Jim Chapin is a freelance graphic artist and photographer specializing in photographing the Austin music scene. He picked up his camera less than 3 years ago and has quickly made a name for himself among musicians and fans alike.
Jim has run a successful website development and print design company for over 15 years. Originally based in the San Francisco bay area, he relocated to Austin in 2010. "The kids went off to college and suddenly I was free to start life anew" he explains. "I had a major client in the Austin area and was out here about eight times a year. I fell in love with the area, the music scene and most importantly, the people. Everyone here is so welcoming and genuine."
Although he studied photography in high school and college, Jim hadn't really picked up the camera for 20+ years. It was his wife's interest that reignited the spark. "I bought my wife a camera and some lenses for Christmas one year. She has a great eye and was doing some great stuff photographing wildlife and scenery in the Arizona desert. Before long, I found myself borrowing it to take some photos for client projects. Then there was no turning back."
The first bands he photographed were The Peterson Brothers and Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel at the Saxon Pub. "I really had no idea what I was doing. Live music photography is so different than the stuff I was playing around with previously. The light is low, the colors intense and the action can be a bit fast." The results, however, were extremely encouraging. Soon he became Bobby and CoCo's "personal photographer", shooting most of their gigs.
He soon started shooting around town at other clubs including Antone's, Saxon Pub, Continental Club and the now defunct MoMo's, where he shot Hudson Moore at the suggestion of Hudson's keyboard player at the time, Jared Hall. Hudson liked what he saw and hired Jim to shoot an upcoming show at Stubb's, followed by several shows in Ft. Worth. "From then on I was hooked" explains Jim.
Although primarily concentrating on local musicians, he also shoots touring acts at some of the bigger venues in Austin such as Stubb's, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Austin 360 Amphitheater and the Frank Erwin Center.
Jim is the primary photographer for "Ready, Steady, Austin!" (http://readysteadyaustin.com) and his work has appeared on CD covers, magazines, websites (including Rolling Stone), newspapers, on posters and T-shirts and even on billboards in Bangladore, India and throughout Europe.