Check me out on Tumblr!

I started a tumblr:

chantal stone | weddings

I love tumblr and its easy to see/use format so I thought it would be a great place to share some of my wedding photos. There, I will post old favorites as well as some current weddings and engagement sessions that I’m working on.  Right now, I’m just putting up some of my favorite photos from the last few years but in a few days I’ll get some current stuff up as well. I figured tumblr would be a quick and fun way to get some pics up on the internet, the work-in-progress stuff,  before doing a large post here.  

Please follow!!

I speak the language of photography...

I’ve had an attachment to books & words for as long as I can remember. You hold a book in your hands and you want to read it, right? I suppose the way I make pictures is similar to how I read text on a page: following a path, a flow of sentences, a train of thought, and underlining phrases, words or passages that resonate subjectively in some way. Composing a photograph is like highlighting a passage of the world that holds my attention, or like taking notes in a journal or a detective’s notebook, or making a short field recording of some ambient noise. (Whenever somebody asks me “what do you photograph,” two words come to mind: “things” and “nature.”) Over time the picture-types start to repeat and accumulate into a kind of language, and can function as a kind of text.

— Mike Slack

 

I could have written these words. This describes my feelings, thoughts, and process exactly.  It's nice when someone else can translate your ideas to words so eloquently.

Rachel & Ryan

I've been meaning to blog this engagement session and wedding AGES ago but the problem with some really great sessions is actually narrowing down the number of images to post and share.   I absolutely fell in love with Rachel and Ryan-- their energy, their sense of style their sense of humor. They are truly special and I'm so glad that this profession I've chosen for myself has led me into their lives.

They are huge classic movie buffs so it was no surprise that they chose to incorporate that passion and style into their engagement session and ultimately the theme of their wedding.  

Here are a few of my favs from their engagement session we shot on a gorgeous Spring morning in Bexley:

Rachel and Ryan's wedding took place on one of the most beautiful Fall afternoon's ever at the historic Bryn Du Mansion in Granville, Ohio.  Their classic movie theme fit perfectly with the architecture and sensibility of this impeccably preserved landmark.  You really couldn't ask for a more perfect day. Take a look:


Alonna & Jarrod - Having a baby!!

I'm very fortunate to have had some of the greatest clients a photographer could ask for. (Most photographers say this, by the way). But I have proof that this is true... when a client becomes a friend.

I photographed Alonna & Jarrod's NYC wedding about five years ago, and since then, they have become some of my very best friends. So of course, I jumped at the chance to photograph their first maternity session! And I can't wait to be there for the first photos of my gorgeous new niece!!  Here are a few of my favs from our session:

 

Who we are...

People think they know just by the small bit of impression we put out there into the world. What most people fail to realize is that who we show is only a very small part of who we are. At least most people. I suppose there are people so thin and lacking any sort of depth that what you see truly is what you get, but it doesn't matter much. People who matter, the people who will matter to you and to your life are hardly easily readable.  

We owe it to ourselves and to each other to not judge so quickly, to dig further and deeper, to take a closer look and to not assume.

If you want to know anything about me at all, this blog will only enlighten you a small bit.  If you want a slightly larger bit read my tumblr.  It's much more truth than fiction.

Sometimes this just needs to be said-

Obviously, writing can be cathartic and just know that something recently happened to cause me to write the following. It feels good to get it off my chest:

On Value-

I am a professional photographer.  Do you know what that means? It means I have been extensively trained in all areas of photography and I earn my income from making and selling photographs and photographic services.

Photography has both the honor and the burden of being not only a (somewhat) lucrative profession but it’s also a great hobby enjoyed by millions and millions of people.  And herein lies the problem: this is my hobby, my passion, my favorite thing to do, my first love, my obsession…. but it’s also my JOB.  And I definitely need a job. (Just ask all of the people, companies, and utilities to whom I owe money.)

It is my job. It is my job. It is my job.  

I have to keep saying this because I don’t think anyone is hearing me.

I admit I am lucky.  I have a fun job that looks very glamorous (looks can be deceiving, let me assure you).  I work primarily from my home so yes, there are days that I don’t even shower until 7pm only to put yoga pants and t-shirt back on. There are days when I watch a movie at two in the afternoon, but please understand that I was probably up until 2am the night before editing photos.  There are days when I can have a long leisurely lunch with my mother or friends, I can pick up my kids from school and attend most, if not all, of their school events and activities. I easily schedule doctors appointments and avoid long lines at the bank and grocery store by running errands on a Wednesday morning instead of Friday afternoon or Saturday like the rest of you.  Working from home has its perks.

But do not be fooled into thinking that I have a life of leisure.  I work. Hard. I shoot on weekends while you’re enjoying time with your family. When you’re asleep, I’m editing photos and working on projects for clients.  When you leave your job, you leave your work behind you, mine is always staring at me so even at 11pm on a Friday night I’m probably working.

And let’s not talk about sick days. I don’t get them. Ever.

But here’s the larger truth, and indulge me, please, while I repeat myself: This is my job.

So no, I won’t “just snap a few head shots” for you for free.  Please don’t invite me to your wedding as a guest but yeah, don’t forget to bring your camera. I actually get paid to photograph weddings.  Again, it’s my job.

