Portland based destination wedding photographer Phil Chester says he can be a bit of a ‘sarcastic asshole’ - but by that he means being as happy as you can be in life and not take anything too seriously. Also, he thinks people who shoot with their left eye are weirdos - hey! But we love someone with a wicked sense of humour. Lucky for you Phil! When not photographing weddings, you’ll find him on his guitar playing indie-folk music. We love Phil’s work; the openness and honesty he captures so well. And definitely check out Phil’s personal work in fashion /portraiture.
1. Why do you making images mean to you?
It’s kind of wild. I feel like I’ve found some weird loop hole in the world where I’m able to take a passion such as a photography and turn it into a business. So what does making images mean to me? It’s everything.
2. What is life to you? What it should be?
I ask myself this question quite often as sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the business or the wedding world and I forget that there’s more to life than that. Life, to me, is simply about being as happy as you can be as often as possible. I try not take anything too seriously. If anyone knows me, I’m a sarcastic asshole :) I also understand that the only way to grow is through pushing yourself through the tough times and that there’s no such thing as a perfect happy all the time kind of world. So when I get stressed out or things seem difficult, I know there’s some big lesson just ahead.
3. There are a lot of professions out there - why be a photographer?
I’ve merged my biggest passion into a business. I work for myself. Complete and total freedom.
4. How much is your family an influence on the way you view life, see things?
I’m not too sure how much of an influence my family is on the way I view the world. I was raised very Christian which I feel limited my exploration of the world and different points of view growing up. I feel like since I’ve given myself the freedom to explore all thoughts and opinions of the world in which we live, I feel more free and more connected to everyone/everything.
5. Do you have a “second profession” or passion?
I’m an avid cover song guitar player. I have a deep love for indie-folk music and spend a lot of my free time playing guitar.
6. What are you reading now?
“Biocentrism” by Dr. Robert Lanza.
7. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?
Right eye. Does anyone shoot with their left? Weirdos.
8. Are there any unseen experimental images in your attic you’d like to show us now?
I have a site of personal work that I sometimes contribute to that I don’t really push out on the interwebs: www.PJCPhoto.net.
9. Who do you respect - in photography or elsewhere?
I respect literally anyone who can find a rhythm in this crazy world. Also Bob Ross, what a badass.
10. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?
Nope, not at all. I’ve taken the weirdest path from dropping out of college, to serving 4.5 years in active duty Army being deployed twice, to starting college again, dropping out again, and then ending up somehow where I am now. And I love who I am and who I am becoming.
Bonus Q: Do you think the gear you use affects the way you photograph? Why?
Totally. I feel very comfortable with my digital setup so every now and then I pick up my Leica or Pentax 67 to limit myself to a certain crop or a non-limitless amount of frames. Makes me slow down and become more intentional about each shot.