chantal stone photography: the blog

September 16, 2006

From ‘Good’ to ‘Great”

Filed under: News — chantal @ 10:17 am

I started to post to my photoblog today, but decided against it.
There’s a big difference between a good photograph, and a great one. I have a lot of good ones, only a few great ones, I think. I know I’m my own worst critic, but I also know my own potential. And I know that I won’t stop, my next great photo is within arm’s reach.

This is what I was going to post:

It’s a good image, nicely composed, good contrast….but it isn’t great. It’s lacking. And I’m not sure what I would have, or could have, done differently to make it better….maybe move in closer, or have the two guys a little more off-centered. Or maybe this is as good as it gets, it’s just not that interesting enough of a scene.

Anyway…more on my ‘journey for a personal style’….

I talked to my husband about it…and I’m disappointed in myself for not talking with him about it sooner. I told him how I felt my photographs are all over the map -style wise. He really knows me better than anyone. His response was: “Chantal, that’s your personality. You don’t like to be classified into any specific category in any other area of your life, why would your photography be any different?”

He’s so right. It is my personality. Why do I feel the need to pigeon-hole myself into any particualr genre? Instead of seeing it as a detriment, I choose to see it as an advantage. I’m versatile.

From On Being a Photographer:

“A unique style…is the by-product of visual exploration, not its goal. Personal vision comes only from not aiming at it. Over a long period of time and through many, many images, the self re-emerges with even greater strength than if it were the end-product. Ironically, by starting with self, it is missed; ignore it, and it becomes evident.”

I promise I’m over the ‘personal style’ issue.



  1. You don’t like to be classified into any specific category in any other area of your life, why would your photography be any different?”


    Comment by Bliss — September 16, 2006 @ 10:25 pm | Reply

  2. First, about the shot and post or not post thing. I hear what you are saying and also see what you are talking about for this particular image. I too tend to have the same trouble. Some days, I just don’t post, then other days, I post the image anyways. Interestingly, it’s often on those days where I post an image I wasn’t hugely excited about that I learn most (about “something”). For example, you LOVED my Citrus Sunset photo ( This is a shot I wasn’t even going to post. Interesting… So from that experience, I better start seeing that posting shots I don’t necessarily love that still get a positive response, well, that’s a definite starting point for personal reflection and growth. Just my thought…

    Secondly, what a great reflection. Thanks for sharing it with us. You’ve reminded me about a section I wrote in my Masters thesis… If you’ll indulge me for a minute: “The third fallacy to point out, stems from how humans choose to break-up wholes into smaller more manageable parts in order to discuss and understand them. It is a difficult task to recount a dynamic process without breaking it up into parts. However, as a result, the true essence of the whole is lost. As Senge compellingly wrote as the opening paragraph to The Fifth Discipline:
    “From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole. When we then try to “see the big picture,” we try to reassemble the fragments in our minds, to list and organize all the pieces. But, as physicist David Bohm says, the task is futile – similar to trying to reassemble the fragments of a broken mirror to see a true reflection. Thus, after a while we give up trying to see the whole altogether.” (Senge, 1990, p.3)”

    That being said, your reflection’s reminded me about this as I believe we too are (open)systems and therefore, the thoughts it also applies to individuals. Thus, as individuals, we try to make sense of ourselves by breaking ourselves into parts, categories, or style, if you prefer. This too is a fallacy. In doing so, I believe we loose the essence of our being and the purity of potential. We then play our lives out not as ourselves, but instead as our self-imposed label, style, or category…….

    Okay, I’m rambling, but I think I’ve said what I had to day.

    In a few words: you are you in every aspect of your life, as a mother, a wife, a photographer. Keep asking the questions about style, see how they fit, try them on, throw them out, struggle, question, answer, live, grow! Just don’t be paralysed by the reflection as thinking or talking about “it” isn’t the same as living it. Nike’s got it right: “Just do it!”

    Comment by Daniel Seguin — September 17, 2006 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  3. I think that just because they are all over the map it doesnt make a bit of difference. I’ve come to the same conclusions as you have very recently myself. No biggie! I saw a picture of a swan by a photographer (I forget his name) but he was a master and his style was all over the map as well. Just shoot and do it to the best of your ability. You already know what you need to do and thats the start of it. 5 years from now you’ll realize that youve become better than you ever though possible and youre pure style will be showing through. You’ll be able to tell a “Chantal” shot from everyone elses. It comes from the inside which you also know. If you’ll pardon my being blunt, (as well as my grammar) I’d say that you were looking for a huge hill to climb all at once and be at the top because youre determined to get there. Its not a hill, its a thousand mile journey, on foot, and you’ll get there one step at a time. I expect reciprocation when I’m down in the dumps about my work as well 😉


    Comment by synj00 — September 17, 2006 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  4. Chantal,

    i don’t think cliches help you evolve, particularly so when you haven’t had decades of practice… besides photography is a journey…
    i’m thinking that you were trying to evolve quicker than the laws of nature(!) i don’t think that’s right and probably styles evolve either by accident or by sheer exploration and years of hard work.

    its just a tough road, that’s all 🙂

    and when you see the bus stop
    stay there
    and wait till it comes
    you’ll see familiar faces
    people who smile
    you’ll see
    you are not alone


    Comment by sleepless dream — September 18, 2006 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

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