chantal stone photography: the blog

May 30, 2007

The Ones That Whisper

Filed under: Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 11:42 pm

Push

I shot the above picture a few weeks ago, and for whatever reason, almost every night I would look at it and think ‘do I like this or not?’ Well, I finally decided I do like it. It’s one of those pictures that you need to let grow on you for a while.

I try not to rush to judgment with my own work. When I go through my photos and begin the editing process, there are the clear standout ones that you know are the throw-aways and the keepers. That’s the easy part. Then there are the ones that sort of whisper at you…and sometimes a little softly. You have to go back and listen to them a little more carefully a few times. Sometimes you realize they’re not really saying anything at all. But then there are times when that soft whisper can really open your eyes.

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May 29, 2007

Appreciation, Shane Montgomery, and Christian & David’s Trip to Nebraska

Filed under: Inspiration,Photographers/Artists — chantal @ 2:03 pm

I went to lunch with my mom today. She’s from Germany and has lived in the US for over 35 years now, so anyplace we go to usually has a European flair to it, and if its even slightly warm, we usually have to sit outside. An outdoor cafe is like Nirvana for my mother.

Outdoor Cafe

We don’t do stuff together, just her and I, very often because I always have the kids with me, or she has the 2 yr old little boy she watches. But when we can, we try to make time to just enjoy each other’s company over a fine lunch. Enjoying ones family, enjoying nice weather (it wasn’t as hot today as I expected), enjoying good food—these are all ingredients for a happy life….seizing the moment to appreciate the good in life.

This is how I like to approach my photography. For me, photography is about capturing a moment in time, an attempt at seizing a glimpse, a feeling or something beautiful, special, or good. More than just showing what something looks like, I try to illustrate what or how I felt when I witnessed it…whether that feeing is love, or nostalgia, or joy, or innocence, or just something quiet and lovely.

Anyway….that’s my thought for the day 🙂

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In light of the previous discussion about disabled comments, the idea has shown itself again that one of the biggest problems with browsing through photoblogs is that many people do not take the time to really look into a photograph. It’s like, look for 2 seconds, leave a quick “great shot” comment, then on to the next blog. I wrote something about it once before (incidentally, that post brought me the most comments ever—I think it was like 30+ but unfortunately you can’t read them because it’s disabled—-they were all very thoughtful comments though).

My friend Shane, a very talented street photographer, wrote about it also on his photoblog today, along with an awesome picture that, the more time you spend with it, the more you will receive. Check it out!

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Christian Patterson already knows how much I love his blog, so he won’t mind me sending you to see a series of videos made by David La Spina during a trip the two of them made through Nebraska. The videos are lovely little visual treats and at times very funny. Someone needs to give these guys some money for a feature film!

This one is my favorite:
Nebraska Trip: South Dakota Wyoming Nebraska

See more on Christian Patterson’s Blog.

May 28, 2007

The DO’s & DON’Ts of Photography

Filed under: Lists,Nonsensical/Randomness — chantal @ 12:20 am

I think I found this list via Christian Patterson’s blog a while ago, but I always re-read it when I’m in the mood for a giggle. It’s totally tongue-in-cheek, but with a hint of truth and relevance.

Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

Don’t: Band photos What? Why are these four guys so mad at me? And why are they standing in front of a trash-strewn vacant lot? Who are you guys, a tough gang from the bad part of town?
Nope, you are every [f-ing] band ever, and you are so boring to look at it makes me dizzy.

Don’ts: Fish-eye lenses, Fashion, spelling it “Foto”

Do: Internet Second-best to finding an amazing print in the garbage is stumbling across some lunatic’s website. The Internet is the photo voyeur’s Emerald City, and Google image search is like being God.

Don’ts: Interiors, calling photos “Images,” Ink cartridges, Infrared film

Do: Quick reflexes Good photographing is like a sport. You have to be fast, strong (cameras are heavy as shit), agile and hyperaware. It’s no coincidence that Spider-Man is such a good photographer.

