When is an artistic series complete?

Memory Pods #074252 2021copyright Douglas Stockdale

This question, when is an artistic series complete? was one of the many questions that Brooks Jensen, editor of LensWork, asked me in my very first interview. It is a question that as you can imagine that has stuck with me. As background I had submitted my Roadside Remembrance portfolio to LensWork, which was accepted for publication and in conjunction. Jensen would concurrently publish a DVD of his interviews with the featured photographers. During our conversation I had brought up how I was now working and thinking about photographic projects and series, versus considering singular images, and that even with the submitted portfolio I was continuing to work on this series. That in turn resulted in his question related to how long I might continue photographing these roadside sites.

This is a question I have been asking myself recently about my series Memory Pods after working on it for eight years. It is complete yet?

This year we had a number-crop of blooms for our back-yard garden which resulted in a ton of RAW images, that I have subsequently tweaked with my post-processing software, such as the artwork above included in this article. I think I have more than enough botanical material to work with and the opportunity to continue my experiment/play with this series. Nevertheless, it seems that I am personally in a transition, while still finding the Memory Pods series interesting I am also dealing with some other personal issues and excited about a new series, Quantum Elements, that I find fascinating.

I am also realizing that my botanical subjects for the Memory Pods series have the potential to also explore my other personal issues in a way that I did not anticipate. So for me, is this series complete? Maybe for the original concept I was exploring about memory and its retention. Could the subject of this series morph and be a catalyst for yet another series? Again, maybe. So a little bit of angst as I struggle with this question and potential outcomes. Never easy, eh?

So perhaps a darker version of my subject may be in order for this article, symbolically representing where I am at for the moment.

To my earlier question, at some point I think we grow in a way that earlier projects and series may not hold our artistic attention. Or perhaps in the way it did earlier upon conception. We may arrive at a point that we just don’t see how else to develop the series any further, that we run out of ideas, that the subject is no longer relevant or we find we are ready to move on to something else more interesting. For my Roadside Remembrance, also about memory and its retention, I can drive by various roadside memorials and not have any compunction to want to photograph the site, thus knowing for me, this series is completed.




Book workshops:

I will be leading a Creative Photo Book workshop with the Southeast Center of Photography (SEC4P), a virtual event on Zoom; November 6 & 7th and 13 & 14th, 2021, 10 AM – 1 PM, EST (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. It is SOLD OUT & wait-list has been started.

New dates for another SEC4P Creative PhotoBook workshop just announced (and already almost sold out), a virtual event on Zoom; January 22 & 23 and 29 & 30, 2022, 10 AM – 1 PM, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). The SEC4P membership discount is also available.

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

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