Singular Images

February 27, 2019

Middle Ground – San Diego site morphing


I-5 Southbound, San Diego, February 2019 copyright 2019 Douglas Stockdale

First, this is not meant to be an inspiring photograph as it’s a cell phone drive-by grab shot. Essentially a quick visual note about the evolving demolition of the I-5 middle plant divider as this freeway winds down along the Pacific Ocean coast in San Diego county.

The backstory is that this interesting freeway divider provided an unwilling subject for my artist project Middle Ground that led to my artist book of the same name. It is a wall of a different name located near the San Diego-Mexican border. My project’s intent was to look at this particular urban landscape to investigate a darker metaphoric (and political) condition. Somebody’s medieval bigly wall.

In probably six months all remnants of this vegetative, some places stunningly beautiful, plant barrier will be reduced to  bare dirt and then a series of concrete barriers will rise in its place. The character of this unique urban San Diego landscape will soon morph in to a boring sameness that extends perhaps the entire length of the I-5 freeway, from the Canadian border to Mexico.

I had not driven down this section of the I-5 into San Diego for probably five months, maybe more, so I was taken back yesterday with the new K-rails adjacent to the road way edge and the long patches of the endless string of bushes being hacked down. Maybe even shocked. The use of a decorative plant barrier to create a visual separation along this section of the I-5 freeway goes back to as far as I can remember.

Which also means that my Middle Ground project will become in short order a historical documentary of what once was in San Diego. I am pretty certain that no one else has photographed this middle section of the I-5 as it meanders through this norther section of San Diego county with as much diligence. Which was not my intent as I was unaware of these pending landscape changes to help widen the freeway to improve traffic conditions.

Change. In this case, a visually ugly change.

Best regards, Doug

Note; opps, published this without resizing the image; so a do-over for the photo above.


May 10, 2018

Artist book making: now fully engaged!


Books in Boxes, Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra 2018 Douglas Stockdale

After meeting with the Dual Graphs pre-press team to provide the final tweaks and approval of the art work, the job went to the press. I also did a quick assembly of the hard copy prints to create a trial book dummy just to really, really sure that everything was going to plan.

Well my book not only has gone to press, I also picked up the various boxes of sheets and covers to start my self-publishing book production! Earlier this week I drove up to Dual Graphics in Brea to pick up my printed book parts that I would be using to hand make my limited edition artist book Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra. I was taken back a bit when the guy at will-call pointed at a pallet of boxes and stated that it was my print job. Fortunately it was a small pallet and I was able to load all of the boxes into my SUV.

I then laid out the 11 boxes of the leporello book parts along with two versions of the cover in sequence in the garage. wow.  Then after a quick inspection of the printed sheets, I brought these into the house and set up my book “production line” in the dining and living room. With a book interior that stretches out over 21 feet, I needed all of that space for this book binding effort.

It is taking a little while to hand glue each of the leporello connections for each book. So this might turn out to be my month of May project. Yesterday, I took two of the first books up to Fabrik Projects in order that they have a finished book to show and take orders, if not sell these. I am working on the next batch for the artist opening on Saturday evening and then start filling the book orders.

Yes, the book is still available and if you are interested, I will still cover the US shipping cost and part of the International shipping cost. So here (again) are the artist book publication details:

Self-published, publication date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello book design

Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text

Text: English and Spanish

Retail price: $59.50 USD

So ping me if you are interested in a copy of this edition!


March 28, 2018

En Medio Tierra – Middle Ground

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 10:03 pm


Middle Ground, book dummy 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

When I was re-examining my Middle Ground project in the context of how symbolic the subject was to the issues facing the DREAMers, I realized that another way to underscore this concept was to have the book’s text in both English and Spanish.

A gringo process to complete the translations is to go to Google translate, but I understood that this process could only provide a starting approximation. Thus I leaned into my cousin Ashley and her husband Ralph Hernandez to help me get the Spanish (Espanol) translation correct, or as they say, what sounds right to the Spanish ear.

For the most part I did not want a literal translation of my English words, especially the book’s title, but I still needed something accurate for the book’s Colophon/Colofon.

Thus we played with some various alternatives and synonyms for the book title as to what might be related to both the words Middle and Ground would work with my concept. So after some back and forth, we settled on En Medio Tierra as “in (between) the middle ground (earth)”. Ralph, who will be the Text Editor for my edition, had the final say and now we were good to go for the book’s title!



PS Let me know if you want to be placed on my growing interest list ( for Middle Ground. More news about the final price and fund raising campaign shortly!

February 28, 2018

Middle Ground – Book Dummy #2 at scale

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 4:00 pm


Middle Ground, Book Dummy #2, top view 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this month I had discussed my first book dummy (proof of concept) that I had developed for the Middle Ground project to explore the idea of using a leporello (accordion) book design.

My next step was to create a book dummy (#2) that has the page count and interior photographs would be at the approximated final (trim) size of what I had envisioned. This should be very similar to the reader’s experience and I really wanted to visually how the 12″ wide page images would look. To simulate the final book with this book dummy, I took a page from my book design workshop and placed my photographs inside a similar size and designed book. In this case the backbone for my book dummy was the leporello book by Robert Lyons, Pictures from the Next Day, published by Zatara Press, which I had reviewed earlier here.