Don’t: Road trips Emo kids have sold this romantic ideal and ultimate picture-taking bonanza so far down the river that now, on its back in a jagged script the whip scars actually spell out: Who cares?

Dos: Snapshots, Stealing Souls, Slide Shows, Self-timers, Stereographs, Starburst filters, Slaves, Sally Mann

Do: Us Weekly The photography in Us Weekly is like a cheap, super hot whore who rubs your feet and swallows your load. It perfectly serves its purpose: to be entertaining, informative, and disposable.

Read the complete list here on :

DOs & DON’Ts of Photography

May 25, 2007

The ‘Comment’ Thing

Filed under: Personal,Process/Learning — chantal @ 8:24 am

Ok, so when I posted a picture to my photoblog last night I decided to disable comments altogether to that site. I immediately received several emails asking why I had done so, so I thought I’d offer an explanation here. There are several reasons and I’ll touch on a few, but this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

As I stated in my previous post, I don’t have the time like I used to visit many photoblogs anymore, let alone leave comments like I used to. But when I did have time to relax and browse a bunch of different sites, I always loved the ones that didn’t allow comments. It seemed so brave to me. Here’s a photographer who was like (at least my impression) ‘here’s my pic…it speaks for itself…no comment necessary’. I’ve always aspired to be that brave with my own work.

Comments are fun, and I admit that when I check my email I get all excited when I see someone has left a comment on one of my pictures. It’s like a little tiny present. And comments help to foster this incredible photoblogging community—which I love (one reason why I helped to organize NAP2007). But at the same time, there’s a little part of the comment process that almost feels like approval seeking. Kinda like “here’s my photo for today, I really hope you like it, please tell me you like it”. I certainly want people to like my pictures, but if you don’t, it’s not going to change how or what I photograph.

Photography for me is a deeply personal form of expression. Each picture I make, no matter the subject, is an extension of me, my personality. Since I’m beginning to do more work for hire, the approval I really seek is from my clients. My photoblog is a place where I can express myself freely, no matter what people think. It’s a place where I can say here’s my picture, you don’t have to like it, just know that I love it. Unless I asked specifically, I have never looked to comments for technical advice. If the image wasn’t shot or processed the way I wanted it to be, I wouldn’t have posted it.

I feel like I’m at a new level, photographically. Maybe not with the pictures themselves, but I feel differently about my work. More confident, perhaps (probably not, I still stare at the computer screen night after night thinking ‘this sucks, that sucks, suck suck suck’).. Perhaps just more at ease with who I am as a person and as a photographer. Comfortable enough to say here’s my photo, like it or not. It’s kind of gangsta, it’s a bit brave even, but it’s also part of a maturing process for me.

I’m also trying to streamline my site. I’m currently working on a new portfolio and I’d like to improve the photoblog as well. My plan is to keep it only about the photos, as much as possible. Very few words, maybe just an explanation of where the photo was taken or something. I’ll leave the ramblings, rants, and observations for this blog. Comments are always welcome here. A word blog seems to be a more appropriate place for comment and discussion anyway. And there’s always Flickr—another appropriate place for commenting.

In an email someone had asked if I disabled comments due to spam or negative comments. Amazingly, in the year + that I have had my photoblog, I have only received ONE spam comment. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s a testament to the awesomness that is Expressions. And I’ve received probably less than 5 negative comments…which never bothered me at all, it just seemed sort of unnecessary.

So there you have it. This explains about 75% of why I disabled comments. The rest is just personal. I’ve appreciated all of the feedback I received over the past year, and I hope people continue to visit. And always, if anyone wants to tell me I’m great, or I suck or if a picture is crummy or not, feel free to email me at any time!

May 23, 2007

The Good News….

