Across his career as a photographer in Wenatchee and Tacoma, Chapin Bowen photographed churches, businesses, organizations, cemeteries, military, aircraft, parades, among many other local subjects. Some of the Northwest Room's favorite images he has taken include an interior of the Little Harlem Rondivoo (image below), these shots of the Daffodil Parade from the 1930s, and his impressive documentation of automotive service stations around the area.
Joseph Chapin Bowen was born on April 25, 1900, in Columbus, Ohio to Charles Ambrose Bowen and Mabel Shattuck Hayes Chapin. Chapin Bowen operated his photography studio Chapin Bowen Inc. for 25 years in Tacoma. Bowen also worked as a freelance photographer for the Tacoma News Tribune for 12 years. He came to Tacoma in August 1924 from Wenatchee, WA, where he also worked as a photographer.
Before living in Wenatchee, Bowen had traveled to most US states holding various jobs. For example, he was also an engineer after taking courses at the University of Washington, Whitman College, and Montana School of Mines. Previously Bowen was employed by the Great Northern Railroad at the Cascade tunnel as their chief electrician. Chapin Bowen married Irma Saunders on December 22, 1925. Together they had three daughters. He was a lifelong member of Tacoma's Young Men's Business Club. He passed away at age 56 on May 30, 1956, in Seattle, WA.