Singular Images

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!

November 12, 2018

10 years of photo book inspirations

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Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As many of you know, in addition to writing this photo-blog in which I discuss my photographic projects and other odds and ends, I am also the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. I started The PhotoBook Journal (TPBJ) shortly after starting this blog back in 2008 when I noticed that there was an extremely strong response to the book reviews of the photobooks in my personal collection. At that time there was really only one other photobook review site by Jeffery Ladd, which he has since ceased contributing to. So now 10 years have passed and we just passed the 500th photobook review! That’s a big Wowzer!!

Meantime, I have continued to acquire more photobooks in my collection, as well as receive donations (aka submissions) for consideration, photobooks that either I could not afford or not sure I would acquire. I realized that one aspect that I could provide with TPBJ is to review a broad and diverse range of International photobooks to expand the potential creative consideration for artists, photographers and collectors.

In turn this diversity of books has also inspired my photographic and photobook practice. I will also admit that writing the TPBJ has forced me to think a little clearer about the intent of a photographic project. Likewise I think the editorial responsibilities have drastically improve my writing skills; no longer an engineer writing a cut and dried specification or technical report, but now thinking of how to create an informative and inspirational narrative. Wow. I think my high school English teacher would be stunned by the transformation.

Likewise, I have been able to hold some of the most inspirational and brilliantly designed and printed photobooks that have published over the past 10 years. I also think that we have also helped to launch a few photobook artist careers, as the only prerequisite for consideration on TPBJ is a well thought out and executed photobook project. Thus many, many photobooks that personally inspire me for my own book practice; the books in my collection set the bar pretty high as well as provide some very creative alternatives. This led to Ciociaria being published by Edizioni Punctum (still available), and my three self-published limited edition artist books; Pine Lake (sold out), Bluewater Shore (just a few left) and this year, Middle Ground (still available).

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Middle Ground, published 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Which in turn has lead to my photobook design workshops and subsequently to mentoring other artists, photographers, and publishers as to how to move their personal or business practices forward. Such as the photobook by Christine Kaplan, On My Walk, that I provided the book design and editing which she self-published this summer. The workshops and mentoring led to the publication last year of Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book last year & which is still available ($19.95 USD plus postage; message me if you would like a copy of this or the others doug@douglasstockdale.com)

All in all, the last 10 years has been an inspirational and wonderful ride; thanks for supporting me on this interesting artistic journey!

Cheers,

Doug

October 10, 2018

Mystery on Trabuco Flats – modifying the project name

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:40 pm

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Mystery on Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past week I have slightly modified my current project name that I have in progress, from Mystery on the Plano Trabuco to Mystery on Trabuco Flats. Okay, so why?

Primary reason is that for my work of fiction I had been using the name of an actual place, Plano Trabuco; perhaps a road and school, but it’s known as someplace specific.  Not so good for my creative intentions.

So after a little research finding out that the the Spanish word “Plano” translates into the English word “Flat”, then making this plural, I was unable to find any place named Trabuco Flats. In fact I think it would make a nice name for either a bar or an interesting little eatery. hmmm.

So there there you have it. My fictional place for my (almost) fictional project, similar to my previous artist books Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore. nice.

Last weekend I did have a chance to show a few friends at Photo Independent my early stage book dummy for this project and I received some really great responses to both my mysterious images and my book concept. Likewise Chris Davies, the Director of my gallery, Fabrik Projects, came by and was extremely interested in this project and potential book concept. I always like it when folks from a gallery start wanting to know how soon this project will be finished. So overall some nice feedback, which keeps one’s energy up.

As to the image above; this may be a clue or it might be some evidence as to solving the mystery.

Cheers!

September 8, 2018

New project about found shallow grave sites

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OC county park, September 8 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I had stated in my Summer 2018 update earlier this week that I had found what the local OC Sheriff’s office is calling a “shallow grave” that falls under their category of “suspicious circumstances”. Although I am not a photo-journalist, I have now decided that perhaps this site and surrounding area might be a potential project, perhaps taking an inspiration cue from the artist books created by the Russian artist Julia Borissova, such her book Dimitry.

Thus the start of a new project, with the working title Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. So more about this project and potential artist book shortly. Meanwhile, some new events have changed things a bit about this site.

So yesterday I checked with the OC Sheriff’s office and found out that they were not going to investigate what I had found any further. Being the curious type, I went back to this shallow grave this morning to see what might be have occurred there. Hmmmm. No digging or other others probing of this site. So while there, I might take a few more photographs for my new project.

So while walking around to create a large environmental context for this site, I found a SECOND site of what appears just like the first; another old, collapsed shallow grave. YIKES!!

