A daydreamer with a camera: Self-portraits by Jonathan Chapé

Jonathan Chapé is currently based in Portland, Oregon. He loves working with people to create images that break away from the ordinary. 

Jonathan Chapé

Jonathan was born in New York and fell into art at an early age. He began drawing and writing stories through most of the middle and high school. After being rejected by many art colleges, he decided to focus on other creative mediums. He learned that it was possible to tell all types of stories without a pen, but with a camera instead. Jonathan Chapé first picked up a camera at the age of 17, and it was put down until he was 20. Jonathan began photographing images that dealt with various themes and found himself completely lost in the world he had created.

Photography went from a hobby to a passion very quickly. Most of his early work started off as shooting self-portraits in derelict fields and grasslands. With time, concepts grew from depicting his own fictional stories to slowly using photography as a way of personal therapy. Themes such as insecurities, isolation, and trauma became the central idea for later self-portraits. Throughout that time, he learned about composition, lighting, and how to properly use a dSLR. After time passed, he learned something that wasn’t taught to him from any manual; he learned to become a storyteller. 

After getting a few publications in New York and Canada, he later showed in local galleries and images went to tour the country. In 2019, Jonathan moved from New York to Oregon to focus on creating a new work that embodies storytelling nature.

In NYC he worked under several amazing photographers as both a photography assistant and retoucher. He had the privilege of showing his fine art work in galleries in OH, NJ, and NY.

Fine Art Photographer 

Hold for the Applause

“I’ve been planning Hold for the applause for the last month or so. It’s a rather important image for me, and I was sure to plan everything out as carefully as possible. I’m excited (and also a little nervous) to finally announce the news that I’ve only shared with three people. In the last few months, I’ve been more inspired than ever to really push my art in new ways. There are so many issues I would love to tackle and shed light on, but I felt I was being held back for some reason. I’ve been hinting at some new changes to my work for a few months now, and I’m finally ready to move on to the next chapter in my photography.”

 
Self-portraits by Jonathan Chapé:
A daydreamer with a camera

Behind the scenes

“I wanted to share a behind the scenes video of my final self-portrait (Hold for the applause). This was a very bittersweet moment creating this image, and I couldn’t be happier with saying goodbye to this part of my art. I’m so thankful to everyone who has pushed me to be the best creative I could be. And biggest thanks to all who helped me plan this shoot from beginning to end.”

Hold for the applause will be my final self-portrait for at least an entire year. I didn’t want to commit to never doing a self-portrait again, so I decided to take all of 2019 off to really see what other avenues I can head in.

I feel good about this decision.

The desire to play my own characters and step in front of my camera has definitely lost it’s interest for me. It sounds a little crazy and farfetched, but I am really happy with this decision. I’ve been shooting self-portraits for about four years now, and I have learned so much about photography, expression, and who I am as a person.

I will always be grateful for what being in front of my camera has taught me. I don’t think I will return to shooting self-portraits once the year has passed, but I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot by saying “never”. There’s a plethora of big projects that I will be working on in 2019, and I feel very great about them.

There is so much I have to say, and I will be planning out each idea very carefully. These shoots will take a lot longer than I’m used to, but I genuinely believe it will be worth all of the work.

Going back to this image, I wanted to pay homage to some of my favorite images in the past few years that lead me to this moment.”

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Michael Nguyen

Editor-in-chief TAGREE