Singular Images

February 14, 2019

Memory Pods featured today on VoyageLA.com

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 8:40 pm

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Untitled (Memory Pods) 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored that VoyageLA.com, a local Southern on-line magazine that features LA’s Most Inspiring Stories, posted a shout-out about my recent Instagram post for my Memory Pods project. I was featured in the section for An Artistic Voyage (Exploring Local Creative and Artist Works); as now Trending (it’s at the end of the list). Very cool!

Join me on Instagram and follow along @douglasstockdale.com

The featured image, above, investigates the end of the aging process. The memory pods are gone. There is a mess of tangles, a trait usually associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Darkness is closing in and symbolically the memories for the individual appear lost. As a result, these individuals are lost to us even though their outer physical form may not appear that different. This is similar to Ghosts, which I had discussed earlier.

I appreciate the growing interest in this project.

Cheers!

Doug

January 31, 2019

Ghost

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:41 pm

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Ghost (Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Part of resuming my work on my Memory Pods project has been to re-examine some of the earlier photographs. Case in point is this photograph that I had titled Ghost. In the context of the larger body of work for my investigation, this somewhat abstract photograph is a portrait of the plant without any of the seed (memory) pods at the very end of its’ flowering cycle.

The image of Ghost could represent a person in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; all of their memories have faded and deteriorated until the person is left with none of these essential elements. The person has not passed away, they are still present, living, breathing, eating but they cannot provide any meaningful interaction as to who they are or were. They do not know their family; either their children or spouse or any of their close friends. They do not know where they are and do not know to ask as to what is going on. They just are; essentially a living ghost of their past selves. Thus we are left with some very shallow points of contact with this person; the very tip of the memory iceberg while all the remainder of the memory has all but faded away into a gray fog of nothingness.

When talking with someone who has a near dementia type experience such as a traumatic brain injury, (i.e. TBI, also known as a concussion) they can recall some of the recent fuzziness in their memory; coming up with blanks when trying to explain something. Unable to find the words. Nothing coming to mind, just a puzzling blank.

The version of Ghost below is probably closer to the narrative of their TBI experience, while for me, the image above is more in line with a portrait of the person who is in the dark chaos of dementia. Below is the original version that I created in 2014 that I still think is a great image.

Cheers,

Doug

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January 25, 2019

Winter on Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:48 pm

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Trabuco Flats, January, 2019 copyright Douglas Stockdale

An unanticipated visual change to Trabuco Flats that I have recently notices are the winter conditions. In southern California during the winter months we gave brief amounts of rain. Which in turn creates a new look to the otherwise monotone brown landscape; green grass! (yes, we do not usually get snow, which would be another alternative look)

This verdant color also creates a visual change to the Trabuco Flats landscape; rather than an overall flat brown color that visually has little depth, such as in this earlier post; things such as slight land depressions that might indicate a sunken shallow grave become much more visually apparent. Not that this is an old sunken shallow grave. Or at least the OC Sheriff’s office does not think so after checking it out.

This photograph is a quick study (i.e. mobile phone) that confirms that I need to quickly return while these conditions exist and work on the Trabuco Flats project again. Regretfully the one piece of equipment I felt that I needed for this project is a 50mm f/4 Distagon lens for my Hasselblad, which I had not budgeted until later this spring or summer. I am of the option that in order to obtain the picitorial framing I feel I need that this is the lens that would provide this viewpoint. So in the meantime I will shoot a roll of film with my 80mm f/2.8 lens with the Hassy to see if I can approximate this relatively wide angle view that I obtained with the Samsung S5.

The second aspect of this photograph that has me thinking is whether this image needs to be re-worked to make it appear more mysterious or does this straight (un-manipulated) photographic version work equally as well? The issue for me is that this summer I was really having difficulty with the visually flat monotone landscape images, thus leaning into other photographic processes to visually create what I was trying to convey. I think that this straight photograph looks pretty mysterious with the black rectangular hole looming in the foreground.

Fun stuff!

Cheers!

January 7, 2019

Memory Pod exhibit sold-out; great start for 2018

Filed under: Art, Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:00 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

A little more validation that my Memory Pods project is the one that I need to focus on in 2019; earlier this week when I went to my L.A. gallery (Fabrik Projects) to pick up the remaining photograph from the Holiday exhibit I was told that the last photograph had been sold earlier in the day. Wow! Apparently someone arrived while the exhibit was being taken down and they still wanted to walk the remaining exhibition. They were smitten by and purchased my last remaining photograph. Very, very nice.

My first ever sold-out exhibition!

This is a very great way to start the year and a strong validation of the Memory Pods project. As I posted earlier, I will continue to further develop this project in 2019. Appears that the gallery director really liked this body of work and perhaps I my have another solo exhibition in the works.

