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Explore the work of Jonathan Chapman through featured locations.

El Bosque | Vol. 2 | A Cinematic Narrative

El Bosque is a personal project, a story of a man exploring and contemplating life amid the woods of Central Park.

As is typical of most personal projects, El Bosque came to life taking varied turns at each stage beginning with the morning hours shooting stills and video, as described in the Vol. 1 post.  After my return to Minneapolis the project continued to evolve throughout the post-production process.  Edited by Nathaniel Schmidt, the wide screen / split screen format offered a unique, less conventional style for combining shots and imagery.  Once visuals were in place, we asked copywriter Charles Youel for insight and support in crafting words that might ultimately be read as voiceover.  Charles offered the following thoughts after one of our first visits:

When we first met to watch the film, I think I mentioned that my instinct was to use a quote. There are a number of reasons for that. One, I think that using a quote will help keep the film from feeling like an ad — it lends a certain sincerity and gravity. I also think there's a timeless quality to the scenes, in that they feel like they could be happening almost any time during the past 40-50 years.

In response Charles suggested the writings of Henry David Thoreau, which matched up well with eloquent passages from a bygone era that still have relevance in our time.  The voice was destined to be one of wisdom and age looking back on a youthful, less obvious time.

We opted to try a voiceover read of Thoreau’s passages in both English and Spanish.  As you’ll note we went with the latter as it seemed to fit well with the visuals and ended up as a nod to Jason Hurt (the film’s subject) and his grandparent's latino lineage.  

Enjoy the cinematic narrative, losing yourself to the rhythms of Thoreau in Spanish.

El Bosque | Vol. 1

As we finally approach the descent on winter’s slope, looking forward to the slide into spring, here is a selection of stills from a personal project shot in a kinder weathered Central Park, NYC. 

The project came about from a portfolio showing visit to New York in the early months of 2013.  Following our usual approach of exploring an environment with a subject or two, the story most often comes together on location with a few initial ideas to springboard the creative.  NY-based actor Jason Hurt and I set off into the woods of Central Park with limited time, a few props and ideas nestled in our pockets and minds.  The result of our time together in the park has become “El Bosque,” a tale of visuals loosely woven around the writings of Henry David Thoreau. 

When it comes to personal shooting, I enjoy getting into the grit of a subject and pushing the boundaries to explore new territories.  In this first look I am pleased to share the experience through the still images of the story and look forward to sharing the second installment in the form of a cinematic narrative.


Backpacks, backyards, microscopes and classrooms embody the wide range of props and destinations from a recent production for Target's "Take Charge of Education / TCOE" campaign.  Produced in colloboration with Minneapolis based little, this was a shoot ripe with color, light, textures and of course energy and emotion from our talent.  A great cause to rally behind, TCOE is an ongoing intiative endorsed by Target which has donated over $387 million to K-12 schools since 1997. 

Traveller Denim

South by Southwest is underway and we’re pretty stoked to have a presence at one of the country's most innovative events. Proudly partnering with Austin-based Traveller Denim, the short film above profiles the Traveller brand and their philosophy + approach to ‘bespoke’ custom-tailored jeans and apparel. 

Made by hand, following American tradition, Traveller Denim uses vintage industrial machines and the finest Japanese and Cone Mills selvedge ‘to bring you the best pair of jeans you’ll ever own.’ 

The film will premier at the Big Blind Ramble Music Festival, a party hosted by Traveller Denim as part of the 2014 South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference.



At the onset of last summer a project for Lowe's "Never Stop Improving" Fall Recruitment came up through local agency Little here in Minneapolis. The project involved a range of talent from young to old representing an aspirational, pioneering spirit throughout all scenes of the lifestyle imagery. Over the three shoot days we made our way across several locations in the metro including residential, park, lakeside, and wooded area. The stills and accompanying motion edit offers a glimpse of visuals captured throughout the production. 

