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Jimmy Chin: World Traveling Photographer and Filmmaker

Jimmy Chin
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Jimmy Chin is a professional rock climber, photographer, and award-winning film director. His ability to capture the beauty of action and adventure sports has taken him all around the world, documenting and organizing expeditions to some of the most dangerous places in the world. U.S.-born Chin gained his cultural experience as a traveler.

Chin’s background

Chin was born in Minnesota in 1973, the only son of two Chinese immigrants that escaped during the Chinese Communist Revolution. He attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., U.S.A. where he began his interest in climbing.

His college climbing experience took hold rather quickly and Chin started his professional climbing career in 1999 at the age of 26.

Nowadays, Chin is more well known for his photography, an interest that came purely by chance when he borrowed a friend’s camera and snapped a picture that would soon after be sold for US$500. A few years later, he was offered a position as a photographer/cinematographer on a National Geographic-sponsored climbing expedition.

Chin’s future expeditions allowed him to spend the majority of his time with some of the world’s most talented athletes from all ends of the world. He currently lives in the United States splitting his time seasonally between Jackson Hole, Wyoming and New York.

It’s about sharing stories that inspire people and open their eyes to a different world.

-Jimmy Chin, Featured on his Biographical Portion of https://jimmychin.com/about/

Chin’s career

Chin’s 2002 expedition as a photographer with National Geographic kick-started his career as an action and adventure photographer. Prior to that, he had been part of the North Face Athlete team, and between the two he had plenty of reason to switch his focus from climbing to documenting others’ experiences.

Throughout the following decade, Chin would join dozens of expeditions resulting in numerous photography awards, quickly bringing his name to the top of the list of the few elite adventure sport photographers. His filmmaking career took hold when his film “Meru,” which follows a group of climbers and their struggles while attempting to ascend Mount Meru, located in India.

“Meru” won the audience award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the 2016 Oscar Best Documentary Award. Following “Meru,” Chin documented the world’s first attempt to free climb the notorious El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The 2018 film, “Free Solo,” was awarded seven Emmys and won the Academy Award for best documentary in 2019.

The accidental success of Chin’s photography career has been a story recognized around the world and his ability to document what most will never experience has allowed him to share a glimpse behind the curtain into the challenges and experiences of the worlds must talented and unrecognized athletes.

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3 comments

  1. This article caught my attention immediately! I am biased in the best way; as a photographer and an avid adventurer, I am very intrigued with Chin’s lifestyle/career. It is my DREAM career to be a photographer for National Geographic. He turned your passion into a career, and even created a film to showcase it! It’s safe to say that I look up to Jimmy Chin. His success has inspired me to work harder towards my photography goals! Thank you for writing this article, I learned something new today.

  2. I enjoy learning about people I haven’t yet heard about and that’s why I clicked on this article because I had never heard of Jimmy Chin but I wanted to know what he has filmed and photographed. This was a great article about his greatest hits and I really enjoyed reading about him and learning that he filmed Free Solo, which is a great movie! I had no idea he filmed that! I really enjoy when people write articles about the person you didn’t think to give credit to, I never thought Chin had such an impressive portfolio of work. This was a super inspiring article as well as Chin working his way up and continuing to create great pieces of art like Free Solo.

  3. I’m not very knowledgeable on different photography and photographers. However, this article was very intriguing and enjoyable. I loved learning about Chin’s photography and what he does to create amazing pieces of art! Overall this was a great piece that really opened my eyes to how incredible and difficult these things can change your life and make you learn more about things you enjoy!

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