I could not believe its. Another one! Looking like I was going to be making another call to the OC Sheriff. Then I stated thinking, if two, maybe more?? So I started a very wide criss-cross walking pattern over this field. With the early morning light and the long shadows, I discovered another FOUR. WTF! Now SIX of these.

Diffidently need to call the OC Sheriff’s again. Wow, wow, wow.

So I made another call to the OC Sheriff and they wanted to see these additional sites, so another walk in the field to show the officers what I had found. They really only wanted to see two more to confirm there are multiple sites in this field. They also shared that they have already had the cadaver dogs run this field and did not get any “hits”. So appears that this is curious, but that the OC Sheriff’s are probably not going to do anything further, even with the fact there are six of these suspicious old collapsed shallow gave sites. Btw, what I also realized after the fact; the third of these sites I showed the officers was NOT one I found earlier today, so that takes it up to SEVEN of these sites in this field. Wow! And the Sheriff’s office does not appear that they are going to do anything further. hmmmmm.

Okay, that really confirms for me that there is a Mystery on the Plano Trabuco!

March 9, 2018

Mentor-ship opportunities thru LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:17 pm

02-28-18 Stockdale during Photo Book Presentation for PADA by Karen Schuenemann

Douglas Stockdale, Palos Verdes Art Center, 2018, photograph by Karen Schuenemann

I am very honored and excited to announce that I am part of the inaugural LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) Mentor-ship program that was just formally launched by this LA organization. This builds on my recent LACP experience as a workshop leader for my Introduction to Photo Book Design (next workshop is two weekends next Oct), Portfolio Reviewer, mini-program presenter and discussion panel leader.

LACP is proud to announce our new Mentorship Program. We have hand-selected Master Photographers and Photography Professionals for this program who have the skills to guide you on your particular photographic journey. Through one-on-one meetings over the course of a year or six months, you can develop skills, complete a project, hone a portfolio or book or learn marketing strategies to ultimately pursue your photographic dreams.

This is a an opportunity to work directly with me over the span of up to a year on the development of a photographic project(s) including concept, editing, sequencing, layout and design which is equally applicable towards an effective project, portfolio or a published book.

I am joining a wonderfully diverse mentoring team associated with LACP, including Elizabeth Avedon (NYC), Susan Burnstine, Julia Dean, Crista Dix, Greg Gorman, Aline Smithson, Sara Terry and many more. As might be expected, my expertise is with photographic projects that may eventually lead to developing a photographic book.

As stated by LACP; “Whether you have an idea for a project, a project that is just getting started, or one that is complete, but needs a little help getting it out in the world, our Mentors are there to assist you and to help you realize your goals. The right Mentor can help you get your endeavor off the ground and on it’s way.” amen.

There are provisions for those local to LA and from afar to take advantage of this mentor-ship opportunity thru LACP. As might also be expected the pricing of this program is a bit more attractive to become a member of LACP. Full details of the LACP mentor-ship program are available here.

So if you are intrigued in the possibilities of how I might help you with your photographic project or career; check it out,  or if you want to know more, drop me a line (doug@douglasstockdale.com).

Cheers!

November 7, 2017

7 Day Black & White Challenge

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 3:04 pm

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Compass 2017 copy right Douglass Stockdale

A few days ago I was tagged for the 7 Day Black & White Challenge; Seven days. Black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Nominate someone.
I was nominated by Kellie Webb and over the seven days I am to nominate someone else to pass this along.

Since no explanation is required, then not much that I need to say. I sure have enough Black & White photographs to chose from, but I did see that this was an opportunity to experiment and work on something new (to me). So I investigated a couple of personal items to see what I might do with them that could be metaphoric, i.e. the use of the small compass above. Perhaps a little inspired by the arrival of Cig Harvey’s photobook “you an ORCHESTRA you a BOMB” for review, where she frequently isolates and zeros in on some personal objects. I also think of Keith Carter’s photographs, which he investigates similar ideas in Black & White, while Harvey utilizes Color photographs for her investigations.

A kind of fun little exercise and other than the photo of Cooper, bottom that was captured on Halloween, these were all made on the same day. Here are the remainder of my 7 day postings:

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September 14, 2017

Commission Book dummy phase 2

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 11:45 pm

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Commission book dummy, saddle stitch 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For those who have been following me on the development of this book commission, it has been a crazy week. I am now back to developing the book dummy. Last Friday I mocked-up a potential book dummy to the proper book trim size using some stationary that I had cut to size which I was holding together with some large paper clips.

Over the weekend I was able to order some some semi-gloss printing paper (80# White Recycled Velvet), cut to the book’s trim size (still 9-3/4″ x 7″H) bound with a basic saddle stitch to hold it together. I also had a similar printing paper, but using the cover stock version (slightly thicker) to simulate the potentials book’s stiff-cover.