Over the holidays I had started to re-examine this project, such as the redevelopment of the currently untitled image in this post, above. I had photographed this still life composition in 2015 and the image had continued to hold my interest. Until recently I was unsure of how I wanted the final image to appear. Over the recent holidays I started to work on it again trying to place further emphasize on the fading and decomposing qualities of memories (memory pods) as an abstract process. I think that this is a stronger version of this photograph and more in line with my pre-visialization.

I also added a black edge border to the photograph as part of defining the limits of the image as one might think of a using a matte to outline a framed photograph. Another visual aspect to consider (yes, I also have a version of this that does not have the black border). So far, so good.

Cheers,

Doug

January 1, 2019

Holiday working on my website – Middle Ground

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Alternative Crossing (Middle Ground) copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This Holiday weekend I found myself working on an unexpected task; while making my end of the year posts, I wanted to link-up my various projects on my web-site. Except when I went to link up my recent artist-book project Middle Ground, this project was not on my web-site. What!!. Then it dawned on me, I was wondering what was missing when I made the recent SquareSpace transfer for my web site’s back-bone; now I know; I had not included the transfer of Middle Ground project.

I guess what I might call a Freudian-slip; spending so much time with this project recently I must have been on a bit of over-load and forgot it, OR a bit disappointed with how this book and project did not resonate as a social protest project against the Trumpian-fourth-century-barrier along the US-Mexico border (yes, think how effective the Great Wall of China was for the Chinese. Hint: it wasn’t).

So the fix is in and I now have the Middle Ground project up on my web-site; here. This will of course help a tad bit with some of my gallery and exhibition submissions that I am planning for this year ;- )

Cheers & Happy New Year!

Doug

October 27, 2018

The path to Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:03 am

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Untitled, Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Although I am spending more time with working on “straight” photographs for my Trabuco Flats project I continue to experimental/play with some of the images. Not entirely giving up on how I might incorporate some of these abstract images into this project, but exactly how I do it is not something that I need to decide today.

The earlier feedback I received about these images related to a more purist issue with the non-traditional sky, something pretty evident in the photograph of this post. My take is rather than consider this landscape image from an emotional viewpoint, that all of the various marks and lines in the sky as representing angst and discord, the viewers were reacting from a traditional viewpoint that this did not look like a classic landscape. I will admit that this landscape image is non-traditional.

Thus as an experiment, I made some modification to the landscape that I subsequently published a few days ago, here. I modified the sky by cleaning up some of the radical marks and lines, still an overall abstract landscape, perhaps with what one would call the sky’s tonality was more homogenized and perhaps leaning into appealing like something more traditional.

All of the feedback is fine and interesting to consider. Nevertheless, what do I think of these potential changes to my images? As an artist I am creating somewhat radical landscape photographs that does not meet the norms. So the question is; do the changes being suggested improve my photographs or do the changes being suggested attempt to make my photographs conform to their expectations of what is acceptable?

I suspect that part of this conservative image advice is due to my audience; they do not experiment with images that often and for the most part chase the modernist landscapes imagery of Ansel Adams. I have shown some of this work to a group of abstract painters/artist, and they encouraged me to push the effects I am using even further. Such as bury the photographs I made for a couple of weeks out in the field and see what results.

And yes, I am also sensitive and aware of the comments that I need to be sure that I am not leaning on some image app trickery as a crutch to making “good” images.

So more experimentation as I play with my options.

Cheers!

October 25, 2018

Trabuco Flats – noir landscape – take two

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Untitled, Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While working on my project Trabuco Flats, I have been doing a lot of experimenting with how I process the image. Such as this landscape photograph above, I posted an earlier color version that I had really tweaked the contents. In my last post on this project, I had also posted a black & white photograph that I had really played around with in an attempt to push the boundaries of what might be possible while still keeping within the scope of this project as I had conceptualized.

The underlying reason for this prior experimental/play series of images was a take on the idea that a mysterious narrative might work best with mysterious photographs. And I could modify the crap out of the image to make these appear really, really strange. All the while I did realize that even straight photographs, such as this one, could have some surreal qualities without any visual manipulations.

So it feels to me that I have successfully pushed my aesthetic boundaries for this project and perhaps time to pull back. Not that I could push the boundaries even farther, as I have just began to experiment with these photographs if you look at some of the wild artist projects of others such as incorporating multiple images, collage, painting the image, sanding the surface to name but a few. One could really, really destroy the basic concepts of what constitues a photograph.

To question what is a photograph is really not my goal for this project. I am interested in creating a mysterious narrative and just coming around to accepting the fact that I do not need to add anything to a photograph to make it more mysterious and surreal than it already is. That said, one aspect I think I still need to evaluate is whether the narrative works better with black & white images or color images, or maybe even a mash-up of the two.

