Singular Images

November 3, 2013

Winter Field


Winter Field copyright Douglas Stockdale & text copyright Brooks Jensen, publisher of LensWork magazine

Published on the blog LensWork Daily Looking at Images by Brooks Jensen

This image comes from a portfolio that consists of photographs of roadside memorials and crosses, each a marker indicating a sad story. I love the way Stockdale has emphasized the emotion in this image by using so many compositional lines that are tilted. The cross itself is tilted, the shadow of the cross is tilted, there are tilted trees on the left side of the photograph that are leaning into the photograph. On the right hand edge of the photograph there is a vertical tree with a dominant branch that is leaning into the field and into the photograph. The weeds are tilted, the clouds are tilted, everything in this photograph is tilted giving us the emotional clue, the visual clue, of the impact that something is not right. In all of those tilted lines and tilted angles the things tell us that the emotional impact of this photograph is a little bit askew. That is to say, metaphorically speaking, the person whose story is represented by the cross has probably passed away prematurely. This was an accident; this wasn’t supposed to happen; this person is a relatively young person. (We can tell if we look at the details on the cross they were only 44 years old when that  accident took their life.) All of these tilted lines tend to give us that emotional feeling.

Another aspect of this photographic that contributes to that are the animal tracks on the left-hand side of the photograph. I have to admit, I didn’t see those animal tracks at first, and when I mentioned it to Douglas Stockdale in my interview with him he was not particularly conscious of them either. He knew they were there, but the importance of them in the photograph is so subtle. They are the traits of life no longer visible and that is the metaphor of the entire photograph – life no longer visible. And, of course, that same metaphor exists in the stalks of the winter weeds. All of this contributes to reinforcing the feeling that we get from the primary subject in the center of this photograph.

Brooks Jensen

Winter Field was one of the photographs published in LensWork (magazine) issue #74, January – February 2008 as part of my portfolio In Passing. Subsequently In Passing self-published 2008 as hardcover book with Blurb, now out of print.

Continuing to evaluate this photograph in a broader context as a part of my project Lest I Forget


April 23, 2012

Lest I Forget – Mission Viejo

I-5 Mission Viejo, CA photograph 2012 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A continuation of my investigation of memory and its preservation.

March 27, 2012

National Safey Council – my road side memorial photograph

National Safety Council – photograph copyright 2012 Douglas Stockdale

The National Safety Council (USA) has incorporated one of the photographs from my project “Lest I Forget” into a monthly safety campaigns. Editorial freedom; they have grayed down the photograph to keep the emphasis on their text.

March 18, 2012

Lest I Forget – Ferentino Italy

Ferentino, Italy copyright 2012 Douglas Stockdale

The attempt to preserve memories is more prevalent in Italy than I earlier thought. They can be very subtle and difficult to discern, but this one in Ferentino was very obvious.

February 25, 2012

Trubuco Canyon memorial

Trubuco Canyon, CA-241 copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale

Ephemeral: transitory, lasting for only a short period of time and leaving no permanent trace

February 7, 2012

Memories – changing over time

Cheshire England, January 2012 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I continue to be intrigued by the various facets of memory and one that seems the most futile and vexing is the preservation of a memory. Sometimes no matter how hard I attempt to hold on to it, a memory can be elusive and like the fog, slips too easily through my fingers.


January 21, 2012

Duality of Roadside memorials

Filed under: In Passing, Lest I Forget, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 2:37 pm

A2, Colloferro, Italy copyright Douglas Stockdale 2012

Initially I visualized this project in black & white. I have come to understand that this project transcends a greater subject, one that in a way haunts me. Memory and its preservation.

September 7, 2011

In Passing – an Aftermath project

CA-241 Tollroad, Coto de Coza, California Copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale

Some may call it serendipity, while Christians would say that this is the quiet voice of the Lord, but an odd chain of events started this last Saturday when I received a unsolicted photobook, Afterwards, edited by Nathalie Herschdorfer,  for a potential review on my blog The PhotoBook. As I stated in my review, I am not usually as interested in broad surveys that try to capture thematic concepts. But there was something about this particular subject and the photographers who participated that did ensnare my interest.

And I am glad that I did give it some consideration, as the broad range of projects that attempt to redefine the aftermath of a traumatic event, or as stated by Pascal Vrticka “to show human suffering indirectly through images displaying the aftermath of chaos rather than chaos itself“, lines up perfectly with my earlier In Passing project. I will be returning to this book’s essays very soon, probably after the dust settles with the current events of publishing my book Ciociaria.

One concern that I had with my project In Passing was the subjectivity of the photographs when displayed in color, thus I have converted all of the images to black and white, first with a warm hue and most recently to a more documentary straight black and white. Looking at the various projects in Afterwards that are illustrated with color photographs has captured my curiosity, such that I am now creating color JPEGs of all of the photographs of In Passing for further reevaluation (I don’t think Edward Weston could pull that feat off!). I just need more time to complete the color conversions than I have right now.

So more about this re-development later, eh?

Best regards, Doug

June 11, 2011

A day of working on my project In Passing

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:52 pm

Oregon route 30, copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale

This was a mixed day working on my project In Passing; tweaking photographis, printing for my revised book dummy, which I now have all of the photographic prints in the straight black & white mode to start the sequencing and pairing design process.

I have also finished linking up all of my previous posts about In Passing and Bad Trip – Sad Trip (the original project title) on this blog to the In Passing Catagory on the side-bar as well as ensuring that the previous posts had tags assigned.

I have now converted my second edition Blurb version of In Passing to private and it is no longer for sale, thus the Blurb book is now a very slick book dummy. Photographs have the wrong hue, but hopefully it gets the intent across.

I have identified a couple of folks who I think I would like to approach to write an essay for the new book as well as a corporate sponsor to pitch this book to. So I think I need to lock down at least one assay in conjunction with the revised book dummy before I make my corporate funding pitch.

I am pretty sure who I can pitch the book to for publication and I may have the publishing agreement completed by the begining of September. So my intent would be for publication next Spring. hmmmm, might be do-able.

Best regards, Doug

June 10, 2011

Oregon – In Passing

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:13 am

Oregon – In Passing copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale

This past weekend, we made a very long weekend out of it, driving up from Southern California to Portland. Enroute on Interstate-5, I made a mental note of the absence of roadside memorials in California and the plethora of them as we crossed the border into Oregon. Initially I intended to make note of them, but once I start making mental notes, I found myself actively composing and thinking of how the Oregon landscape is different from the previous work and yes, I start making images.

During this project, I have stopped to make detailed compositions and I have also made drive-by photographs, where the blur of the landscape creates images that are more akin to a transitory memory. On this trip, the most abstract image to date (below) is now so abstract that it loses most of the direct meaning, while simultaneously embodying the most interpretative narrative. So this image below has me on the fence. If I had any concerns about the validity of the image, that was dispelled when I returned home to find my copy of Susan Burnstine’s new book “Within Shadows”. The key difference is that Burnstine’s entire book is developed around similar images with the same consistent style, while I have just this one and it appears out of sorts with the others.

But I sense that I am back in the mode of working actively on this project again, so I will see what else develops, as I may end up with a whole collection of similar abstract images. So as a result, I now have added Oregon to the places that I found these memorials and next maybe what I find will on my trip to North Carolina later this month.

Best regards, Doug

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