chantal stone photography: the blog

April 21, 2006

The Art of Doing Nothing

Filed under: News — chantal @ 12:16 pm

….or should it be the LUXURY of nothing to do?….

I think “being busy” is highly overrated. You always here people complain about having so much to do, so little time. On the flip side, when everything is finished, the same people will complain they have nothing to do. What’s to complain about? I hate it when people bitch about having nothing to do. They should just sit back and enjoy it.

I think I have mastered the Art if doing nothing. And yes, it is an art form. Not everyone can successfully lose themselves for an entire day, and actually enjoy it. I can.
Hours can go by, and I’ll have no concept of the time past, and have absolutely nothing to show for what I have been doing, yet I will feel completely satisfied with my accomplishment–or rather un-accomplishment.


Updated Photo Site

Filed under: News — chantal @ 11:00 am

I’ve been working my photography site for a few weeks now, and it’s finally at a place where I feel I can go “public” with it. Meaning, I sent out an email this morning to just about everyone in my address book with a link to the site. Until then, only a few people had visited my site, including a handful who have accessed through a link I include on this site.

It feels good to see my pictures on display like this. I admit that I’m just a little obsessed with the photo site…I think I look at it about 250 times a day. I’m not sure why– unless I update it, it never changes. But just the satisfaction of seeing my photos on display, I suppose feeds my inner-narcissist.

Anyway, I have a few projects in the works…some that I am actually working on, and some that are just floating around in my head. I will eventually get them on the photo site, and I’ll probably create galleries that are project-specific.

Thanks for reading, and please take the time to check out my site: Photography by chantal stone.

April 15, 2006

Book Review:LaPorte, Indiana, by Jason Bitner

Filed under: News — chantal @ 12:33 am

An awkward preteen in a dance costume, a crying baby, a young toddler with white, scuffed walking shoes.

These are images found in Jason Bitner’s Laporte, Indiana.

Jason Bitner, of Found Magazine, makes a living collecting the things we leave behind, and compiling for all to see. Lost love letters, a to-do list, a note from an angry neighbor have all found their way into Bitner’s Found Magazine. This time, instead of gathering the snippets of memories and messages left behind, Bitner has compiled a wonderful collection of lives, a veritable diary of a small American town.

When visiting the small town of LaPorte, IN one afternoon for the LaPorte County Fair, Bitner and a friend stopped for lunch at a local diner called BJ’s American Café, in a building that formerly housed the Muralcraft Studio, owned by Frank and Gladys Pease during the 50’s and 60’s. The Pease’s specialized in children’s portraits, family portraits, engagement announcements, and the like. After Frank Pease’s death in the early 70’s, the photos remained in storage in the building, until the early 90’s, when the owners of the Café discovered the treasure.

Bitner noticed a small display of black and white portraits for sale and asked the waitress about it. She directed him to a small room in the back of the restaurant where thousands of photographs were located. Customers could browse through the boxes to see if there were any recognizable faces, perhaps a family member, an old friend, a long-lost love.
Bitner and his friend then spent the next few days going through the photos, collecting the ones they wished to purchase for a the book that would become LaPorte, Indiana.

Cleverly edited and grouped together, glancing at the faces of this book can make one wonder: Who are these people? What were their dreams, and did they ever achieve them? Are they still alive? Did the young man in uniform have to fight in Vietnam? Did the African-American sisters face many hardships there in LaPorte during the civil rights movement?

Often there can be a picture of a child placed next to a familiar looking adult…are they related? A mother and daughter? Or simply a fast-forwarded view of years to come?

Here we have a time capsule, a look back to a time and place where optimism prevailed, when we strove to put a man on the moon, and knew that we could succeed. There are portraits of children in the prime of their innocence, when America was still idealistic, before Vietnam and the turmoil of the civil rights movement, and before the cynicism of today.

More than a collection of old photographs, LaPorte, Indiana has given the world a glimpse into our own collective history. This is bigger than just LaPorte, Indiana…this is America, your family, your neighbors. This book evokes a feeling of nostalgia and holds a piece of all of us back in time, when our collective consciousness told us all things were possible.

Jason Bitner has given us a glorious gift of time standing still.

This review originally appeared on

April 13, 2006

On Death…

Filed under: News — chantal @ 11:25 am
I was reading an article in USAToday about six bodies that were found in a home in Pennsylvania. One body had a visible head wound, blood and bone fragments were found throughout the house, some of the bodies were wrapped in sheets, one wrapped in a blanket secured with a phone cord.

I started thinking about the fragility of life.

What kind of person does this to an entire family…to anyone? A five year old was included among the dead.

The image of the person found wrapped in a blanket, tied with the phone cord stands out in my mind. I imagine this person being struck over the head, then strangled with the same phone cord used to secure the blanket around the limp, lifeless body. I can almost feel this person struggle with the last breaths of life, the pain, the anxiety, the panic he or she must have felt. Then suddenly, nothing. Everything stops, the panic, the pain, the suffering, the struggle. Those final moments of the person’s life, was this person worried what was happening to the other family members? Was s/he already aware that others had been killed? The fear this person must have felt is overwhelming for me to comprehend…for any of us to comprehend.

Christianity teaches us to not fear death. In fact, if you go to a truly Christian funeral, many are called “Home-going” celebrations…where the soul of the departed is reunited with the Savior in heaven. It’s a pleasant and comforting thought.

Most religions/faiths have a belief of the after-life, the idea that ones soul passes on to another state of consciousness. But it’s the exact moment of death that interests me most. The moment where awareness suddenly ends. I imagine it like falling asleep…one moment you are awake, thinking, breathing, seeing, feeling…then…nothing. Nothing?

This “nothingness” makes me wonder is there something to it? Are we aware at the moment of death of the nothingness? Is death like what we’ve seen on television with the tunnel, the bright light, the familiar figures of loved ones long-lost?

If there is life after death, do we suddenly pass onto that life, aware of our “human” death or do we just start anew, unaware from where we came? I think about reincarnation, which is an interesting idea for me. As a Christian, I know I’m not supposed to believe it, but I’m not like most Christians. Nothing in this life is clearly black and white, so why would the next life be any different? If our souls are reincarnated to the next life, I wonder if it is a sudden event, or if there is a “waiting period” where the soul contemplates the mistakes made in the past, where one can thoughtfully contemplate the steps needed in the next life to reach the inevitable Nirvana.

I think as humans, we fear the idea of there not being life after death. This life is often so full of struggle, strife and turmoil, the idea of there being something better afterwards is comforting for many. The idea of rewards in heaven, of riches and virgins and peace and harmony, of oneness with God, and everlasting love. It’s romantic and inspiriting.

I have a more universal theory on death and life thereafter. I like to think that there is life after death. The thought that such a richly contemplative life can simply end in an instant doesn’t sit well with me. I need the deeper meaning. A person’s religion or faith does not matter much to me, I believe that there is one Ultimate Truth that we as Humans must learn. I believe that there are constant lessons in our lives and signs all around that lead to this One Truth. And if we don’t quite it get it the first time around, we, our souls, are sent back again and again until we get it right.

I believe after death, once we’ve learned to recognize the signs in a way that is adequate to the Creator, all of the answers to our questions, the ultimate Truth, is revealed.

Maybe it sounds elementary, but it’s what makes the most sense to me, and I find comfort in it. And I think that when faced with my final moment of life, I won’t be afraid.

This article first appeared on Blogcritics on April 14, 2006.
If you enjoyed the article please check out the interesting and provocative

discussion that followed on Blogcritics.

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