than flipping through a commercial portfolio, the images are all about inspiring the reader to go out and shoot something different (or shoot something ordinary, but do it differently) and by this measure, "The Best Camera..." triumphs in every way.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is art? June 30 2013
By T. Woods - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with the idea that people can take excellent pictures with any camera--the skill is in the photographer and not the camera. However if I had to depend on the pictures in this book to convince me, I would remain unconvinced. Many of the pictures in this book are over-exposed, under-exposed or blurry. Some of the pictures are make no sense (who wants a picture of an empty toilet paper roll?)
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