We've been watching giants fall ever since we can remember. We make shirts from designs we draw by hand. We post photos we've crafted with heart. We believe in counter-culture. We believe in moving against the grain. We believe in you.



When you get stuck in a rut or need advice or whatever, having creative friends will push you more consistently and will be there to tell you that you don’t suck.
— Phil Chester

TA: Whats good?

PC: Lot’s of things! Moved into a killer apartment with the lady a few months ago in our favorite part of Portland, putting together my little home recording studio, been taking a bunch of time to travel and visit friends and fam around the world before the wedding season hits hard.


TA: Who were you before you picked up a camera? how’d that moment change the course of your life?

PC: Such good questions. I was me, just without much direction in life. I was always into creating things. Whether it be shitty little movies on outdated camcorders with my friends or recording music in the basement of my friends parents home. I eventually felt I needed to go back to school (after dropping out of music school) so I enlisted in Army Active Duty for 4.5 years to get that free college reward. I picked up a camera while deployed in Afghanistan in 2007. I didn’t know how that would change my course into eventually becoming a full time photographer but I knew there was an initial love that came from it that has only grown since.


TA: How do you see your life today as opposed to what you envisioned for yourself as a kid?

PC: 180 degrees different. I had a solid childhood but never really had hopes or dreams for becoming something when I “grew up”. I, probably like a lot of people thought I needed to get into a professional field like law, or medicine or something to make money and be happy and never thought of myself as someone who could make a living from being creative. If someone would have told me that I would be working for myself as a photographer when I grew up I wouldn’t have believed them.


TA: We know you get around. What is the most sketch situation you've gotten yourself into during your travels? 

PC: I was in Costa Rica in 2011 with some friend filming a sizzle real for an animal adventure show and we were hanging out at some remote river swamp thing home to hundred of crocodiles. Or alligators, I don’t know the difference to be honest. Is one of them friendlier? Anyways, some dude started shooting a gun near us and then held us at gunpoint accusing us of killing his gators, which we obviously weren’t. The dude called the police on us and we waited on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere for hours until cops showed up and told us to never come back. Super cool.


TA: Who is inspiring you right now?

PC: Three artists stick out in my mind as really inspirational people. The way they photograph is so radically different from myself and I’m trying to break old habits of muscle memory and routine in the way I see the world. Those three are:

Ryan Muirhead

Theo Gosselin

Chantal Anderson


TA: What is inspiring you right now?

PC: Time off. Sounds weird but taking time off to reflect and not work gives myself space to become inspired. It’s hard when I’m in the working grind of the year to build up that inspiration which generally comes in the off season. I’m always inspired to push the limits of what I’ve done in the past and try and find a new way to shoot.


TA: Where do you call home? does your location play a role in your creativity?

PC: Portland, OR. I think so, I think living in Portland and the PNW surrounded by nature and a really chill supportive community of weirdos that makes up Portland is a good place to be as a creative. Everyone here is making something or doing something or a part of something and it’s cool to be a part of this city. 


TA: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community or are you more of a lone wolf?

PC: I think it’s really important to surround yourself with creative friends. When you get stuck in a rut or need advice or whatever, having creative friends will push you more consistently and will be there to tell you that you don’t suck.


TA: What drives you to keep pushing forward?

PC: Two things. One, the fear of becoming complacent and getting lost in the sea of photographers out there. And two, an internal need to top myself. You know the feeling when you’ve made what you’ve deemed as your best, that feeling dies so quickly, so I’m always chasing that high from making something better than what I did last time. 


TA: what is one of the biggest challenges you face as someone who has taken their passion and turned it into a business?

PC: Constantly creating content. In a quick thumb scrolling world, no one stays on your page or feed for more than a few minutes max. So the need to constantly be creating content was and is the biggest challenges because you want everything you shoot to be gold and not rushed but you need to always be making something. 


TA: Are you happy with your work?

PC: I’m stoked with the direction its going. I want to be progressing faster but don’t we all.


TA: Plan b?

PC: I’m pro choice so sure?


TA: Aside from photography, do you have any other creative outlets?

PC: I’m in the process of putting together a little home recording studio, making music has always been a huge part of my life.


TA: Favorite web resources?

PC: http://www.itsnicethat.com/categories/photography




TA: Whats next?

PC: trying to plan a huge shoot in the desert with some amazing people, slowly putting the pieces together. Then wedding season 2016 kicks off.


Find Phil elswhere // Portfolio / Tumblr / Instagram