Adidas | Head to Head | Vol. 2

We’re excited to present “Head to Head” the motion spot from of our latest—and most ambitious—spec project, a still and motion based profile of worldwide brand Adidas. We continue to push the boundaries of our experience, equipment and collaborators to create new work outside of our current portfolio. Head to Head is a first for us, a unique and creative undertaking by our team and local industry partners.  (You can check out the still images in our first post, Adidas | Head to Head | Vol. 1.)

This project was shot in one evening—a total of four hours—with many collaborators and a mishmash of audio, lighting and camera equipment. The hustle and bustle on set had the buzz and energy of a film production, where everyone has a very specific job tailored to their expertise. In this industry, for increased efficiency and reduced budget, we often find ourselves wearing many different hats on a shoot. This was a unique opportunity to perform very specialized roles, as the credits acknowledge.

Right away, it’s obvious that the setting of this story is gritty and minimal, and the last thing on the minds of our athletes is dropping the paddles and calling game. In the shadow of their highs, nothing else matters but the opponent across from them. Dramatic lighting showcases the intense energy of the scene, the driving action behind the simple narrative of these two dedicated, semi-professional table tennis players. It ignites a fierce sense of competition between the two players—and a concentrated passion for the game.

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll release another installment of our series Behind the Lens, featuring the production behind Head to Head. You’ll get an insider’s look at all the equipment, talent and techniques that made this shoot possible. On this project, and many others, we were lucky to work with some of Minneapolis’ top creatives.

As always, we extend a special thanks to our production partners:

Produced and Directed by Jonathan Chapman/JCP

Production - Bobbi Peacock

Assistant to Producer - John Fontana
Edit - Nathaniel Schmidt

Assistant Director - Tony Franklin
Director of Photography - Alex Horner
Aerial Photography - Picture Factory
Second Camera - Eric Schleicher

First A/C - Jules Ameel
Talent - Ahmed Zain/Henry Klaverkamp
Behind the Scenes - Nathaniel Schmidt / Bill Hickey
Art Department/Props/Wardrobe - Alison Hoekstra

Lighting - Michael Handley / Tasty Lighting Supply
Location Scout - Anne Healy 

Production Assistant - Angie Marasco
Production Assistant - Nicole Klein
Production Assistant - Jaclyn Greeman
Color Grading - Jonathan Chapman
Original Music - Nick Mihalevich / Cape Status
Foley Artist - Nick Leisenheimer

JCP Newsprint Promo | Vol. 2 Issue 1

Every project we do is an opportunity to find and share stories as still images, film and the written word. It is a form we continue to embrace in our latest edition of the JCP Newsprint promo.

In the ever-growing realm of digital communication, we've embraced the tactile, physical format of a newspaper as the perfect medium for exploring and sharing the content that we shoot. For this latest, third edition we collaborated with writer Carolyn Petrie to add a new layer of perspective to the design by Eight Hour Day. The copy expands on the images and ideas, complimenting both the visual form and printed medium.

The journey of a project from ideation to content creation can be as unique and memorable as the final result. To share a bit of the journey with you, we’ve put together a short film that illustrates the complexity as well as visual intrigue of the promo printing process.  Thanks to GLS Companies for both printing and allowing us to roam and visually document the process.

From the JCP Team: Explore. Experience. Engage. And, embrace 2014.


Adidas | Head to Head | Vol. 1

One player in a thick, red bandana jumps quietly in place, his arms swinging up and down at his sides. A tightly strung net, just longer than the width of the table, separates him from his opponent.

Stories inspire connection. That’s the narrative of our work: Not just to capture the subject, scene or action, but to tell a story that is memorable, even familiar. There’s an innate challenge in capturing the intangibles of that story in a photograph—the unspoken dialog, the tension of the setting, the nuance of little shifts and changes in the scene. The more minimal the scene, the greater the challenge in capturing those nuances.

This spec project for Adidas exemplified that raw minimalism. There’s no fancy backdrop, no audience. We see two players and a table, and between the three exists a tension—like a binding glue—that tells the underlying story. The players’ hands grasping the paddles. The stare of a competitor hunting for an edge. The snap of the wrist as they hit the ball for the first time. These are the unplanned elements that breathe life into a photo (and moving visuals, too) the little pieces we don’t expect but patiently allow them to be revealed.

