• Joe Stone

Storytelling from Pen to Camera: My Goals, Visions, and Dreams.

This started as a Facebook post but it started to get a bit lengthy, so a blog post it is.


Storytelling has always been a favorite of mine.

I've been writing since I was a kid creating short stories or personal narratives. Over the years, I continued to journal and would write about my experiences overseas. It was a form of therapy and a way to create a personal record. As I progress in my creative journey, using a camera instead of a pen (or keyboard) just seems to be a natural, more visual extension of what I was already doing.

Studio scene with a model.
Behind the scenes shot I took of model Nicole Nance preparing for a shoot.

Now, my photography and videography journey is just getting started, but I have to say I love (just about) every minute of it. I've met so many incredible and unique people along the way, learning their stories and I've even told a few of them.


I've made a lot of friends in the art and fashion industry around Portland over the last couple of years. Creatively, I have little interest in fashion itself. I think we can agree that my personal taste and style in clothing reflects that.

Jokes aside, it's the people that I've come to enjoy being around. This may not the norm for the fashion industry as a whole, but the group that I've found myself becoming a part of here in Portland is incredibly talented, creative, and most of all - inclusive. I love these people just for that. It doesn't matter how far outside of social norms you are, no matter your history, sexuality, size, shape, national origin, how damaged you are, your religion or lack thereof - in this group you are all welcome. To me, this is what the world should be like and I'm glad to have friends like this.


Anyways, I'm getting a bit off track. My purpose in writing this was to explain (and for me to collect my thoughts on) what it is that I really enjoy about photography and video. But even then, my little aside a moment ago helps explain that. I think first and foremost, frame by frame, picture by picture, it's about capturing a moment in time and being able to tell a story through it.


I've always been fascinated by archival footage of historical events.

A record of a moment in time that has had lasting consequences, good or bad. It's incredibly important to make a record of things that happen not only so we learn from our mistakes as the cliche goes, but so we can see how far we've come and how far we have left to go. Not just on earthly scale, but on a local and personal one as well.

On the sociological side of things, from tribalism to globalism, we've come far as humans -- even though seem to backslide now and again. As we become more interconnected socially and economically on a global scale, we become more tolerant of our differences. If this trend continues we we may eventually find peace in this great big world of ours.

Some will call me naive for thinking that, I'm sure. I wouldn't say it's naive because I understand that as humans, we generally tend to be frightened of and attack things and ideas that are different from our own. I also understand that not all would share my ideals (nor would I expect them to) and that people have a tendency (and most likely always will), be violent towards others even over trivial matters (and money).

When I was in the Army, I was lucky enough, relatively speaking, to travel to some far flung places. I was able experience other cultures, which is something I enjoyed immensely and miss today. I ate meals regularly with the Pashtun tribes in mountains of Afghanistan, spoke about life with a computer science graduate turned bricklayer in Baghdad, talked with locals and walked in the Great Pyramids of Giza, and made friends with soldiers and mercenaries from around the world.

Every experience and person that I made contact with was vastly different, vastly unique. But there was always commonalities in what we hold dear - love of family, friends, and community. We are all the same in that regard. Where we go wrong is when we put blinders on that prevent us from seeing things from the perspective of others. We put blind faith in our leaders or some sort of ideals. We stop listening, and start believing we are better than others individually, religiously, politically, or ethnically because of differences. Being different doesn't make us better or inferior. It makes us different. That's it.

As someone who has experienced war on a few fronts, someone who has seen bloodshed firsthand and the minutiae of differences that divide us (but could also bring us together), I would love nothing more than to see this vision of peace come to fruition, no matter how unrealistic it may be. It all starts with the individual choices we make to treat all others with dignity and respect regardless of past experiences or biases. Something I haven't always good at but will always strive for.

In the end, with my photography and videography (and other mediums), I hope to capture the small things that make us humans. To tell a story about what makes us, well us.

Our similarities.

Our differences.

Our pain and our happiness.

I want to capture the essence of what makes us all unique one frame at a time. This way we all see that no matter how different we make look or how different our beliefs are that we are in fact all human.

That, my friend, is my goal.