chantal stone photography: the blog

April 26, 2007

NAP 2007 Chicago

Filed under: News,Personal — chantal @ 10:04 am

This weekend I’ll be in Chicago for the 2007 North America Photobloggers Meet-up. It’s going to be a fun weekend of meeting & greeting, photo-walks, laughs over drinks and we’ll also be announcing the 2007 Photobloggies winners. If you didn’t know about the event, and will be in the Chicago area this weekend, check out the website for our where-abouts and stop by!

I’m excited for several reasons:

  1. A weekend full of photo-fun!
  2. Visiting a great city
  3. Meeting some super-talented photographers
  4. There are some really great photo exhibits going on this weekend, including The Chicagraphers at Versionfest.
  5. And most importantly….spending time with my wonderful and HOT husband (with NO kids around!)!!

May 2nd is our 13th anniversary, so this weekend is, in part, an anniversary get-a-way. With three kids, we need to take it when an where we can 😉 !

Next week I’ll be posting some photos from the weekend here, and on my photoblog, and you can also see what others post on our Flickr Pool!

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April 24, 2007

The Question of Why

Filed under: Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 12:05 am

(yeah I know, I changed my blog again)

I was chatting with my friend Sebastian today. We sometimes get into these conversations that offer more questions than answers, but they always seem to help me to understand my own process a little better. Sometimes I feel like the photographer I am meant to be already exists, it’s just a matter of me learning to understand her better. Instead of summarizing the whole thing, here are the juicy bits:

me: when i look through my own archives, i see this consistency that i cant explain….the problem is, its not really what i want my work to look like
sebastian: oh but do you get to choose what you are capable of?
on that deep level about what you have a tendency to produce?
how do you want it to look?
me: i just want bright and shiny….i like bright and shiny pictures
sounds dumb, i know
sebastian: no no no
me: but the images im attracted to are bright and shiny……the images i create are sort of dull
sebastian: not dumb […] like we all have this vision of what our stuff is supposed to look like
me: yeah
sebastian: like a little bit of so and so mixed with so and so
and it turns out to be chantal or whatever
me: exactly
sebastian: is that biased information that you pick up by looking at everyone else’s stuff?
or what?
not you in particular but US in general
I think its a bit of an idealized vision that we haven’t looked past yet
or are working to look past constantly
what is the need that we have to take pictures, WHY WHY WHY
what is it that is being fulfilled
by doing this
and what would happen if we shut off that outlet
or inlet?
I think thats at the root of our style
or soul of our photography
the more clear that picture the more clear what we can produce right?
or am I talking out of my guessing orifice??
me: lol no you’re like blowing my mind right now
all i know is that fail or succeed, i cant stop doing what i do….the need is like oxygen
and maybe i’m not supposed to make the exact pictures i want to make…..maybe the ART is in the effort
like Paul Butzi’s Art is a Verb thing
sebastian: yes I always loved that idea
but…
what is that need??
why do you need it?
I’m really wanting to get more into it and you’ve just sparked this thing off in my head
me: hmmm i dont know….its just something in me that needs to come out
sebastian: do you want to show off what you find? is it the journey of looking for new things?
discovering new perspectives?
telling a story
expressing emotions and ideas
bonding with your equipment?
me: all of the above?
i see stories….i see emotions or intangible things that i want to try to capture
i see moments
sebastian: I feel the key to my progression is understanding this and honing it.
learn how to see it
like we see the little flaws in pictures that nobody else sees
me: yes i agree….i think about this stuff all the time
sebastian: me too
it just feels like I cant progress until I have an answer
at least a clearer picture
pardon the pun

I’ve found that questioning why I do what I do, helps me to do it better. Like the purpose isn’t of my own creation, it has always been there, and I’m just now discovering it.
Interesting…

April 20, 2007

Hear This…

Filed under: Inspiration,Music — chantal @ 12:12 pm


I’m loving this right now…

April 18, 2007

How’s It Going?

Filed under: Process/Learning — chantal @ 3:01 pm

In a comment to yesterday’s post, where I mentioned my on-going quest to becoming a professional photographer, Paul Lester asks this:

How goes the professional quest? Do you care to share your experiences? Are you finished processing all of those pictures that you shot (portraits)? Are you loving the digital world?

So I thought I’d take a few minutes to answer. One word can accurately describe how things are going so far: SLOW. But slow motion is better than NO motion, so I’m not complaining. I was never under the delusion that the minute I decided to be a photographer, that my phone would be ringing off the hook and my calendar would suddenly be full with assignments. That would be nice, but I know I’m not ready for all of that yet anyway. It’s a continual learning process, and everyday I feel like I am in school, with the world as my teacher.

