Gardening (Gardening For Ordnance) sometime in 2013, Douglas Stockdale
One of the interesting outcomes of preparing to make my recent Gardening For Ordnance publication submission is that I am gaining better clarity on the pre-visualization of the pending book (yes, there is always another book in my future).
It also became apparent that I have a bunch more color film negatives to scan (and maybe a few more images to photograph). One issue with external hard drive storage is when either the hard drive malfunctions or it is no longer compatible with the current computer. One really nice thing about film negatives; these are physically tangible items that are not impacted by shifting whims of technology. Such that I know that I had scanned some negatives back in 2008 and I am unable to find the digital files (some of which I know are “lost” on a malfunctioning external hard drive), but nevertheless I still have the negatives. Although it will be a pain to scan these negatives again the photographs are not lost on some fouled-up hard drive. Maybe another good reason to use film, eh?
I made the recent submission with twenty photographs and now I that am focusing on the potential book I realize that I will need at least another twenty more scans to complete. At a minimum. I have created a new project page on my website for Gardening For Ordnance with the twenty photographs that are in the relative order of my developing book dummy. So I invite you to check that out.
Although the photographs have titles, not evident on the website are the related captions that I think really tie this project together. I have collecting a bunch of documents over the years that relate to the decommissioned World War II bombing range I live on. Thus I am working on the pairing of the photographs with a some-what related caption. For the photograph above I have a straw-man for the corresponding caption:
While numerous quantities of Ordnance and Explosive Waste (OEW) have been recovered over the years, there have been no reports of injuries or death. – Ordnance and Explosive Waste Archive Search Report for Plano Trabuco Target Area, October 1993, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
I belive the juxtaposition of the photograph with the caption creates the ensuing narrative that I envision. (How nice; no reports of injuries or death). Individually the caption and photography is probably insufficient, but collectively when all of the photographs and captions are experienced I think the underlying concept for this project will become evident. I hope!
Thus the editing of the next set of negatives to be scanned will be completed in conjunction with finding a corresponding potential caption. Of course one design alternative is to have multiple photographs per caption, but at this stage, the more captions, the merrier. For me, perhaps a bit of overkill with one caption per photograph. It will be easier for me to back-off on the captions as the book design progresses as I continue to build the book dummy for this project.
This project seems to be really coming together (finally).
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.
Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale
I am very honored that my limited edition artist book Bluewater Shore was just selected by Elizabeth Avedon, the renown NYC book designer, as one of her Best Photographic Books for 2017. Concurrently, I am really excited that Bluewater Shore is also included on Viory Schelleken’s Mega-List of Best Photo Books for 2017. Wow!
A very, very nice way to end the year and a beautiful start the New Year.
As a result, since I still have a few copies of the Bluewater Edition available, I am going to offer free shipping for the next two weeks. Contact me for details; email@example.com
btw, I need to update the links for this blog, but we have family visiting, thus I will work on this another day ;- )
Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book (at Arcana), copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
Yesterday I had an opportunity to meet with Lee Kaplan at his bookstore, Arcana: Books on the Arts, which is located in Culver City (CA) and present my three books; Bluewater Shore, Pine Lake and Ciociaria.
I am now very happy to announce that a quantity of all three of these books were acquired and all are now available for sale at the Arcana bookstore! Very nice!
We had a really great discussion about photobooks, photographers, book bloggers, publishers and other book industry stuff. It was pretty diverse and free ranging discussion as one subject seemed to quickly lead into another.
I also had an opportunity to provide a quick show-n-tell about my book dummy for Middle Ground and discuss whether which is better to call the book design; leporello, concertina, or accordion fold. Kaplan defaults to leporello as probably the description that aligns best with bibliophiles, so I might need to adjust my photobook definitions and defer to the Middle Ground book as being a leporello design. Nice.
So it is now very nice that my books can be acquired locally in SoCal at this unique and impressive book store. I suspect that Kaplan will soon list these books at his various internet book venues.
Yes another very nice day.
Compass Dance, OCMA June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale
Last weekend I was the event photographer again for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) Family Day held in conjunction with their latest exhibition. Although my intent was to capture the interaction of the attendees with the exhibition, family activities and school concerts, I was able to make a few personal photographs. One of which was my capture of the members of the Compass Dance group, above, which is led by Amanda White.
Their dance style is abstract, interpretive and free flowing with a bit of improvisation, which I think is well suited to a slightly slower shutter speed. As a result I hope that I captured some of the kinetics and energy of their dance. Last year I attempted a similar interpretation of the Re:BorN dance assemble.
I do not consider myself a dance photographer but when provided the opportunity to experiment with a group like this I consider this also a time to have some fun, which of course falls under my experiment/fun photographic category. This was also a chance to experiment with my new 50mm f/1.8 lens that I brought along for the occasion.
Who knows where this might lead to one day?
Bluewater Shore, self-published 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale
A couple of days ago I was preparing to make another series of bookstore submissions for Bluewater Shore, my limited edition artist book. In looking at my “press photos” for this book, I realized that I needed to have a set of photographs showing the book’s cover, with and without the slip cover. So it was time to set-up the studio lights and make a few exterior photographs. I also realized that I did not have any interior photographs of the book that might illustrate how the book and pages work together as a “flip-book”. That extended my studio session by only a little bit and I like the results, above and below.
Btw, Bluewater Shore is still available for sale as the edition has not been completely sold out yet. If interested, check out the book review by Gerhard Clausing and an overview of this artist book that I posted earlier, here.
Bluewater Shore (book with poly slip-cover) Copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale
Bluewater Shore is a semi-fictional visual narrative about a young woman’s holiday, an exciting unescorted trip to the shore with friends, which is set in the late 1940’s and investigates a new sense of independence for women that occurred during and following World War II as well as American culture, family, and memory. The limited edition artist book was developed from repurposed vernacular photographs from the artist’s family archive and the concept was partly inspired by Kodak and Ansco promotional booklets that were available with dime/drug stores film processing in the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.
Concept, development & design: Douglas Stockdale copyright 2017
Flip-book, stiff covers, prong binding, hand-inscribed cover, hand-inscribed poly slip case, 32 pages, 16 black & white photographs, size: 7 ½” x 6” (190 mm x 155 mm)
Self-published artist book, limited edition of 99 + 5 A/P; price $47.00 USD (44 €, 37.5 £, 5,230 ¥,)
Printing: Fultone© digital lithography by Dual Graphics, (Brea, CA), hand-bound by the artist.
Additional photographs: www.douglasstockdale.com (Bluewater Shore – artist book)
Bluewater Shore can be purchased from Arcana: Books on the Arts (Culver City), Photo Book International or contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Official book launch: Photo Independent, Los Angeles, CA April 21- 23, 2017