Cameras, Cocktails and Crocodiles
By Saniya More
Chase Guttman talks about the adventures through his lens.
There are a lot of things that make Chase Guttman special.
His travels to 74 countries and all 50 states. His book on drones. His Instagram feed and social media following of nearly 50,000. But most notably, his award-winning travel photography.
It’s a pretty hefty list of achievements, especially because Chase is a senior at the Newhouse School in Syracuse University, where he studies photojournalism.
After he graduates in a couple of weeks, Chase wants to further pursue drone photography, something he has been involved with for a while.
“Drones have democratized perspective. They own the airspace just out of reach of the longest selfie stick and the lowest hovering helicopter. They go where no other technology can go,” Guttman said.
The Innovation Lab in the Newhouse School is the reason Chase chose Newhouse, he tells me, because it is where he can work with the delicate robots to his heart’s content.
“I have always liked drones because they provide a new perspective on my photography, which is something I have always been involved in,” he said. “Getting a new perspective, a new take on life, contextualizing the world around us—this is why drones call to me.”
Photography has been a part of Chase for as long as he can remember. Growing up, Chase would often go on trips with his father, reputed photographer Peter Guttman— valuable adventures that taught him a lot about the world beyond his own.
Since then, Chase has started to explore the world on his own. He has helped collect baby puffins in Iceland under the Northern Lights—a local tradition not unlike Halloween where children run around and collect the baby puffballs to protect them from being run over by cars or being eaten by stray animals. He’s even downed a Sour Toe Cocktail, a drink featuring a severed human toe dropped into a glass of whiskey. He has even started his day on a swamp platform in South Carolina, waking up on an elevated platform right above a horde of circling crocodiles.
Although Chase tries to travel as much as he can throughout the year, his coursework and work outside class keep him busy. On average, a typical day is him perched in front of a computer, at war with an endless tirade of emails. Work-life balance is one of the things he struggles with the most. But it’s a small price to pay to be able to do what he loves doing.
“Photojournalism, for some reason, is a very heavy term. It is often connected to wartime photography or violence of some sort. For that reason, I don’t necessarily see myself as a pure photojournalist,” Chase said. “I want to capture the beauty of the world, not so much the ugly side.”