chantal stone photography: the blog

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.



  1. Chantal, shooting from emotion is GREAT! I think that is the only way that we can portray what we feel. I couldn’t imagine just going out and shooting in a detached manner.

    I think that the project is a great one. I remember summer and all of its fun: Playing in the rain, chasing the ice cream truck, building a ramp to jump over with my bike, riding down a hill in a shopping cart, riding my bike all across Akron, bowling, catching the bus to go swimming, going to the movies with friends, etc. I would LOVE to have an album with all, or even some, of my adventures.

    I’m really excited about your project and look forward to seeing it. Truly! I’ve often thought of doing one about my son and his basketball season.

    Over time, our ‘vision’ changes. We learn how to better portray what we feel. We gain mastery of our tools and therefore can be more expressive. We experiment, too. For me, I go back and forth between color and black and white, preferring black and white, which is where I started for economic reasons … I could process it myself! Later, I preferred B&W for aesthetic reasons and still do prefer it, although I shoot a lot of color.

    I plan to make a book for each one of my projects, just one book. A book that I can look back on and smile. Perhaps I’ll make a couple of books, one for us, one for my wife’s parents. 🙂

    You’ve gotten a good start here. I really like the one with both of your kids in the water and the sunlight reflecting off of the lake. It’s very emotional and brings back fond memories for me of a wonderful and free time.

    I’m sure that, in their later years, they would enjoy your labor of love immensely. Everybody wins!

    Comment by paul — June 19, 2007 @ 2:30 pm | Reply

  2. Chantal,

    I want to encourage you with your project and wish you luck with your preserverance. I found that a project I started with over a year ago took a life of it’s own. What (and evn How) I started photographing is not what I am seeing and experiencing now. Even if it meant that I had to go back to an original area and start photographing over again (that was a 4-1/2 hour drive one way!). I believe you can learn a lot about yourself in the process, so start and make it happen:- ) even if it is not finished this year. I keep remembering that a project is a process not a destination.

    Best regards, Doug

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — June 19, 2007 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  3. […] should do yourself a favor and read her blog.  I especially like her Projects and Progress post in which she analyzes how her shooting style has changed over the years.  Also, she points to […]

    Pingback by The I2 Photoblogger Spotlight #4 — Instantly Iconic — June 20, 2007 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

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