Born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, photographer Peter Chin discovered life’s harshest realities early on. Virtually abandoned by his parents, Chin was bounced around between family members for most of his childhood. At one point during his high school years, his great-aunt moved the family to a house near the beach, where Chin spent most of what little free time he had by himself and discovering his new love and passion for photography. He started to shoot what he found in his natural Caribbean setting slowly understanding the union between art and technique.
After receiving a soccer scholarship to attend the prestigious Jamaica College, an all boys high school known for its rich tradition in athletics and academics, Chin began working part-time at a photo lab in downtown, Kingston, Jamaica where he learned how to develop film. He was introduced to the island’s crop of professional photographers who would often come in to retrieve their photos. By then, he’d already bought his own camera, joined the school’s photo club, traveling around the island, shooting whatever he could find as a challenge.
Chin was accepted into the Jamaica School of Art, the first formal art institution in the English speaking Caribbean and attended on the weekends while still in high school. He majored in graphic design. After a few months, he walked into his first photo class, sat down and immediately knew he had found his calling and it hasn’t changed since.
He boldly left Jamaica and moved to New York City to attend the New York Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS), where he majored in photography. Chin financed his own education, taking on a number of photo assistant assignments while completing his studies. He has worked with some of the country’s most notable photographers, many of which allowed him to shoot for them.
After graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, Chin started working with his mentor, photographer Halle Angies who taught him how to express himself through the medium. From there, Chin went on to work with celebrity photographer Richard Corman, traveling the world for a number of years.
Finally, in 2001, Chin landed his first solo assignment with ESSENCE magazine and continues to regularly shoot for ESSENCE, Prevention, and Self magazines as well as on a number of advertising campaigns, using both digital and film formats.
He’s currently working on completing two major projects: a photo documentary of breast cancer survivors and a book on the influence of reggae music around the world.
As someone who grew up with so little, Chin is the quintessential example of how hard work, an insatiable passion and a sincerity and openness of always wanting to learn and discovery something new can catapult your life into unexpected directions.