Critiques and feedback

Middle Ground, self-published limited edition artist book by Douglas Stockdale

I know that I have probably said this before, but I am a really big proponent about getting feedback from anyone and frequently, anywhere. At portfolio reviews, I can usually be found on both sides of the review table, providing my thoughts on someone’s artwork or on the other side of a table asking for opinions about my artwork. One thing I have learned over the years as a biotech scientist and book designer, I don’t have or know all of the answers.

Case in point, I recently participated in a small critique offered by Medium Photo, an organization that I belong to, both as a member and on the Adjunct Faculty. In this case, I was asking for some feedback and advice on my artist book Middle Ground, an urban landscape that I have recently re-imagined. During the critique, I heard two small gems; that sometime ‘conceptual projects need more explaining’ and that one of my key subjects in this series, Oleander, is a ‘dangerous plant hiding in plain sight.’ cool.

My mental block is that my artist book is already self-published and almost half of the edition is already sold, so I can’t change that as far as explaining it, eh? So one of the things I learned ages ago is to follow-up with folks after the review, which in this case, not only the reviewers, but with those I know who participated with me in the critque to provide them with some additional feedback on what I saw and heard. Which struck gold for me; my earlier co-exhibitor Louise provided a great idea in response; so why not include a loose page to be inserted in the book? Duh. But of course! Not sure why I did not think of that, but I didn’t and she did.

So I am now working on a short introduction, tentatively titled ‘Hiding in Plain Sight‘, that I can print and insert in the unsold artist books and contact and mail this Introduction to those who have already acquired this book. I need to finalize the short essay text, determine the font(s) and it’s color(s) and which type of paper to use. The options are percolating. I do know that I want the size of loose insert to be just slightly longer that the French fold-over cover, so that when the fold-over is down, the edge of the loose insert will be slightly visible in the finger cut-out area (above). Also thinking that I want a slightly contrasting color paper to increase its visibility, a paper that has a nice touch.

A wonderful win-win that probably would not have occurred if I had not followed-up after the critique. So this is highly recommended and when I provide the short critique-prep workshop for Medium in November, this will be on my to-do list recommendations for those participating. And hopefully something for you to remember to do as well.




Book workshop:

I will be leading a Creative Photo Book workshop with the Southeast Center of Photography (SEC4P) later in the Fall of this year. This will be a virtual event on Zoom; November 6 & 7th and 13 & 14th, 2021, 10 AM – 1 PM, EDT (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). Registration is now open, and there is a SEC4P membership discount. Just advised that it is half-way sold out. Let me know if you have any questions!

Developing a Creative Photo Book, a virtual (Zoom) workshop I will be leading again in conjunction with Medium Photo, September 11th, 12th, 18th, & 19th, New dates: March 5 – 6, 12 – 13, 2022 More details and sign-up available now at Medium Photo. New Dates!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: