Philip Jarmain grew up near London, Ontario, with part of his childhood spent in Switzerland and Ireland. There were also many family trips to Mexico. His mother is a textile artist and fathers an entrepreneur. A childhood love of storytelling led to early fascination with film, photography and cameras. dShort dramas shot with an 8 mm wind-up camera were a passion. Later, his training was in film (Vancouver Film School), and for some years he worked in lighting for feature films and episodic television, and after that as stills photographer for film.
While establishing himself as a full time artist in photography, Jarmain supports himself as a commercial photographer specializing in conceptual advertising, based in Vancouver, where he lives, and Toronto. In this area he is a recipient of multiple Lürzers Archive and Communication Arts awards as well as other international honors.