Photographer talks ‘clicks’ of the trade

By Ashley Traupman

Jim Stone became a photographer to run away from being an engineer.

“At first photography was just something I had passion for. It took me eight or ten years for me to realize there was a way to make a life out of it,” Stone said.

Stone said he was first exposed to photography in college while enrolled in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He wanted to make art or express himself in some way, and found a relation between photography and engineering.

“At the time I was studying engineering and I had always been good at and had an interest in taking things apart and putting them back together and trying to figure out why they work,” he said. “So there is the technological side to photography that appealed to that side of me. I was also interested in doing something creative and essentially make art or express something. Photography simultaneously satisfies both the things, at the time, I thought I needed to be doing with my life.”

Stone spoke with the Department of Visual Arts last night as a part of the second annual visiting artist lecture series, which allows professors to invite speakers to the university.

Neal Rantoul, a Northeastern photography professor, invited Stone, his longtime colleague and friend.

Rantoul said he thinks the lecture series is important for art students and the university because of the broad appeal.

“This series is wonderful for our students because it lets them see and listen to professionals in art fields,” Rantoul said. “It’s wonderful for the university because it brings in people from outside the department. It expands what we do in the department out to a larger community.”

Stone is presently a photographer and associate professor in the art and art history departments at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He is also an author and has written four books and co-authored others.

Stone, who sat behind his computer at a desk in the corner of the room, showed a slideshow of many of his pictures while discussing the meaning of each. The titles of these pictures, like “Blind folk singer: Rochester, New York,” are detailed, similar to what would be expected of a photo caption, telling the who, what and where of the picture.

Stone said he wanted his presentation to be more than just the photographs, and explained the deeper meaning behind his body of work.

“The point of my presentation is that you can be lost for a while and find something you need and figure out a way to make a life out of it,” he said.

Maria Fabila, a junior multimedia and graphic design dual-major, thought this was the most important part of Stone’s presentation.

“It was really nice to hear him say do what you want to do and to keep doing it if it makes you happy,” she said. “I know my parents weren’t really happy with my decision for school. If I enjoy it, if I’m doing good work, then that’s what is important to me.”

Some students in attendance were required to be present for a class, but said they still took a lot from the presentation.

“I’m an animation major and it seems a lot of the time we are kind of disconnected from people who study the other concentrations of art,” said junior David Soto. “So when you come somewhere like this you get exposure to other mediums, other forms of expression, you normally wouldn’t.”

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