Singular Images

November 14, 2014

Flow of Light Brush the Shadow – Snow Shovel


Untitled (Snow Shovel, JinShan, January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I recently posting about finding one of my landscape photographs at the top of both Bing Images and Google Images. After letting the shock of recognition wear off, I went back to both with the same search term, contemporary landscape photography, and started scrolling down further.

Yikes, it did not take long for me to find another of my China photographs, above, to appear! I had blogged about my photo project Flow of Light Brush the Shadow in 2011 and this photograph was used to illustrate my progress on the project.

As to this photograph, the unusual snow fall had taken most of the local folks by surprise and like this man, few were really well equipped to handle the deepening snow. What I had not noticed at the time I made this environmental portrait was that the handle of the man’s shovel was actually made from a tree branch.

Up to this point in 2008, I had not attempted to include individuals in my urban landscape photographs, perhaps even going to some great lengths to exclude their presence. During this trip and since, I have made a determined effort to try to include people. This is one of my better attempts.

Meanwhile, another of my photographs that is bubbling up on the internet dog pile.


November 12, 2014

Contemporary Landscape Photography – JiaShan


Winter Field - JiaShan 01-23-08_2139_11x14_Douglas_Stockdale


Untitled (Winter Field, JiaShan, China January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

You might image my surprise when I was poking around Bing images last week in-between events and I did a search on “Contemporary Landscape Photography” to see what might come up and the very first image was….mine!

Yep this photograph above that I created while in China in 2008. And to be sure that I was not hallucinating, I just did the same search again and yep, very first image was this one, again. Amazing.

I had posted this landscape photograph with a short discussion about what potentially makes a great Contemporary Landscape Photography in March 2008 shortly after my return from my third trip into Eastern China.

Trust me, I do not believe that I have created the definitive contemporary landscape photograph although I think that this is one of my better urban landscape photograhs made during these trips. As to why contemporary? Perhaps that the composition is very banal and ordinary in appearance and for me as the author, a bit more about my quiet introspective mood at the time, no real “subject” other than the frozen tracks in the field leading from the foreground towards the horizon. The furrow on the right also leads the reader to the horizon with a momentary break created by a lone, stark and barren tree. Thus the narrative is indirectly about a journey that has some melancholy undertones, probably a bit of how I was feeling going into my third week on this last visit.

This photograph may be getting such a primo spot on Bing is probably more about the power rankings of the internet. The more frequently seen, the higher up on the dog pile it goes. Nice to be on top of the dog pile!


February 8, 2013

Book design in progress: Flow of Light Brush the Shadow

Filed under: Books, Flow of Light Brush the Shadow, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:26 am

01-15-08 PingHu_1593 108

Untitled (PingHu) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

I have completed the first edit for my photobook project Flow of Light Brush the Shadows and have embarked into the early stages of developing the book dummy. Thus I am giving a lot of consideration to sequencing and image pairing to establish the flow or narrative aspects of the book. For this investigation of memory & dreams I want to incorporate gate-folds into the design of this book. For some reason, the first set of gate-folds was just very obvious to me, almost like a no-brainer. The second set was not initially as obvious, but while being open to this design element, it seemed that the a specific pair of images worked in a similar way. So now I am looking for a third set, but I want to add a slight twist to it.

I guess that this is about when I should also be starting my interest list for those who want to acquire this photobook project when it is published. This may help me with targeting the quantity of books for the first run, whether this should be 100, 300 or more. So leave me a comment as to your interest and we will see where this goes.


February 2, 2013

Project feedback

Filed under: Flow of Light Brush the Shadow, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:56 pm

01-15-08 JiaShan_1576 108

Untitled (JiaShan) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

While at the LA Art Book Fair yesterday, I used a page from my own photobook development workshop, that is to obtain feedback from somebody you trust to review a project that is in progress.

I belive that an artists needs to obtain some self-checks during the concept development process. First is an idea bounce, does it seem congruent? Then time to work the concept, but then later some checks and feedback during the process; am I hitting my mark (intent)? For the concept I am developing is the work consistent with that concept? Sometimes I become too insular and perhaps while working on a project, the work starts to drift and all of sudden I realize that I am not where I thought I wanted to be. BTW, that can also be a good thing, so I don’t discount the muddling process of development, sometimes that can be essential part of the investigation.

And the feedback was very positive, so I am continuing to develop my concept for Flow of Light Brush the Shadow. In fact I am writing this while the printer hummmms in the background for some new prints for this project.