If we make an appointment, please show up. If you have to cancel, please have enough courtesy to call or even just send me a text.  I had a “friend” not show up to a meeting to discuss her wedding and I sat there for nearly 90 minutes because you know, she was my friend and I gave her the benefit of the doubt, certainly a friend wouldn't just stand me up like that! Two days later I received a short email that oops! she decided to hire some guy from her church who’s cheaper.

You know what happens when you don’t show up for a doctors appointment? They charge you. And guess what… your neighbor, who is also a doctor, won’t perform your surgery for free because ya know, you guys are such great buddies.  Well guess what else… I won’t photograph your kids for free either. Same reason.

It’s my job.

The definition of a job is this:

1job  noun \ˈjäb\

: the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money

Please don’t ask me for a “deal” or any “specials”. Please don’t think that just because we kinda sorta know each other that I will hook you up. Please don’t think that I’m willing to photograph you just for free, to you know, boost my portfolio because honey, look, I’ve been shooting for twenty odd years, my portfolio is far from thin.   If you know my son or my daughter, that doesn’t give you the friend of my kid discount. That doesn't exist, in fact.  And please don’t assume that because “someone” else received a special rate, that you will too.

My rates are my rates and they are adjusted yearly based on demand.

I have bills. I have a mortgage. My family likes to eat food and we like hot water.  I have a son in college, a daughter who is probably one of the greatest dancers you’ll ever meet who needs dance shoes and lessons that are sooo worth it but certainly not cheap. I have an adorable eleven year old who seems to have overdosed on human growth hormone and needs new pants and shoes every two months.

I have, on occasion, given people discounts. I stress on occasion.  For friends sometimes. For people whose Life Event I feel like I really need to be there because I really love this person so much and they already know the deal, they respect me and what I do so it isn’t even work it’s a gift and I’m glad to do it. Trust me, you probably don’t fall into this category, sorry.  

I’ve bartered with people. I give them photos, they do work or a service that I need.  I actually have no problem with doing that… Any good mechanics or roofers or house painters need some photography?  Too bad Kroger or Time Warner didn't have a bartering system. Oh wait, they do, it's called money.

I provide a service that is unique to me. There are dozens and dozens of photographers out there. Some are more expensive than I am. Some are cheaper. Some are reallllly freaking amazing, I cry at how inadequate they make me feel. Some should probably get their eyes checked. So if my prices are not in your range, there’s likely someone else who is.  And that’s okay because we are all different. Each photographer, each artist, brings something unique and special to their craft. We bring our experience and our outlook on life and our education and creativity and energy and ideas and our Vision.  

I had to remind myself of something just last night:

If I don’t value what I do, I can’t expect anyone else to.

So this is me, valuing what I do.  I’m placing value on the work that I make, on the images that I create, on the services I provide.  Art is hard work, and it’s certainly not free, or even cheap. But it has Value.

A part of the process -

The thing about creating is that sometimes, I think, what you plan to make changes based on the audience. Or the expectation of an audience. I think sometimes artists can alter the outcome or even dial back their own truth if they know a certain type of audience will see/view/hear. I think the truest artists just don't care about audience at all and just do the work.  This is the type of creator I hope to become.  

For years I've worried about the reception of my work and now, I just don't really care anymore. And it's not even because I'm at a place in my work where I can afford to not care. Lord knows I need work and the paycheck that work brings, but it's really more like a maturity thing. I've matured in my work and in myself to a point where I can hear my own voice.

I've long wondered what my style was, or what I was trying to say. You always read about artists/photographers/writers, etc who are so incredibly self-aware and just know the thing they are trying to communicate and it gives them this certain sense of purpose that just drives the work forward. I've always been envious of that, never really knew what drove my work other than just this internal need to create it.  That lack of direction has been good to a point as it's allowed me to explore different things - styles, techniques, genres, etc. But there comes  a point where that aimless wondering throughout the creative abyss begins to feel a bit too lonely, alone among the voices of millions.

I feel differently these days. Different about my work and my approach and about myself really, as well. Perhaps it's my age. Turning forty has been an incredibly wonderful surprise.  I think when you're younger you like to pretend that you don't give a shit what people think. It seems like a cool thing to say. We often project how we want the world to perceive us all while still trying to figure out who we are.  But then you hit a point. An age, or perhaps a milestone in Life when you're finally authentically in that state of not giving a shit. And you just ARE. You get up and you do what you do and you don't care about what people think. It's astoundingly freeing.

This is where I am.

And I've been blogging now for nearly 10 years. Maybe a full ten years? I don't even remember when I first started a blog but it was about ten-ish years ago.  My audience and visibility has come and gone.  It's fun when you know there are a ton of people reading and watching and the interaction can be a great thing. But there's also something sort of liberating when you know no one really reads what you're writing. These words here are for me and I can play and say and do what I want however i feel the need to express myself. And if one or two people see it they may like or may not but it won't matter because I truly and honestly doing this for me.

So on this note, it has me thinking about Art and the kind of Art I wish to make.  When I think about the work I've made, the stories I've written (or started) and the projects I've done (or attempted) there's always been a common theme: Identity.

The idea of identity is fascinating for many reasons. I. It can mean something different to everyone. 2. My own identity is something I've struggled with nearly all my life. and 3. the idea of identity vs. perception. I think people see themselves one way but what the world sees is entirely different.   I think sometimes we fool ourselves. It's odd, really, that we demand complete honesty from people in our lives and yet we lie to ourselves practically every time we walk out of the door.

This is where I will begin (with the full knowledge that I am Free here because no one really reads this).  My notes, on a screen.