chantal stone photography: the blog

June 29, 2007

Photography Groups, And How Columbus, Ohio Needs A Good One

Filed under: Photography — chantal @ 3:32 pm

Something’s been on my mind lately, and I’ve complained about it through email with other photographers, in chat, even when talking to local photographers here in Columbus, Ohio. It felt like time to take my gripe to the blog…

There is a great photo community here on the internet: for enthusiasts, for professionals, for the casual shooters, for the fine art crowd…you name it, there’s a group, or site, or blog, or whatever for photographers to get together and share ideas, get advice, etc. And from what I’ve seen and heard from other photographers, there seems to be thriving and helpful photo-communities in many cities across the US. But not here in Columbus.

Columbus has a couple of photography clubs—camera clubs, really. Mostly enthusiasts who like to get together, share pictures, talk about gear, etc. I’ve been to their meetings, but it wasn’t for me. There are two big ones here in town and neither really were able to fulfill my needs. Columbus also has a few active Flickr groups with a ton of members. And if you read Craigslist/Columbus, every other ad is by a photographer looking for a gig. There are a lot of great photographers here!

But no community for advanced amateurs, emerging professionals, and pro shooters with years of experience, where we all can learn from and nurture each other. We’re all competing against one another, yes. But I think we would benefit more from helping one another.

Am I the only one who sees this as a problem? I’ve talked to quite a few local wedding photographers who all have noted a significant decline in their number of bookings recently. Wouldn’t you like to know why? Do you really think its all because every other person and their brother now owns a Nikon D40 or a Rebel? Perhaps it’s also because the trends in wedding photography are changing and you haven’t noticed it yet. Wouldn’t you love to be part of a group that analyzes and notes these trends, and shares information that we all could use to remain competitive?

How many new magazines are being launched every year? I know of at least three new ones just this year here in Columbus. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be part of a group that pays attention to things like this, so that we all have a chance to get published locally? And what about these group art shows that are popping up left and right. Do you ever wonder how you could be part of something like that?….or better yet….help organize one yourself!!

If Columbus had an active and generous group of photographers who met semi-regularly, I think it would be nothing but win-win. I, along with a handful of other photo friends, have actually started a small group in the past, but since the group was so small, and everyone’s time limited, it never really took off. But I have a feeling that I’m not the only one here in Central Ohio who sees/feels the need for a photography group that goes beyond just the regular camera club…. a group that sees its members as equals, partners, and friends, that helps its members grow creatively and in business.

If you’ve read this far, and you’re not from Ohio…how do you feel about the photo community in your area? Is there one at all, and if so, do you feel like it meets your needs? What would your ideal group be like?


June 27, 2007

My Husband, The NY Times, and Christian Patterson

Filed under: internet,Personal,Photographers/Artists — chantal @ 11:51 am

(photographer unknown, using my husband’s p&s)

My husband recently returned from his 2-week annual training with the Ohio National Guard. It sucks being away from home, but when shooting a weapon like the 50-caliber machine gun, that kind of makes it a bit more fun.

The 50-cal is normally mounted to the top of a tank, but for training purposes, they had it there in the sand. You can see how large it is….my husband (pictured above) is 5’11, and the bullets are as long as his hand. Believe it or not, I qualified on the 50-cal when I was in the Army (looong time ago). Actually, I qualified expert marksman with the M-16 rifle too. I applied the same techniques to shooting a rifle that I learned in my first photography class (breathe, relax, aim, and squeeze).


Something interesting I found via, and article in the NY Times (It’ll Be Photographer’s Choice on a Web Site From Corbis, by Katie Hafner) about a new microstock service from Corbis called Snap Village where photographers can upload their photos to the online stock agency, and name their own prices for the images, ranging from $1 to $50. (Think iStock, but different).


It’s no secret that Christian Patterson is one of my favs. So imagine how happy I was to read this interview he he did for It’s a great interview; brief, but really gives you a sense of who he is as a photographer and an idea of his approach:

I particularly enjoy the process of exploration and discovery in my photography. I get a kick out of finding unique, beautiful, funny moments in everyday places.
I also find some pleasure in capturing things in hidden places, or literally in the middle of nowhere. I like to look for things that are literally hidden, or in some cases just hidden in plain sight.

Christian’s photographs drew me in from the beginning. It’s also great to learn that he is self-taught, fueled by the passion for photography that most of us share.

After you read Christian’s interview, take the time to read the other interviews on with some other amazing photographers.

June 25, 2007

Quote Of The Day

Filed under: Great Quotes,Inspiration,Photographers/Artists — chantal @ 9:41 am

From John Loomis:

“What ultimately counts towards pushing yourself forward creatively is finding the opportunities which will allow you to succeed and grow. Talent is not the x-factor, capitalizing on the right moment is the key.”