BTW one of the other reasons for attending the LA Art Book Fair (yes, I did bring back to the studio another arm full of photobooks, darn) was discussing with various publishers the projects that they have in progress to determine if there is a fit with my current project. Perhaps, as I realize that the concept of my project is dead-on with what the contemporary publishers are considering, but my photographic process is not.


January 29, 2013

Photographic Abstraction

Filed under: Flow of Light Brush the Shadow, Instant Nomad, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:37 am

06-22-07 RSM_7996 108

Untitled (RSM) copyright 2007 Douglas Stockdale

Okay, I started to write about abstract photography as it might relate to my image above, then I realize that all I was writing was bull dung. So I deleted it. All photographs are abstract. period.

This is an image that I made to investigate memory and probably appears “more” abstract than some of the others, in that it is more challenging for the viewer to read. Now my question is how does it fit within my project “Flow of Light Brush the Shadow”?

Perhaps a little more ambiguous than some of the other photographs for this project but at the early stage of my investigation, I think pushing the boundaries is fine.


January 25, 2013

Allowing a concept to develop

12-03-07 Riverside_2609

untitled (Riverside) copyright 2007  Douglas Stockdale

Always interesting to me as to if you allow an idea or concept to develop, what might become of it. A case in point was the project I was working on in China at the end of 2007 then became a means to a process that I continued to employ elsewhere.

In China, they do not allow non-locals to drive, thus you can not obtain an Avis or Hertz rental, but rely on either a taxi or obtain a car & driver. Maybe obvious, but in China if you are unable to read the Chinese characters (no English alternatives), you will become total lost, like in a New York minute. So I joined a car pool with my client and finally started taking photographs from through the windows at the back of the van. Nice thing about digital, immediate feedback! And although at times the resulting photographs appeared kinda abstract, the results were interesting. So I continued experimenting, adding a 2x and 3x neutral density filter to extend the exposure durations.

I then decided to continue this experimentation on another project that I was working on in the Inland Empire of SoCal, specifically along the I-15 in Riverside and the adjacent small towns.


January 21, 2013

Synthesis – allowing a concept to simmer

Filed under: Flow of Light Brush the Shadow, Photography, Projects/Series — Douglas Stockdale @ 11:27 pm

04-19-07 LianYunGang_2942 10x8

Untitled (LianYunGang) copyright 2007 Douglas Stockdale

I will have to admit; I have been allowing the work that I completed in China a few years ago to simmer for some time. I sometimes take a little longer duration to sort out how I want to present one of my conceptual investigations. Looking at my body of work from this period, it appears a little divergent and at odds, a mashup of sharply focused photographs amongst some very blurry photographs, with an ambiguous undercurrent with all of them. To help sort out my concept, I journey about them here, with the act of writing as part of my process.

As a result, sometimes it all kinda of gels, as this project seems to have this past weekend. Part internalization, part discussion, part observing and then serendipity seems to provide the glue. Not very rational, but I try to remain open to the process.


January 17, 2013

Memories & Dreams – #3079

01-27-08 XiTang_3079

Untitled (XiTang) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

My photographs are my memories. At the time of exposure, this is not what I actually saw but much closer to what I was feeling in the moment. Over time this blurred image has become more closely aligned with my indistinct memory of this time and place.

It appears real to me.


January 16, 2013

Memories & Dreams #1731

01-17-08 PingHu 1731

Untitled (PingHu) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

As a photographer, I sometimes wonder that if in the process of capturing images, I sear these images into my cranium, creating a memory and subsequent dreams?

The photograph above, although I can’t associate it with any specific dream, is an image that I can easily recall. This was a city sculpture that announced that you had arrived at PingHu (China), which was in the late stages of construction. When we earlier drove past this location late in the morning, there would be a fascinating array of workers climbing this structure, reminding me of an image that Hiroshi Watanabe had published in his book “Findings”. Nevertheless, the following morning it was early enough that the workers were not yet crawling on the scaffolds and we passed close enough for me to create this relatively distorted and ambigious composition.

Now I am unsure of which project to associate it with, but I do feel confident that it will find a nice home.


January 15, 2013

Memories & Dreams – #1540

01-14-08 PingHu_1540

Untitled (PingHu) copyright 2008 Douglas Stockdale

An interesting aspect of my dreams, and probably likewise true about my memories, is that these are not entirely rational.


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