As a straw-man for the book’s interior, I had it constructed from 10 sheets to provide 40 pages (4 pages per each sheet) plus covers. Since I have a long-reach stapler, I can add or subtract pages from the dummy as I progress.

I already realize that I will need pagination, so I penned the page numbers onto each page. I am also thinking that I will mix the printing papers for this and use both a glossy and a luster paper stock for the photography and probably this 80# recycled Velvet for much of the text, so I have started adding sticky notes as to where the different papers will be used.

The form of this book is starting to quickly take shape and line-up a little closer to my pre-visualization of this book.

Concurrently, I am writing like a wild man the text for this book. Pretty sure you do not want to see a photograph of my keyboard!

Cheers!

Doug

September 13, 2017

Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop – class work-book edits

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Introduction to Photo Book Design, self-published 2017, Douglas Stockdale

In preparation for the next two-day workshop  Introduction to Photo Book Design that I will be leading for LACP, I am in the process of making the edits to my first self-published work-book that I use for this workshop. This will soon become the Second Edition of this work-book, while the First Edition is now in the hands of the hands of the first workshop participants from earlier this year.

As in past workshops I lead not only do those attending learn something as I do as well as what is working and what is not for the group. There are a lot of changes to consider as the whole book publishing market and process is constantly evolving. That in conjunction with the feedback I received on the workshop expectations. Thus as my workshop needs updating and it’s necessary to make some tweaks in my course outline work-book.

My process for making changes is to use sticky-notes as to what I need to edit as illustrated above. This may appear like a massive change, but it is essentially tweaking some fine points. Expand that, deleted this, modify how I discuss this aspect and add this into the mix.

The work-book will be assembled and bound on the beginning of the first day of the workshop by those attending to help illustrate how easy it can be to self-publish a book. There is no question that photobooks can become very complex works of art as a book-object, but the underlying concept is pretty straight forward. Part of how I try to create some fun into this intense and practical workshop.

So come join me!

The workshop is being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions

Cheers,

Doug

P.S. Other self-serving stuff that I need to keep repeating: I still have a few copies of the Bluewater Shore edition that are available (and another book review for Bluewater Shore that will be posted soon). So email me (doug@douglasstockdale.com) if you are interested in more information. Note Pine Lake is no longer available.

September 5, 2017

10 years of photo-blogging

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:49 am

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Frosty Morning, LaHutte, Switzerland, copyright 2005-2017 Douglas Stockdale

Okay, it’s actually been a little over ten years ago that I started photo-blogging, which was in April 2007, with this being my first post. I thought it might be charming to revisit the same Swiss winter landscape, this time in color. More about this photo in just a moment.

First, a big thank you! for those who have followed me and my photographic posts over the many years.

Since this was Labor day, I thought it would be a great occasion to update this blog. While making the changes I noticed the side panel and that I had started photo-blogging over 10 years ago. Opps! A bit late in this important shout-out, but photo-blogging is not what it once was. As is Facebook, Instagram and a few other versions of social media deemed important to an artist career.

So some quick stats; in the past 10 years I have made over 1,000 posts (actually 1,080) and this blog has been viewed over 130,500 times. In comparison my book review blog, The PhotoBook Journal, has over a million views which is just approaching 10 years.

I will admit that a few years back in 2013 I came to closing down this site and during that time I was not adding many posts, but nevertheless I stayed the course. I suspect that I will continue to post on this blog as it is a defacto web site that probably gets seen as often than my web site. It is also interesting how some really old posts and related photographs from Singular Images still comes up in a lot of Google searches.

Frosty Morning was photographed early in my digital conversion period as I was still hauling around my Hasselblad film equipment, nevertheless I was at that time start to poke digital capture and explore it’s possibilities. The camera I used for this photograph was a 4 Mpeg Canon G2, a nice little rangefinder that I affectionately called my faux-Leica. I believe that I also had a twins-lens 6×6″ with me on this trip as well with 120 color film and in looking back, the photographs I enjoyed all came from the little Canon G2. Where the G2 was suppose to be the back-up, it quickly became the primary.

I had been using Photoshop since 1991 when it first came out and another couple of other digital photographic software programs before that. So I was not a stranger to digital. At the time of this photograph (2005) I was more interested in the software and digital printing capabilities and only starting to determine if digital (camera) capture might be a worthwhile alternative to analog film.

The occasion for this photograph was during an assignment that I was working at a site bit further up this Swiss valley in La Chaux-de-Fonds. I would fly into Zurich, catch the express train to Biel and then switch to the local red train to La Chaux-de-Fonds which would slowly meander through the valley and stop at every small station in between. You could jump off the train at one of these small villages, walk about and then catch the next train heading the same way one hour later. This is the photograph I made on one of these stops in the winter of 2005. I still enjoy this photograph for the quite winter composition as well as the memories it brings back.

Cheers!

 

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