Few photographers will attempt Pakistan’s precipitous K7 or ski from the summit of Everest just to frame a shot. So when world renowned mountaineer, Ed Viesturs, pushes for the summit of his final 8000m peak, or when alpinist Conrad Anker plans to put up a new route in the Himalayas, they call the same photographer and filmmaker: Jimmy Chin. Arguably one of the most sought after expedition photographers working today, Chin, a Minnesota native, is himself a professional climber, skier and ten year veteran of the North Face Athlete Team.
Jimmy’s passion for exploration, photography and filmmaking has taken him on break-through expeditions around the planet. Chin has worked with the best adventurers, climbers and skiers in the world on their most challenging expeditions, climbs and ski descents. Climbing, skiing and often enduring death defying situations next to some of the best athletes in the industry, Jimmy is most well known for shouldering the camera equipment and documenting their epic stories.
Some of his projects include trekking unsupported across 300 miles of the largely unexplored 17,000-foot-high Chang Tang Plateau in Tibet while filming for National Geographic, documenting first ascents of the tallest freestanding sandstone towers in the world, in Mali, and putting up new routes on highly technical ascents in the Himalayas. In 2003, Chin attempted an alpine style ascent of the direct north face of Everest without supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes. Chin hit Everest again in 2004, climbing to the summit with Ed Viesturs and David Breashears while juggling two assignments – shooting production stills and video for Universal Films. Viesturs called upon Chin again to accompany and photograph him on his final and successful expedition to Annapurna, Ed’s last summit in his quest to climb all fourteen 8000 meter peaks. In 2006, Jimmy climbed and skied from the summit of Everest while shooting Kit DesLaurier’s historic ski descent of the mountain. This fall, Jimmy and his team made the first ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, one of the most attempted and coveted lines in the entire Himalaya.
The list of epic journeys goes on. In the last ten years, the Victor, Idaho based Chin has averaged six to eight months a year, on expeditions and filming / shooting on assignment for National Geographic, The North Face, Outside Magazine, and Rolex just to name a few of his editorial and commercial clients.
On top of Jimmy’s work as a photographer, he is also a director, cinematographer and owns his own production company, Camp 4 Collective. Jimmy’s films have received awards from numerous film festivals – including Telluride Mountainfilm, Kendal Film Festival and Boulder Adventure Film Festival. His work routinely shows up on Vimeo’s Staff Picks page.
Jimmy has been profiled in numerous publications including National Geographic Magazine, Outside Magazine, People, Men’s Journal and others. He’s received the Rowell Art of Adventure award for his philanthropic work and excellence and breadth in adventure photography as well as the Lowell Travel Award for his excellence in photo journalism. National Geographic Society has awarded Jimmy three expedition grants and named him one of their inaugural Emerging Explorers. Jimmy’s most recent photo assignment on Yosemite is featured as the cover story of National Geographic’s May 2011 issue. The online photo gallery from this assignment is now in the top ten most viewed online galleries in National Geographic’s history.
Chin hopes that images and films from his expeditions and shoots will help him reach a greater goal. “It’s about sharing stories that inspire people, highlights the infinite human spirit, and opens people’s eyes to a different world,” Chin explains. “Creating films and photographs through situations that few others could experience is my life’s inspiration.”