The Lyons book is slightly larger than the trim size I had envisioned, but using this book as my back-bone allowed me to experiment with another design element for this book; did I want small white margins around each image or did I want to have the image printed full bleed without white margins? For the later, I did make another book dummy (#3) with full bleed images for comparison. The white margin is a design issue related to aesthetics, practicality and consistency for my concept.

I think practicality is going to drive this decision as a full bleed means that when each page is printed, a very slight portion of the image is trimmed away. So would any of the images suffer as a result of this? Regretfully I do have one important image in which part of the subject just barely touches the top of the image frame. Any trimming of this image during the book production I feel is going to have an adverse visual effect on this photograph.

All in all, I really enjoy the large images that result with this book dummy. The question may come down to the resulting cost of this book. I am in the process of obtaining some printing and bindery quotes to potentially self-publish this book as soon as possible.

I posted a poll over the weekend as to the question of which of the conceptual subjects for two different projects is more of concern and it appears that finishing this project first is not an issue. Also as anticipated for the daily unexpectable with our White House, da’ wall was a news item again over the weekend. So I will keep moving ahead!

Let me know if you want to be placed on the interest list ( for Middle Ground and if you can help me network for potential exhibitions, I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part to be repeated very often!)

In the image below, after adding the photographs to the Lyons book, I also started adding some post-it notes about the design and layout options. Btw, the ensuing thickness of all of the leporello pages with my images clipped in created such a bulky mess that I can not close the book cover on this dummy. Increased my sensitivity for the thickness of the book cover’s spine needless to say.



February 25, 2018

Investigate the waste Billions or potential (Nuclear) War?

San Diego Point of Entry

San Diego Port of Entry (Middle Ground) 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While thinking that since I have essentially completed my political satire about the #stablegenius‘s “da wall” and ready to get ‘er launched as I posted earlier this week, I find my self distracted by another of the #stablegenius attempts to divert everyone’s attention away from the Russian probe into his shady business and political practices. Regretfully each day brings on a new emerging crisis with our #stablegenius in the WH. The current senseless economic baiting of another #stablegenius whose poverty nation also has nuclear arms and who has a long term irrational resentment towards the United States?

So I need to reconsider; do I need to launch my Middle Ground project about the pending waste of billions of dollars to build a senseless wall in the middle of the desert miles and miles away from any habitation OR instead refocus on finishing my anti-war project Gardening for Ordnance?

I fully understand that either of these photographic projects may not have any effect on a real #stablegenius, but either might have an effect on those spineless enablers who continue to allow all of the senseless crap to happen. Or at least in my wildest hopes. What the heck, if a bunch of emotionally impacted high school kids in Florida can start a real anti-NRA movement, it provides much needed hope that anything can happen!

So what do you think?

Finish my political/social satire (Middle Ground) that might stop spending billions on a senseless wall?

Or shift priories and immediately attempt to finish an anti-war satire (Gardening for Ordnance) that hints at the dire consequences of war?

Thank you.

February 19, 2018

2018 President’s Day reflection

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 5:39 pm


Middle Ground, Book Dummy two, February 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

while on our ski vacation last week and the drive back over the past two days (yep, road trip from Southern California to Colorado and back again), I had a great opportunity to think about my various photographic projects, especially the current photobook that I have in development: Middle Ground.

Perhaps relevant that today I find myself working on a artist project that is essentially a political satire of the current person who is in America’s highest office and who will probably go down in American history as the greatest political mistake we have ever made. Meanwhile today is a good opportunity to celebrate at least 44 of the American Presidents, especially what a great and real American President we had with our 44th.

They say that at social events there are two taboo subjects are religion and politics, but I believe that if you don’t talk about our political problems that we will find your self heading down the same terrible path as Germany did in the late 1930’s with the Nazi’s. We made a terrible mistake in the US during the last election so time to work on making a much needed course correction in our 2018 mid-term elections later this year.

There is much to work on but for my part I am attempting to point out the political folly of spending billions of dollars on a wall between the US and Mexico. Funding for a stupid campaign pledge while attempting to destroy funding for the arts, Medicare, Medical, Social Security, environment protection and much needed medical services for those who are in need is really, really sad.

I have been in contact with a number of independent photobook publishers to see if they have the bandwidth to take on this book project and the response from one was interesting in that they called Middle Ground a “political protest book”. This is an interesting take on my project as I have been thinking it is a political satire and had not considered it as an artistic protest, a bit more of an activist word. So perhaps Middle Ground is about political protest which in turn does expand the conceptual scope a little more for me.

Photograph of the book dummy #2 (book dummy at scale) above is the top view of my proposed leporello book design. Regretfully for the first quote from a book printer & bindery the costs appear to be very high for this design (production cost  the same as the anticipated selling price is not a good combination). So I will be reaching out to a few more folks over the week for additional production quotes as well as working on some other Leporello design options to get the production costs more in line with what I need.

If you are interested in Middle Ground, drop me a line ( to be put on my waiting list; the more books that I can sell, the larger the book’s production run and the better my cost per book pricing will be!

Thanks in advance to all of those who want to help me get this book out there and stop the chaos and folly.


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