After writing my opinion article about China’s sterile garment manufacturing, I found it was also a time to pause and think about the body of work I created while assisting with the operational Technology Transfer (aka TechTransfer) in China. And then even broader consideration as to the various technology transfers I have worked (and photographed) on for the past thirty years. I suspect that there is an interesting body of work lurking there, but I have been struggling for the past 13 years to find a cohesive concept to draw it together.
So a momentary reflection point and some free-association. First, what is this project about, aka the subject? Is this about my observations? In China a Mandarin phrase, Wo Zi Kankan, is one I used frequently when walking about when someone confronted me due to the “big” camera I was using (yes, a relatively tall, white American/European in the middle of China also made me stand out a bit as well, especially with the camera sometimes mounted on a tripod), so stating that “I was just looking“, seem to dissolve any perceived issues. So, yes, I was doing a lot of looking, observing and photographing the urban landscape and the social relationships that appeared to be occurring as a result. What seemed to be hanging me up is that all of my photographs are in color and the China landscape can be very beautiful, thus the body of work is leaning into being very documentary. Which is an external viewpoint.
At some point during my last stay in 2008, I started to investigate the mood or my perception of the essence of the Chinese landscape, of which the photograph above is a black & white conversion and a photo that continues to haunt me. I suspect that this might be a turning point for this body of work. Not about what I was looking at per se, but how I was feeling about this foreign place where I needed to temporarily live. Thus I am now considering some very interpretive photographs that relate to me while being far from home. Also considering that a black & white conversion may help with my introspective narrative.
So as a part of my experiment/play process, I will work on this project for a short time, probably creating between 50 to 100 potential images to see if it continues to resonate. Concurrently I will be thinking about who the audience might be (besides myself) for this body of work. Is anybody really interested in it? It will appear different from my Ciociaria project that Punctum Edizioni published in 2011, although in looking back at Ciociaria, I can find hints of this new project.
A nice little project to work on in the studio that due to COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t really go anywhere. Perhaps some lemonade for a season of lemons.
Cheers, stay healthy and safe my friends,
Featured artwork above: PingHu Transition (Flow of Light Brush the Shadow (Liu Guan Lue Yin)) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale
Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) Faculty Exhibition, in Los Angeles at the new LACP gallery, located at 566 Washington Blvd. The exhibition opened March 21st
and the closing reception is Saturday, April, 18, 2020, from 7-10pm. TBD
Update! Medium Photo 2020 Workshop: Developing a Creative Book workshop that I will be leading, is now rescheduled for September 24 – 27th, 2020, a four-day extended weekend workshop in San Diego.
Medium Photo 2020 Lecture Series, I will be giving a one-evening lecture Artist Books as Art Objects on
Friday, March 20th, from 7:30 – 9pm at the You Belong Here artist venue, located at 3619 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, California 92104. TBD