MasterClass Review: Jimmy Chin

Disclaimer: MasterClass has comped me an All Access Pass in order to audit and review the online classes they offer as a number of them relate to the topics covered here on ARTIST-AT-LARGE.

The best photojournalists out there aren’t just great photographers. They’re great thinkers. They’re great storytellers. — Jimmy Chin

Oh wow. I kinda fell in love with Jimmy Chin. In a photographer to photographer kind of way.

Jimmy’s MasterClass mixes down to earth photography tips and techniques that can be used in any genre of photography and combines them with extraordinary location photography. And by extraordinary locations, I mean tops of mountains with ice and snow and solid granite walls – from Antarctica to Pakistan to Wyoming.

I have always thought of extraordinary landscape photographers, like Jimmy Chin and his mentor Galen Rowell, as photographers who learned how to climb mountains for the sole purpose of getting the image. But that is not the case. It wasn’t until I watched this class, and watched Free Solo and Meru, that I realized that Chin and Rowell, and other climbers like them, are pure mountain men, who picked up cameras to record their adventures and became known as photographers. Being a mountain man gave Chin the foundation of discipline and focus to make the photographs he does.

As a photographer you’re setting your own standards, and I personally think you should set them very high. — Jimmy Chin

The class is broken up into twenty videos and Chin starts teaching right away – learn through observation – by taking us on a local climb with his climbing partner Conrad Anker. In the class, he covers the subjects of using natural light, composition, landscape as well as portraits, how he chooses and edits his images, how he works with clients, project management, and what gear he takes on his expeditions. He talks about tech enough to give you information but not enough to be telling you what to do – which is good.

His workbook that accompanies the class lays out all of the above information in clear and concise form. He does not give assignments in the videos, but they are in the workbook. They are very well thought out and created so that you can work from home – you don’t have to climb mountains to complete them! The workbook is full of the photographs that are shown in the videos, as well as those of photographers who have inspired him.

Chin himself comes across as very down to earth, and balanced, approachable even. He knows his work is good but there’s no hint of arrogance or bravado.

Photography is a vehicle to give you access to the world. — Jimmy Chin

My opinion: If you are looking for an online class with a photographer like Chin, the price for this one class is worth it. Definitely worth taking the class if you have an Annual Membership.

If you’ve taken the class, I’d love to hear your comments below!

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Kimberly Kradel

Artist, Writer, Photographer. Publisher of ARTIST-AT-LARGE.

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