The biggest obstacle for me has been my own thinking. In a naive way, I struggled with the idea of what type of photographer I wanted to be. Now this is going back a few years, but photography has always been a very creative pursuit for me, my form of artistic expression. Therefore, it made sense for me to go the route or the Art Photographer, which I am in the process of doing. I exhibit with a local gallery, and I have some ideas for future exhibitions which I am actively pursuing.

But Art Photography isn’t a business. Sure you can make some money, and a few elite photographers can actually earn a living from their Art, but I’m just not there….not yet anyway. So considering my geographic location, the local market, etc. I’m actively pursuing portrait and wedding photography. And I think my particular ‘style’ (whatever that is) lends itself well to this type of photography.

For those of you who haven’t read about it before, I recently held a “Portrait Day”. I rented a space, set up backdrops and lights, advertised a little, but mostly through word of mouth, I scheduled people throughout the day come and pose for me. I charged $20 per session, and with that, each person will receive 4 5×7 prints of their choice. Clearly not a money-making event, the purpose was or me to have some real studio work for my portfolio, and also to get my name out there a little, to build a client base. So far so good.

I had a great time during the shoot, and I learned a LOT. I’m still processing many of the images, but a few of the clients have received their pictures, and they all seemed really happy with the results. And, as anticipated (and hoped for), I’ve been referred to friends and family and subsequently have been able to book future assignments. The Portrait Day was a success (and continues to be)!

The challenge continues to be the post-processing. I’m totally loving digital, I love the control I have over the image from start to finish. And I finally have my own little system in place to work more efficiently. But it still is a lot of work, and although it’s fun work, I’d much rather be out shooting, than stuck in front of a computer.

One of the biggest challenges though for me thus far has been self-marketing. And marketing is the key if you ever want to get hired for anything. I’m working on it though. My portfolio continues to grow, and soon I will be creating some promo cards. I enjoy weddings and portraits, but I’d also like to mix in a few commercial assignments from local businesses. I want to remain diverse.

Something I have learned along the way is to ask questions. Experience is the best teacher, and thankfully there are plenty of amazing and generous photographers out there willing to share what they’ve learned and what they know. An invaluable resource that was recommended to me was the ASMP Pro Advice yahoo group. Beginners ask questions, experienced pros give excellent and detailed answers. (If you want to join the group, let me know and I’ll email the link…I don’t want the group to get spammed—there’s enough of that already 🙂 ) The ASMP website also has some great information, so be sure to check it out.

So where am I now? I’m constantly shooting, processing, learning…and I even have some really great events booked for the next couple of months. Progress is slow, but steady and good.

April 17, 2007

Amateur

Filed under: Inspiration — chantal @ 9:55 am

04-16-07_inniswoodpark_082_resize1.jpg

There’s been a ton of great stuff in the blogging world this past week….much of which I was planning to write something about, to summarize my own conclusions. But this morning I came across something that really stood out for me. I’ve been an amateur photographer since high school, and only recently have been trying my hand at the professional side of things. And although I live and breathe all-things-photo, and couldn’t picture myself doing anything else professionally, this quote is just too delicious to resist. It’s smart, romantic, and pure genius.

“Professionalism is way overrated. It is the spirit of the amateur that people in creative occupations– in almost any occupation– need to cultivate more than anything else. A couple of hundred years ago, “amateur” was an entirely positive, noble description of someone. The word comes from the Latin amator, which means “lover.” An amateur undertaking was something you did out of love, for the pleasure of doing it– something you did out of passion. And when you think about it this whole country was a nation created by passionate amateurs. The American spirit is the amateur spirit.
– Kurt Andersen, in “Ode to Amateurism”

~found via Jenny Vorwaller’s blog, True Nature.

April 10, 2007

Just Ignore This…

Filed under: Nonsensical/Randomness,Personal — chantal @ 9:51 am

tellme_4-07-07_0042_edited-2.jpg

 

Tell Me
When I
Am No
Longer
Needed And
I Shall Go

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Call it what you like:
crisis of confidence,
feeling overwhelmed
underwhelmed,
inadequate,
unsure,
what the hell am I doing?
what the heck am I supposed to be doing?
Why aren’t I doing what I want to be doing?
How the hell do I get there.

Which direction is the right one?
how do I choose?
what if it doesn’t work?
what if I really do suck?
what if I don’t?

Feeling:
scared, frustrated,
drowning,
tired, annoyed,
envious,
inadequate (theres that word again),
foolish,
but still: driven.

I guess that’s all I need.

Now that I got that of my chest, feeling better already 🙂

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