chantal stone photography: the blog

February 25, 2007

The Source of Motivation

Filed under: Inspiration,Photography — chantal @ 12:49 pm

Paul Lester has an interesting post today on his blog about motivation and facing rejection…it gets to the root of why we shoot.  (He linked to a post on George Barr’s blog….read that too.)

Both articles deal with dealing with rejection, and force one to ask the question: why do I photograph?

I do this for various reasons:

1) I love it.  Photography is it for me.  It’s the purest way I feel I can express myself.  It’s exquisite in its impressionism and in its honesty, and in its subjectivity, all at once.  Photography, for me, is non-judgemental, unpretentious, and knows no boundaries.

2) I’ve had other jobs and I enjoyed most of them, but in the end, I got bored and ended up hating what I did because eventually I began to think “what the hell am I doing here, I want to be a photographer, not a ____”.  You can fill that blank with just about anything including a retail manager, a soldier in the Army, a cook, a waitress, Mary Kay consultant, or visual merchandiser.

3) My kids are getting older, and I want to teach them to follow their dreams, to follow their hearts.  I want them to learn that they can be successful at doing what they love and that the measure of success shouldn’t be the size of one’s bank account.  And I want to them to know that no matter what it is they do, they can be successful, financially and otherwise, if they work hard.

4) Deep down, when I really think about it, when I’m truly honest with myself, I keep doing this because I need the validation of public success.  I need to know that someone besides my mother thinks I’m a good photographer.  I need to know that this lifelong love and obsession isn’t in vain.

5) I’m a photographer because I really believe that someday I will be successful at it. (I don’t think I’d be successful at anything else.)

So when faced with more rejection (and I will be) I remind myself of these things.  This is why I photograph, and why I can’t ever stop.



  1. Great post, Chantal! I like how we feed off of each other’s blogs. It’s a nice way to expand the discussions.

    1) I totally agree!
    2) I am fortunate enough to have a full-time job that I really like.
    3) Again, more agreement! I have 2 kids. One in college and one in high school. I’m constantly drilling it into their heads to choose something that they love, not something for the money.
    4) Validation is nice to have, but for the past year or so, I’ve been working on inner peace and acceptance. I’m learning to rely on myself for that all important self-worth boost. I feel that I don’t need that external validation much anymore.
    5) I do it because I love it and if I make some money at it, that’s cool. If I never get recognition, that’s cool too.

    Comment by paul — February 25, 2007 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  2. Ahhh if only my parents had taught that to me! Trying their best, they taught me that dreams don’t come true, to remember that there is always someone more talented than you, and the only way to success is to take the road most traveled! Now… I didn’t believe them… not consciously any way… but I think my road has been much much bumpier for the unintended detour…..It is now my passion to help everyone discover exactly what you aim to teach your children.. that our dreams are divine… that if we set our minds, our hearts, our faith and our time… miracles can not help but occur…..How can you doubt it when you look in the eyes of that gorgeous child you just posted on your New Eyes blog! Your children have been given a marvelous gift!

    Comment by kveljones — February 25, 2007 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks Paul…
    I agree…this is a discussion I think everyone can relate to.
    As far as #4 is concerned…I hope to one day be where you are 🙂

    Thanks a lot! I appreciate the comment. It’s a shame that so many parents have failed to instill a positive, can-do attitude in their children. My parents were encouraging, but only to the point of “yeah you can do anything, just don’t bother us for advice or help”. I think the main goal of any parent is to do better than their own. My parents achieved that, hopefully I will too.

    Comment by Chantal — February 25, 2007 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  4. I just had to chime in once more about children. I have to be really careful not to inject my adult perspective into my son’s dreams. Being an adult means knowing the pitfalls these big dreams, but I keep my opinion to myself. He doesn’t need to hear anything negative from me about the odds of making it to the NBA, which is his dream. He needs my praise and encouragement and he needs to continue to believe that he can make it.

    My parents were not very encouraging, neither were they discouraging. Rather, they were kind of inert. I am trying to be on the positive side of things.


    Comment by paul — February 27, 2007 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

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