chantal stone photography: the blog

March 31, 2006

A Little Intellectual Intercourse…..

Filed under: News — chantal @ 12:07 am

The article titled “Energy and Imagination” by John Spivey appeared on Blogcritics today, and it totally blew my mind.

John, a brilliant writer, talks about how there are certain people with an unstable inner Energy. And for those of us afflicted with it, often we can become tortured by this internal conflict; but one way to harness this precarious flow of Energy is to use ones Imagination.

“Imagination is the connection that we establish to the mystery at the heart of things.”

For me, I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my role and identity as an artist. I think that inherently creative people tend to be way more introspective than the average person, so this sort of self-circumspection is probably just par for the course. But I just seem to question lately how exactly am I supposed to express what I feel bubbling inside of me. There’s just so much there right now, and much of it is all energy that I think I have been ignoring for many years, now it’s ready to come out.

I wonder how am I being received, how will I be received…?

I understand my medium of choice, the medium that has been calling me for as long as I can remember. I just hope I can do It justice, and allow all this Energy to flow properly.

And John’s article just reminded me that I need to tap into my Imagination.

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March 22, 2006

My 80’s Road Trip

Filed under: News — chantal @ 1:23 am

My husband and I love music. Who doesn’t, right? I know we’re late to the game, because we haven’t really gotten into downloading yet, but we do have an extensive collection of cds and records. Our collection includes everything from Oscar Peterson and Miles Davis to Simon and Garfunkel, the Eagles and Doobie Brothers; from the Village People to Stevie Wonder, to DeBarge, to Prince and Madonna; from INXS and U2 to Hoobastank and Kelly Clarkson.

There isn’t a genre we don’t like—jazz, hip hop, R&B, gospel, rock, pop, and some country. Although we have some similar tastes in music, in my car right now you’ll find Howie Day, and in his I think he’s actually just been listening to a lot of NPR. Our overall preferences are just a bit different.

So when we started planning a road trip from Ohio to Georgia this summer, aside from hotel arrangements and minivan rentals, the thing at the top of the list was “What are we going to listen to?” What can we both listen to at length without driving each other crazy? It has to be something good and something with longevity because with three kids in the car and my penchant for stopping at every blade of grass to take a photo, a 12 hour trip will quickly become 18 hours.

Solution? 80’s music. Not just the poppy, bubble-gummy 80’s sweet tooth candy music that drove us crazy when we were 13, but also the hot 80’s classics that will endure for decades to come.

We’ve been compiling our favorite songs from the 80’s…gathering the old cds and even been borrowing from the local library and burning the best songs on to iTunes. This process alone has become a sort of road trip in and of itself…a sort of homecoming, a trip down memory lane. The songs we are gathering all bring me right back to where I was the first time I heard them, and it’s this reunion with my pre-teen and teenaged self that has proven to be a welcome trip on its own.

For the most part, my husband and I agree upon what songs to save and compile, and which ones to ditch. So far we have about 4 hours of music saved, so we still have a ways to go. He has his favorites, and I have mine. In the spirit of Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti’s “List of the Moment”, I put together a list of my favorites so far. This is MY ultimate 80’s collection:

”Holding Back the Years”, Simply Red –simply a great song, one that transcends decade or genre. It was great when I was in high school, it’s still great now.

“Always Something There to Remind Me”, Naked Eyes –I liked this one when it first came out, but now I think I love it even more when it’s played on the “Friday Night 80’s” show on our local radio station.

“Missing You”, John Waite –another great song in any decade, all in all though, 1984 was just a great year for music.

“I Ran”, Flock of Seagulls – what’s not to love? For me, this song encompasses all that was 80’s New Wave, with the crazy hair (yes, I did try to sport a similar hairstyle) and all the jelly bracelets and neon socks. This song IS the 80’s.

“Hold Me Now”, The Thompson Twins – again, an 80’s classic, complete with the bad hair and androgyny. Perfection.

“Tempted”, Squeeze –actually anything by Squeeze would be great. One of my favorite bands from that time, this is a song that still sounds fresh and current…at least to me.

“Keep on Loving You”, REO Speedwagon –ok, this song takes me back to the summer between 3rd and 4th grade, my friends and I would all go roller-skating at this rink called Roller Boogie, I had huge a crush on Arnold Brewer, a 6th grader, and when this song came on, I would chase him around the rink, trying to “slow-skate” with him. Ahh those were the days…

“Africa”, Toto –in my opinion possibly the greatest song of the decade. This song reminds me of Christmas, 5th grade, I got my first clock radio and I would fall asleep listening to the radio on “sleep” mode. This was one of my favorite songs of the time, along with “Down Under” by Men at Work. Soooooo 1983.

“Cruel Summer”, Bananarama – all I have to say is Karate Kid, enough said.