Filed under: Personal,Process/Learning — chantal @ 2:28 pm

…is that I’ve been super busy lately.
The Bad News is I haven’t been keeping up with a lot of my online projects like I used to.
Here’s the deal:

I’ve been blogging –both with writing and pictures– for well over a year now. I’ve made some great friends, both on and offline, and it’s helped me to grow tremendously as a photographer. I started off writing various articles and reviews for Blogcritics Magazine, but as I began to become more confident with my photography and more involved with the photoblogging community, I started my Photobloggers Exposed series, which at first only appeared on Blogcritics, but was later also published on The Online Photographer.

I also picked up a few other projects: talent scout for the now defunct Bending Light Magazine, asst. blog editor of Photoblogs.org, and asst. editor of art and photography for Allthingsgirl.com. All great websites, all tons of fun to contribute to. Meanwhile I was a lead organizer for the 2007 NAP Meet-up and was still busy shooting and trying to promote myself as a local lifestyle photographer. Phew!

These various activities have all been incredibly rewarding. I took on so many different projects because, frankly, I didn’t have much else going on. Not really working a lot, or at all, with my kids in school most of the time, I had a lot of free time that I was willing to devote to anything photo-related. But as fate would have it (and it’s a good thing too!) my own little photo-business is beginning to build some momentum and I find myself too busy to keep up with everything. I’m not complaining! This is what I’ve wanted since I was 15—to be a professional photographer….and now other people actually hire me to shoot stuff for them (so cool!)…and I need to do more!

The problem now is, I’m so busy with actual photo WORK, I don’t have much time to devote to my other projects. I don’t even visit other photoblogs as much as I used to or would even like to! So I’m sad to say that I’m going to have to either retire my Photobloggers Exposed series—or at least put it on hold, and step down from Allthingsgirl.com. Photoblogs.org is easy to keep up with and doesn’t demand much time at all.  And I still have one more interview in the works.  (God bless Doug Plummer for putting up with me, this “interview” has been going on since like February…….I’ve been THAT busy).  I think his will be my last for a while. So my sincerest apologies go out to all of the amazing photographers out there who I was really hoping to profile. Perhaps in the future, but now just isn’t the right time for me.

What’s next for me is to continue doing what I’m doing: shooting, shooting, shooting…building a client base (which a slow process), and getting my name out there in my local market. I’ve spent the last year sort of finding myself as a photographer, developing my style, looking for a niche. Now I feel as though I’m there. It feels great too! It’s just all about spreading the word at this point, and that keeps me busy enough!

The Road Ahead
The Road Ahead

May 18, 2007

Creativity and Children

Filed under: Personal — chantal @ 8:57 am

Tulips
Michigan Ave, Chicago, USA

Today and tomorrow my daughters will be dancing in their dance recitals. Our whole family is really excited, the girls have worked so hard all year and now they can show it off. This year is particularly exciting since it was Chanel’s first year in junior competition, so she has a lot of dance numbers to perform, and also because it’s Cherie’s first recital ever!

See some pics from their dress rehearsal here.

Creativity and self-expression are celebrated in our house. Of course we want our kids to excel academically, and we expect them to achieve high grades and do well in school (and they do!), but it’s in the field of the Arts that we have really pushed our kids, and they seem to be thriving. During the summer is when we have the most fun: going to museums, doing art projects at home, painting, drawing, reading and writing poetry. And the kids love it! Both girls are dancers, and Chanel will tell you that there’s nothing in the world she’d rather be doing. Sharif plays the violin and is doing so well! He also is loving photography and does exceptionally well at other visual arts. Cherie is still quite young and even though she dances, her path is still yet undefined, but it’s becoming clear that dance and/or music is where her strengths lie.

All good things, indeed.

I just wonder sometimes….many other parents seem to push their kids into the fields of math and sciences, playing sports, etc. And no one direction is better than the other…you point your children to the path in which you are familiar. It just makes me wonder if creativity is an inherited trait or a learned one. There are arguments for both, and evidence also. I like to think that what my husband and I do for our children, expose them to and lead them towards, will benefit them in the far future, no matter what path they take.

My Kids
Sharif, Chanel, & Cherie

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