As to this image; it is a landscape, inclusive of a dirt road that meanders up a small hill, with what appears as some structures hiding at the edges, while being ambiguous as to where it located exactly, (urban or rural, southwest America or midwest America) why is it there (what purpose does it serve) and who might use it? Are the long shadows foretelling of something ominous as these slightly overlap this road? Thus I think that this photograph, as it is, could create a slight sense of mystery. nice.

Fun stuff!

Cheers

 

October 22, 2018

Trabuco Flats – mystery noir?

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Mysterious Circumstance site 9, Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Another aspect of experimental/play with my Trabuco Flats project is creating a pure black and white version, that would of course be my noir (dark) version. Why not? Or maybe a slight color tint to a black & white?

So this long weekend while attending the John Divola presentation at the Medium Festival in San Diego, in between events I was experimenting with a black & white conversion of some of my earlier images. I am not sure how, or even IF, these black & white images will work within this project, but one of the fun aspects of my development process is to allow myself to play with these images.

There is no getting around that these are darker images, both literally and symbolically. Perhaps a bit moodier than my color versions while not any less surreal. I will admit that I have really been fighting with myself in going full black and white on this project, as I was fully expecting to stay in a full color mode. Even as I write this, I have another idea to try out, above, so it should be interesting to see what results as I further play around.

I just need to be careful that I don’t spend so much time playing around that I don’t actually complete this project. One aspect that should get me back on track is having my medium size printer working again. As I mentioned earlier, I had not realized how important a really good printer is to me and my artistic process. I also have a lead on a slightly newer version of this Epson printer, so that might be a slight change over the next month or so.

Meanwhile I want to develop and print a small portfolio of five of these black & white images at 16 x 20″ to evaluate. Then probably set these prints aside to study while working on other aspects of this project.

A new wrinkle is that I have started writing an outline (storyboard) to create a short story about this project. Sort of a concurrent process and maybe my finial visual project will be determined by my written narrative (or my narrative will follow my visual version). Interesting that I needed to quickly sketch out the entire storyboard in oder to figure out how to flesh out the details of my narrative, another kind of pre-visualization; where was my story line going??

Cheers!

Note: I updated this cover image later in the day for two reasons; first, somehow I screwed up saving the initial image and I was unable to rescue it, so I had to start over from scratch. Second, I was then able to incorporate my idea to include the original color image as a base image to create a slight color tint to the black & white image. I think it’s pretty subtle, so I need to study this effect for a little bit. Perhaps a bit of the best of both worlds.

October 19, 2018

More feedback on Trabuco Flats project

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:49 pm

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Landscape study, Trabuco Flats, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Last night I received a little more feedback that was a bit varied from my earlier showing, also a slight change in the participants. Since my printer was down due to a lack of ink, the only image I had for discussion was the Trabuco Flats landscape that I posted earlier this week. Lot more of a mixed reaction, nevertheless positive and supportive of my project intent.

Going into these print reviews I already know that my Trabuco Flats landscape images are way, way outside the norm of most of these modern rural landscape photographers. Nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to obtain a sense as to how these images read. There are also a few who do experiment with their image content.

I have modified this image above slightly to see how it might look taking some of their comments into consideration. I think that they would prefer a very straight image, but at the moment, I am still into my experiment/play mode for this project.

I also understand that modifying the images as I have is also outside most of the greater photographic “norm”. So always a risk that that these will not be well accepted, but at this point, I still want to investigate these images in the spirit of experimental/play.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers,

Doug

October 18, 2018

Evidence tape at Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:39 pm

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study, Mystery on Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the aspects of this Mystery that I am exploring are the various alternatives to utilize in how I narrate this story. In one respect, this photograph is also a mash-up of the real and my imagination that results in something that might described as surreal.

The image above is a case in point; I had been contemplating the use of some “crime” tape in conjunction with some of the suspicious circumstances I had found earlier. I did one set of visual studies using a measuring tape to simulate the collection of evidence, but those images are still in evaluation.

Meanwhile during one of my daily walks I came across a small construction site that somebody had used some Caution tape to mark off part of the area. In the process they had utilized one of the adjacent trees as part of their boundary. The randomness of how it was wrapped around the tree appeared to resemble something abstract. One aspect that appealed to me is that it did not look as though I needed to make any modifications to the way the tape was used or how it was lying on the tree. Nice! Initially when I saw this arrangement the sky was still overcast, but on the return trip there was some breaking light that provided an interesting highlights within the composition, which is the image above. Extra Nice!

I quickly made a series of photographs intending to immediately come back with another camera to take advantage of this man-made urban still-life, but life intervened. It was a couple of days before I could return. The site was similar in appearance but not quite the same. Nevertheless, I could now visualize how this element might be something I include in my investigation.

When the new ink arrives for my printer next Monday, this will one of the images I want to print at 16 x 20″ to see how it holds up. This appears that it has some interesting potential. Meanwhile, I will be looking for a roll of yellow tape and it might be interesting to see what’s available on the web.

Cheers!

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