Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 14, 2014

Flow of Light Brush the Shadow – Snow Shovel

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Untitled (Snow Shovel, JinShan, January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I recently posting about finding one of my landscape photographs at the top of both Bing Images and Google Images. After letting the shock of recognition wear off, I went back to both with the same search term, contemporary landscape photography, and started scrolling down further.

Yikes, it did not take long for me to find another of my China photographs, above, to appear! I had blogged about my photo project Flow of Light Brush the Shadow in 2011 and this photograph was used to illustrate my progress on the project.

As to this photograph, the unusual snow fall had taken most of the local folks by surprise and like this man, few were really well equipped to handle the deepening snow. What I had not noticed at the time I made this environmental portrait was that the handle of the man’s shovel was actually made from a tree branch.

Up to this point in 2008, I had not attempted to include individuals in my urban landscape photographs, perhaps even going to some great lengths to exclude their presence. During this trip and since, I have made a determined effort to try to include people. This is one of my better attempts.

Meanwhile, another of my photographs that is bubbling up on the internet dog pile.

Cheers!

November 12, 2014

Contemporary Landscape Photography – JiaShan

 

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Untitled (Winter Field, JiaShan, China January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

You might image my surprise when I was poking around Bing images last week in-between events and I did a search on “Contemporary Landscape Photography” to see what might come up and the very first image was….mine!

Yep this photograph above that I created while in China in 2008. And to be sure that I was not hallucinating, I just did the same search again and yep, very first image was this one, again. Amazing.

I had posted this landscape photograph with a short discussion about what potentially makes a great Contemporary Landscape Photography in March 2008 shortly after my return from my third trip into Eastern China.

Trust me, I do not believe that I have created the definitive contemporary landscape photograph although I think that this is one of my better urban landscape photograhs made during these trips. As to why contemporary? Perhaps that the composition is very banal and ordinary in appearance and for me as the author, a bit more about my quiet introspective mood at the time, no real “subject” other than the frozen tracks in the field leading from the foreground towards the horizon. The furrow on the right also leads the reader to the horizon with a momentary break created by a lone, stark and barren tree. Thus the narrative is indirectly about a journey that has some melancholy undertones, probably a bit of how I was feeling going into my third week on this last visit.

This photograph may be getting such a primo spot on Bing is probably more about the power rankings of the internet. The more frequently seen, the higher up on the dog pile it goes. Nice to be on top of the dog pile!

Cheers!

November 3, 2014

PhotoBook Independent – Prospectus

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 12:12 am

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Indie Book Fair, Duncan Miller Gallery,  Santa Monica, December 2013

This coming May 1-3, 2015 there will be Photobook Independent for self-publishing photographers and small independent publishers to exhibit and sell their books, which is pretty appealing to me. The event is occurring here in Southern California at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, about an hour North from me. This is the same place as Photo Independent earlier this year and again occurring concurrently with Paris Photo LA, which is at the Universal studio lot across the street. I covered both events  and posted my observations here. I tried to get a photobook event  in-conjunction with Photo Independent, but since this was the first year to launch this event, the organizers decided to keep things a little simpler. Nevertheless, the initial launch did very well as so they are now adding the Photobook venue. Nice!

There were some lessons learned when I did something similar last December at the Duncan Miller Gallery. One of which is due to the quantity of books I have to sell, a four foot table may not be enough space. So I am working on a budget for the eight foot table.

So if you are an self-publishing photographer or a indie publisher (rates a little higher for the indie publishers) and can make LA in May, you ought to seriously check this out. I am guessing that the tables are going to go fast!

Likewise if you are interested in acquiring small run, self-published indie books, you should check this out. Actually since this is occurring concurrent with Paris Photo LA, it is a slam dunk.

Cheers,

October 31, 2014

Documentary Photography – Archeology

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:50 pm

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Untitled (Honda Pilot 33.641° N, 117.595° W October 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

While in college working on my undergraduate degree and as a result of comping some classes, I had a few extra credits to burn so I took an intro to anthropology class. Growing up I was fascinated with National Geographic and similar magazines while my family had moved from one side of the country to the other, then back again. I had already become aware of differences in how people lived in the deserts of the Southwest versus the flat, urban Midwest. Perhaps being a keen observer of the cultural and social elements is a factor of what brought me to photography?

Flash forward to yesterday as we just purchased a new SUV and I had to remove the personal items from the old one. As I began to pile up the various bits, odds and ends, I was amazed at what all that I had accumulated over the past seven years. I don’t think of myself as a pack-rat, but I might need to reconsider this. As I surveyed this pile of stuff, I did have a flash back to an archaeological dig and I thought that this was probably pretty similar. How might someone far in the future reconstruct who we are as evidenced by this stuff? It also gave me a great idea for another photographic project, but I am not sure I have the time for this at the moment.

So this is my documentary photograph of a modern archaeological excavation.

Cheers!

October 24, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 5

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Untitled (#89 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 5 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC and my other BWC photographs, please check out my previous post, here. Today’s post also completes my 5 day BWC.

This photograph, as well as yesterday’s photograph, is part of an on-going investigation of mine that is exploring the use of seed pods as metaphors for memory and indirectly identity.