“I Want to Know What Love is”, Foreigner – again, my days at Roller Boogie. I had a thing for the slow ones back then.

”Eye in the Sky”, Alan Parsons Project –this song has some great lyrics, but I have to confess I didn’t always like it. It’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and you can’ t get it out. Also, my father was a big jazz fan. I inherited most of his old record collection—Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Ella, etc. I remember once he had a friend over and my father was telling him how he listened to jazz. The guy then said “Oh you like jazz? Then I have something you really need to listen to…” The next day the guy brought over a copy of the Alan Parsons Project. My father, trying to be polite, was like “Uh okay, yeah this is interesting.” But even to my pre-pubescent ears, I was like “this is supposed to be jazz??” Yeah right. Anyway, the song grew on me.

“Lucky Star”, Madonna– no explanation necessary…it’s Madge.

“Pride (In the Name of Love)”, U2– great song, even better album, The Unforgettable Fire.

“Don’t You Forget About Me”, Simple Minds – one word… The Breakfast Club! Okay, that’s three words, but still, classic 80’s movie, kick-ass 80’s anthem.

And there you have it folks, my Ultimate 80’s Collection. I’m still adding, always compiling. Our trip is not until June, so I still have a bit of time. I don’t know what I’m more excited for, the family reunion in Georgia, or the Soundtrack!!!

March 21, 2006

Update……

Filed under: News — chantal @ 1:27 pm

I’m making progress with my new scanner. I have to admit that I’m not the most computer literate person I know. But honestly, I’m a smart person, it shouldn’t take this long for me to figure out how to scan, save, and upload a picture.

Anyhow, I almost have it. I just can’t figure out how to re-size the image so that it doesn’t take up the entire page when I upload.

I did manage to create my very own photography Site, a PhotoBlog. I’m excited because unlike sites such as Photobucket, the one I’m using will allow me to blog along with post my photos, and even has a feature where people can PURCHASE a print, if they like. (hint, hint!) My goal for this year is to sell at least one print, so that I can claim the income, therefore allowing me to claim all of the expenses I have incurred as a write-off—photography is NOT a cheap hobby. I gotta make this work for me.

So please check out my site….link to the right. There’s only one photo on there right now…posting it was more of an experiment, just so I can learn the process of uploading. It’s one my favorite pictures though, so let me know what you think. More will soon follow, and soon I plan to get this thing together and post pictures here too.

March 15, 2006

We’ve come so far; we still have so far to go…

Filed under: News — chantal @ 12:04 am

Tuesday afternoon I was at the hair salon getting my hair done. I go to a rather upscale, black hair salon. The clientele is mostly educated, mid to upper class black women, most of whom attend church on a regular basis. The owner of the salon, I’m assuming, is a Christian, the music played in the salon is usually either gospel or light jazz. And most of the stylists there are regular churchgoers; my own stylist attends the same church I do.

I’m setting the stage for a conversation I heard that really shocked me, although when I think about it, I suppose it shouldn’t have….should it?

There were only a few people left in the salon, late in the afternoon, mainly my stylist and me, and one other stylist and a client who’s hair was about to be washed. The other stylist brought her client over to the wash basin area, and the two were carrying on a friendly conversation. The stylist asked the woman if she planned to attend a jazz concert next month, the woman said she wasn’t because her son was getting married that same weekend.

The stylist was pleasantly surprised and congratulated the client, and asked her if she was excited. The woman replied with a shrug, “I guess so”.

Caught off guard by her reaction, the stylist asked a few more questions…”Was the wedding a surprise to you?”…”Don’t you like your son’s fiance?”

The woman simply responded with “She’s white.”

Enough said.

The conversation continued with the stylist concurring with the client’s distaste at the prospect of having a white daughter-in-law. They went back and forth a bit about that, and I even heard the stylist admit that “everyone has prejudices, I’m even prejudiced.” Later she said “I’m racist, I know I need to work on it, though”

At least she recognized that she needed to “work on it”.

I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation. My stylist, who had been fairly silent most of the day, suddenly began asking me a bunch of questions about my kids, and that’s all it took to distract me, I LOVE to talk about my kids. But my stylist knows that I am half white, so I’m assuming that maybe she didn’t want me to hear the rest of what they were saying, for fear that I would be offended.

(As I am writing this though, the thought just occurred to me, should I have said something?)

Anyway, I went home with my new, fabulous hair style and I told my husband about what I had heard. His first question was “Were you offended?”

I said, “No, I’m not offended by other people’s ignorance.”

And I’m not. But the more I think about this conversation between these two women I just can’t believe that people still think this way. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I live in such a bubble, I’m unaware of the racism that’s all around me.

Or maybe it’s the expectation of not having to hear conversations like these. This is 2006 after all, are we not past this yet? Especially among educated Christians, am I wrong for having an expectation of racial tolerance? These were two 40-something, educated Christian women, in one breath talking about their churches, their pastors, how much they love the Lord, and in the next breath talking about ‘white folks’. Would the Lord, that they claim to love, approve of this? I think not.