Every day, we challenge ourselves to push the boundaries of our experiences, our equipment and our comfort zones to deliver both the expected—and the unexpected.

*This project was an in-depth exploration that tapped many local creative partners. Tonight, we’re looking forward to a cast/crew screening party to say thanks as well as raise a glass to the finished video edit. We look forward to sharing this video along with the accompanying Behind the Lens episode with you in coming weeks.

Down South for the Holidays…

My family and I have a tradition of hitting the road every other holiday season, south bound to relax amid warmer temps and to spend time with my wife’s family near Lafayette, Louisiana.  This year’s three week, near 4,000 mile journey certainly had its share of visual highlights.  While a few of these iPhone images made my instagram feed, I did my best to keep this trip about family and taking in life at a slightly slower pace.

The South, specifically the route we took follows the Mississippi on down to New Orleans.  The collage is a map of sorts, offering a glimpse of time spent exploring places such as Hannibal, Missouri home of Mark Twain, and Tupelo, Mississippi to explore the childhood home of Elvis Presley.  Further south we always carve out an extra day or two for New Orleans and the French Quarter - so much to see amid the winding streets, colonial architecture, and seemingly endless energy.  Our final drive took us two hours east of The Big Easy to our destination city of Grand Coteau which lies in the heart of Cajun Country.  After about a week with extended family and holiday celebration we set off west for Austin, Texas for the final leg of our trip.  It was quite an amazing experience all around as this was our first time in Austin as a family; enjoying the people, sights, food, and certainly the weather.  In addition to roaming the city in all directions, I managed to carve out time to shoot a couple of personal projects that I look forward to sharing in days ahead.  Both subjects were small businesses that are thriving on trades of the past, one a taxidermist and the other a shop that specializes in custom denim apparel.

Here’s to the New Year and continued adventure that life brings to all of us who spend time in and around the presence of a camera.  I can’t thank all of our supporting partners enough including clients, crew, and of course the subjects who let us into their lives and ultimately make all of this possible.


Epoch - A period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.

It's hard not to get nostalgic when one looks at childhood. It's incredible how in those few years you take in a lifetime of memories that are embedded in your emotions. The lump in the throat, the tear in the eye, your hair stands on end as you wonder where do I remember this from? We all have our own epochs where we remember things being different to how they are now.

We began concepting a test project back in Fall 2012 to use, at the time, the new Sony FS700. As with many projects we embark on, we soon found ourselves deep in a creative cocktail of ideas and an enthusiastic crew to help bring them to life.  The Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, here in Minneapolis is an iconic bike and pedestrian friendly avenue prohibited to motor traffic, which is like stepping onto a 1940's set.  On a chilly fall afternoon we brought our four selected subjects and production team to Milwaukee Avenue.  With a loosely storyboarded shot list we set out to explore the young girls coming together for an afternoon of play, centered around jump roping.  The activity of jump roping fit both, the period and look of our scene and was a perfect compliment to showcase elements of slow motion filmmaking that the camera we used has become known for.
This project was our first collaboration with the Picture Factory team.  The CineCopter they operate allows for some amazing aerial imagery and for our story, brings the piece to a cinematic end. The project was edited by JoLynn Garnes, Minneapolis based editor.

Thanks to all of our production partners listed below:

Produced and Directed by Jonathan Chapman / JCP

Production - Bobbi Peacock

Edit - JoLynn Garnes

Director of Photography - Jonathan Chapman

First A/C - John Fontana

Second Camera  - Eric Schleicher

Second A/C - Nathaniel Schmidt

Third A/C - TJ Turner

Hair / Make-up - Joy Phillips

Props / Wardrobe - Deborah Fiscus

Talent - Caryn Models

Behind the Scenes - Samantha Serbus
Location Scout - Anne Healy 

Colorist – Alexis Van Hurkman
Graphic Design - Hunter Murphy

Graphic Animation - CoElement

Music - “Last Goodbye” - Kerry Muzzey