10 minutes with Jesse Chehak

Interviews with Photographers January 17, 2012 10:40 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

For most of my life I believed I was supposed to be a musician/songwriter and part of me still feels that way deep down.  Becoming a photographer was a very natural process and really had to do my insatiable desire to be out of doors, in the field, or whatever else one calls being engaged, off-line, and amongst the strangers of the real world.  I learned this about myself when I spent 72 days living in the wilderness when I was 20.  I’m now about to turn 33.  Becoming a photographer in my early twenties felt like receiving an special invitation from the world to freely turn over any stone I wished.

 

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

 

I was really impressed by your project In These Woods the last time we met. How long you have been working on the project? How did it first start and do you have any book plans for it?

“In These Woods” is my personal reflection on change.  Set in a remote wilderness area north of Silverthorne, CO, USA, this place has been an existential refuge for me since I was in middle school.  Over the years I have witnessed subtle and radical change, both natural and by us, which is arguably the same I suppose.  I photographed it during the course of 2010: a particularly quiet year when the plans for clear cutting were set but hardly initiated.  This area is currently being deforested in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact that a dying pine forest has on surrounding ecosystems and manmade communities.  
I have always worked with book plans in mind, and have yet to find a publishing relationship that does not require a significant personal subvention of the production costs up front.  Being a working artist does not afford me the ability to offer these funds so for now my book projects are laying low in dummy form until that relationship is born.  I am currently working on grant proposals and reaching out to institutions in an effort to gain the support I need to see my projects through.  I dream of the day when I can finally experience and distribute my work in the form for which is was intended.

 

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

 

What is your daily routine like when you are not on assignment?

 

These days my time at home is spent mostly with my 14 month-old son Wilder Gram.  It is a new chapter in my life and one that continues to overflow with joy, play, and discovery.  I won’t lie: it also overwhelms!  That said, I live and work without much frill.  Lots of exercise and study – and being outdoors a lot.  

 

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

Jesse Chehak

If you could go back 10 years and give yourself advice, what would it be?

I probably encourage myself to get lost more — to really wander unfamiliar lands without attachments and with an open heart and mind.  To not be afraid.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

 

Be the work.

 

(Jesse is based in New Mexico. See more of his work, here.)

1 Comment

  • Allen Taylor

    Dear Jesse,

    This is so good to read and see, and we wish you guys good luck, strength, and peace.

    Little Al,

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