On the flip side, this made me think also then that since there are still some blacks who disapprove of interracial relationships, then certainly there are whites who feel the same. Racism is definitely a two-way street, I’m not that naive.

And I’m not so naive to think that racism doesn’t exist anymore, I just wasn’t expecting to hear it the way that I did. It can be shocking to hear what people say when they think no one else is listening.

This article originally appeared on Blogcritics.org on March 15, 2006.

March 11, 2006

The End Of An Era

Filed under: News — chantal @ 1:54 pm

March 7, 2006 is the day the world lost a great man. We lost a poet, a musician, a novelist, a composer, a film director, an activist and most notably, one of the 20th centuries most accomplished photographers.

Gordon Roger Alexander Buchannan Parks died at the age of 93.

Several articles have been written the past couple days about the life of this great man. And I could simply reiterate what has already been said, another obituary documenting a lifetime of great achievement.

I could write that he was the first African-American photographer for Life magazine from 1948-1972; that he specialized in the portrayal of black urban life, issues dealing with racism and poverty, and became a world-class photojournalist bringing light to the difficulties of minorities at home as well as abroad; and that he also was a co-founder of Essence magazine in 1970, where he held the position of editorial director for three years.

I could talk about his years working as a member of the Farm Security Administration, documenting the plight of depression-era farmers across the United States, through which he captured his most famous image titled “American Gothic”, a portrait of a black cleaning lady named Ella Watson, stoically posed in front of the American flag with a mop in one hand and a broom in the other. Mr. Parks said he wanted to capture the mood of social inequality he felt when he took the photograph in 1948.

I might be inclined to mention his semi-autobiographical first novel The Learning Tree, published in 1963, that later became the film that Parks also wrote, directed, produced, for which he composed the film score, and also literally filmed as the cinematographer. He also directed the popular films Shaft in 1971 and Shaft’s Big Score in 1972 (both of which were the beginning of the new film genre known as blaxploitation), along with other films including some made for TV movies.

I also, would have to point out the four other books of memoirs that he wrote, including A Hungry Heart: a Memoir, four volumes of poetry, a ballet concerto, and several orchestral scores. I might also be tempted to list the impressive portfolio of famous portraits Gordon Parks took over the years, including Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Gloria Vanderbilt, Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Streisand, and many others.

To continue the list of achievements, it would be a failure not to mention the fact that as someone who never finished high school, Mr. Parks received 40 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities across the United States and United Kingdom.

All of these things are great, and do merit mention when discussing this great man. But more importantly, what needs to be discussed is the influence Gordon Parks had on American life. He beat the odds when the all was stacked up against him. He chose his camera as, he said in his own words, his “weapon of choice”, to fight the battle of social injustice that he saw so prevalent in the world around him. In a 1999 interview he said, “I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs.”

With persistence, perseverance, and grace, Gordon Parks was able to accomplish things many people only dreamed of doing. He broke down barriers with his camera, and showed many people, who would not have ordinarily seen, the tragedies caused by severe poverty and inequality. He helped to bring these issues into the forefront of American consciousness, in many ways laying the groundwork for the civil rights movement.

Gordon Parks once said “[t]he guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed.”
Words that he lived by, Mr. Parks never saw failure as an option and with triumphant courage, he helped pave the way for African-American photographers and filmmakers for decades to come.

Mr. Gordon Parks is an American legend, an icon, and was a true renaissance man, although he would humbly joke that he couldn’t even spell the word renaissance. As an aspiring photographer I have always admired and felt a deep connection with the work of Mr. Parks. As a black woman, I feel honored and proud to have as one of my predecessors, such a profoundly talented and superbly influential man. One could only hope to make one ounce of the mark that he made on this world.

Married three times, he is survived by his three children: Toni Parks Parson, David Parks, and Leslie Parks Harding, along with five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His son, Gordon Parks, Jr. died in a plane crash in 1979.

Mr. Gordon Parks was a great artist, a great writer, a great African-American…..simply put, a true American Hero.

You will be missed, Mr. Parks.

This article originally appeared on Blogcritics.org on March 11, 2006.

March 10, 2006

an update……

Filed under: News — chantal @ 12:51 am

I am currently working on a website to display my photography, an online portfolio.
I seem to be more computer illiterate that I thought, so with a little patience and perseverance, the site will be up very soon!

Also, the diet is going alright so far. I have lost a total of 9 lbs. It’s coming off slowly, which is frustrating, but in the long run, will be better. It will be easier to keep it off. I just need to exercise more, and although I can usually think of plenty of excuses not to, soon it will be warmer and I’ll enjoy going out for a walk and/or run. I’m not giving up yet!

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