Temple Photo by Beau Sorensen
We had a chance to sit down with LDS temple photographer, Scott Jarvie and learn more about his photography challenge, Photography Decathlon. His Photography Decathlon is a one or two day competition to capture the most artistic and inspiring photograph – all for prizes and photography pride.
Q. What is Photography Decathlon?
A. Photography Decathlon is the exploration and energy of Amazing Race, combined with the challenge and push to prepare for a Spartan race or marathon, except no one has to run, you just go out and explore and create. It’s for any skill level and anyone that loves exploring and creating.
Q. What inspired the idea to start Photography Decathlon?
A. Four years ago I invited dozens of photographers from all around the world to come to Utah for a week-long photo op trip. I took them around to various places in Utah like the sand dunes, Temple Square, the festival of colors, the capitol building, and the mountains. I wanted to create a fun and fulfilling experience. It was 2012 when I had the initial idea for the Photography Decathlon.
Q. Why would someone be interested in Photography Decathlon?
A. The whole theme of the contest is appealing: explore, create, and compete. Growing up a member of the LDS church, those were always three things I got out of the Church. President Uchtdorf said, “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”
We have always been taught to create, to be creative, to do art, to do music – we are constantly encouraged to create. Constantly improving and getting better at something and magnifying your talents is something we’re commanded to do. Sometimes it takes a challenge like this or competition aspect to push us to do so.
Q. Who is Photography Decathlon for?
A. It’s for everyone. While photographers know this is for them, we are pushing hard to help others realize that going and exploring other places and creating is for anyone. The Photography Decathlon is to help people understand that photography is for everyone.
Q. What do you want others to get out of Photography Decathlon?
A. I want people to explore beautiful places and to love where they are and to see beauty where they are. I also want everyone to understand that photography is for them, it’s not just for people who labeled themselves as photographers. Everyone can benefit from getting better at the creative process. I want people to push themselves to get better.
Q . What has been your biggest challenge starting Photography Decathlon?
A. Just the amount of time it takes to create a new startup business. Putting a thousand working parts into this puzzle. All of these ideas I have, I have to coordinate them. Sometimes to let go and realize that it’s not going to be perfect from day one and you are going to be able to keep improving the business as time goes on.
Q. In every architecture category, there is an option to photograph LDS temples. What is it that inspired you to include LDS temples in your competition?
A. Temples are beautiful and they are also consistently lit up at night. We want fun, unique things to photograph. They are also accessible. The grounds are open and well maintained and beautiful. I also happen to love temples.
Q. Why do you enjoy photographing LDS temples?
A. I have photographed thousands of other religious buildings and it’s neat to photograph LDS temples because they are a grand symbol for members of the Church. I love photographing temples because the images are loved and appreciated by members. Temples symbolize commitments to God and symbolize families, so having them on their walls is very important. Prophets have even said that we should have pictures of Christ and pictures of temples on our walls. I prefer the types of photography that are more fulfilling, like taking pictures of special events or to make someone feel beautiful, and I get the same sense of fulfillment from temple photography.
Q. What would you tell someone who might not think they can take a good picture?
A. There is joy, for everyone, in the act of creating, exploring, and becoming better. It always comes down to those three things. You can find joy even if someone might be better than you. Just like someone may run faster than you – you can still find joy in running. You don’t have to be a professional runner to run a marathon, you do it because it’s good for you, you want to get better, and it pushes you. Photography is a valuable skill for everyone. In the LDS culture, we’re all about documenting memories, keeping family records and recording memories in our journals.
Q. What are your goals with Photography Decathlon? Where do you see your company in 5 years?
A. There will be competitions all around the world. There will be fun video content and shows from these events. Through our efforts people will value great photography while at the same time learning how to get better. The most consistent, celebrated photographers will become even more valued while at the same time more people will pick up the art form themselves.
Q. What opportunities have you had to share the gospel through photography?
A. I share my temple pictures frequently on all my social networks; it’s a small and easy way to share what I believe in and love. I have had people ask what a temple is and what is different between a chapel and a temple. Many non-LDS photographers have joined me on many occasions. Hopefully they have felt the special spirit and beauty of these buildings.
Q. What makes Photography Decathlon different from other competitions?
A. There’s no running. It’s more like a sport where the focus is more about art. Plus the schedule is very open. There’s a start and a finish, but a million ways to get the job done. Our culture spends a lot of time showcasing and highlighting what athletes do, so this is fun to have something that highlights what artists do and there are so many talented artists in Utah and in the LDS community. It’s also a competition that focuses on exploring and seeing lots of new places.
The Photography Decathlon has 4 division levels. The non-competitive division is a one day event for teams of 2-5 people. The competitive divisions, which include intro, intermediate, and advanced levels, is a two day event made up of teams of 3-4 people. Each division will photograph 10 categories: landscape, architecture, product, people, photojournalism, cityscape, waterscape, night, thematic, and street.
Registration for Photography Decathlon is now open. LDSDaily readers can use coupon code “ldsdaily” to get a 15% discount. Prices for a team starts at $40 per person.
Awards and prizes will be given to the top teams and top photographs in each division. Most importantly, the event should be based on the fun experience – the awards are just the bonus.