Read John’s blog: Drinking With A Dead Man
See John’s portfolio: JLPFL

He’s awesome!

June 24, 2007

Calls For Entry

Filed under: contests/competitions,Photography — chantal @ 11:51 am

A couple of contests for the confident among us:

1. The PilsnerUrquell International Photography Awards 2007.
The grand prize here is $10,000.  Categories for entry include advertising, fine art, editorial, architecture, nature, and more, for both professional and amateur photographers.  But you better hurry…the deadline is June 30!

2. World In Focus, presented by National Geographic and Photo District News.
There are separate entries for amateurs and professionals, with prizes including trips, photo seminars, camera equipment and publication in PDN. Categories include the human condition, urban landscapes, extreme exploration, and more. The deadline for this contest is August 21, 2007.

Good Luck!

June 20, 2007

Brent Clark

Filed under: Inspiration,Photographers/Artists — chantal @ 10:21 am

On his blog, Alec Soth lists 23 photographers he met with during a Magnum portfolio review in NY this past weekend. It’s an interesting list, I have yet to look at each link, but I’ve been through over half so far. Many would easily fit into the category of “contemporary photography”. Contemporary photography is interesting to me. I find myself both strongly attracted to it, yet annoyed by it at the same time. I enjoy the random feel of it, even the often times sterility of it. But what annoys me most is its commonness now. It seems every other up and coming fine art photographer shoots the same sort of static photograph. There’s a certain lack of emotion, which I suppose is purposeful, but it’s opposite of what I like to shoot.

One standout photographer on the list is Brent Clark. His work is so personal and honest, I can actually feel something while viewing.

Photo by Brent Clark

I love photographers who have the ability to force the viewer to stay longer, and look into the picture. Brent’s photographs are more than just pictures of what something looks like, they are illustrations of an experience, of a feeling, of something familiar, something you want to be part of. Brent Clark is the type of photographer I aspire to be.

Take a look through his beautifully arranged website. Each gallery is a unique journey unto itself.

Read the full list on Alec Soth’s blog here.

June 19, 2007

Projects And Progress

Filed under: Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 1:29 pm

I mentioned this on my photoblog the other day… how last summer I had a project idea to photograph my kids’ last days of summer…something to capture what I felt was the essence of summer…from a child’s perspective. Unfortunately I didn’t think of the project until just before school started so there wasn’t a lot of time to really sink my teeth into it. I did make a few images that I really liked back then. So I’ve decided to resume the project after shooting with my kids over the weekend. It’s easy for me—it’s summer, my children are almost always with me, and it’s something I feel an emotional connection to. As a child, summer was magical for me. It was the only time I felt free. If I can capture even a bit of that through photography, I’ll be happy.

Looking through my archives though, I’ve noticed how my shooting style has changed…or evolved maybe…perhaps even matured. All together it couldn’t be a cohesive project if I decided to include the early images because they look so different from what I shoot now. The fact that I was shooting film back then, and now I shoot digital has a lot to do with it, but more importantly my ‘eye’ has changed. I’m a much more confident and focused photographer than I was a year ago.

It’s interesting to look back through the archives to see changes and growth. There are certain elements that remain the same, then there are things that are different….some slight, some more obvious. It makes me wonder how some photographers can have an on-going project for years at a time. It must take an amazing amount of concentration to remain focused on a single project for such a long time and maintain a certain amount of cohesiveness. I envy that ability to maintain attention.

Here are a few I took back in 2002, at a place in CT where I spent much o my childhood summers:




These are a few from last summer…some from a vacation we took to Tybee Island, GA…and then others from just around here:






Some similarities, definitely. I always favored black & white film, and water seems to be a common theme. One obvious difference for me, and probably wouldn’t be obvious to anyone else, is that the 2002 images are more emotional for me. Even though the 2006 ones are of my kids, and are evidence of absolutely wonderful times we shared, that I love, I was shooting from a much different place. I felt like I had something prove during that period last year, like I had to prove myself a worthy or competent photographer, so looking back at many of my photos from that time, many of them seem very ‘typical’, like the obvious shot.

I’m not really criticizing my own creativity, just noting the changes in my approach.

Now, my photography is again, more about the emotional connection. How does a scene make me feel? How can I illustrate that feeling in a picture?



Perhaps it isn’t apparent to anyone but me, but shooting from an emotive place feels more like honest work for me. I’m closer now to doing the type of work I feel I was meant to do, than ever before.

*I’ll be continuing more from my series called “Essence Of Summer” on my photoblog intermittently over the next several weeks.

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