In this photograph I reflecting on what occurs after all of the seed pods are gone. For me this is a metaphoric portrait and the question as to who is a person who has no remaining memories? Perhaps they are now a ghost of their formal self, barely existing without any recall of the past experiences, only momentarily aware of the present moment, which too is another event that will shortly vanish.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 5 is Paul Mounce.

October 23, 2014

Samsung S5 camera – quick look

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:53 pm

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Untitled_S5 (Laguna Beach, CA October 2014) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just made an unintended switch up from the Samsung S4 to the Samsung S5 phone/camera system. My charging pin became so distorted and bent with the S4 that the phone was no longer taking a charge. After multiple tweaks by me and the Verizon tech, the alternative was take the phone to phone repair shop or since I qualified for an exchange program, I could trade-in/purchase the S5. Since I have been pretty happy with the S4 other than the charging port, why not?

So last evening after making the switch-up, which was completed with virtually no issues, we met some friends down in Laguna Beach at Las Brisas restaurant overlooking the cove. Btw, highly recommended for contemporary Mexican surf cuisine and the margaritas are not bad either! We stepped out of Las Brisas just as the sun was setting, so I thought that this might be an opportunity to see what the S5 camera might do with these tricky low light and high contrast conditions. These are a couple of grab shots someone might take as a vacation snaps.

First, there are a couple of new features on the S5 compared to the S4, one of which is that this is a 16 Mpx camera compared to the S4′s 13 Mpx. Btw, a S4 image is included at the bottom of this post which was made a couple of days prior. The S5 now has a stabilization feature, which I used for both of these images due to the low light. Seems to work as both images do not have any motion blurr but does slow up the composition and capture sequence quite a bit, so if you need some quick response speed turn this feature off.

The images are proportionally the same, even if the S5 phone is a smidge wider than the S4 (yeah, I am an engineer and should be able to give you some precise dimensions, but you get the idea of what I am saying, eh?). That tiny bit of phone size change does not translate to a larger image capture, so I am guessing that the sensor is the same size, but packed a little denser to increase the file size.

For me does the 3 Mpx increase between the two phones translate to something that I can readily detect in the resulting photographs? Not so much for me. So would I change phones to the S5 to get a little bit larger file? Nope. Nevertheless, this image stabilization is interesting, but since this phone-camera is essential my snap-shot camera, this feature would not compel me to make the switch up if I did not need to. But since I now have it, I will play with this some more later on. There are a few more bells and whistles with this camera, including HDR (“Rich Tone” is the helpful hint for this feature) that I will check out later.

I must admit that the Sunset image above looked pretty sweet on the phone’s display.

Disclosure: For this quick look I did the following for the images in Photoshop CS3; made some tonality adjustments in RAW conversion  and noted the S5 file does have a bit more information to work with, so the image has the capability for image adjustments. For the S5 image below I also adjusted the color balance to warm it up a tad. Upon opening the image, I provide an Unsharpening of 100 to compensate for the sensor and likewise after saving the JPEG file, I added another Unsharpening of 100 to compensate for the slight softening that occur during JPEG conversion. For both of the S5 images, I did not add a Curves adjustment layer as I might when tweaking an image, so these are pretty close to original sensor capture.

Cheers!

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Untitled_S5 (Laguna Beach, cove, CA October 2014) copyright Douglas Stockdale

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Self-portrait with Cooper, San Clemente, CA October 2014, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 4

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 6:18 pm

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Untitled (#40 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is day 4 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC, see my previous post, here.

This photograph is part of an on-going investigation of mine that is exploring the use of seed pods as metaphors for memory and indirectly identity. A seed pod is a physical encapsulation of a germinating seed that occurs due to events over the duration of the life of a flower. For mankind there are events that captured by the senses of which some essence is retained by the brain. Over time an individual matures as do all of the captured memories, some remaining vivid and distinct, some becoming a hazy recollection and some becoming lost.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 4 is Jim Cullum.

Cheers!

October 22, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 3

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I-15 Frontage Rd, Victorville, CA 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 3 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC, see my previous post, here.

Yesterday, I posted a photograph that I had made in early 2007 at a time that I felt that I was in a state of transition. At this time I was becoming aware of the concepts of contemporary landscape photography and my interests were now to investigate the natural landscape with regard to metaphoric narratives. This photograph above was made as a result of that creative transition after I expanded my investigation to include the urban landscape.

In very early 2007 I initiated my first contemporary landscape project, In Passing (B&W version) to investigate memory, in this case I began photographing the impromptu memorials created by family and friends for someone who had passed as a result of a tragic accident. Initially I was using a documentary approach to capture these memorials as examples of folk art. As the project continued, I realized that I was in fact investigating the concept of memory and how these families and friends were attempting to preserve their own memories by building these testimonials. Much later, I was to see these memorials as a possible metaphors for those individuals who have deminita or Alzheimer’s disease; physically present, but due to their fading memories, only a living shell and a living reminder of the past.

I found this memorial off the I-15 freeway, an apparent accident that had occurred on the Frontage Road. From the wording on the hand-made plaque that was in the foreground of the bouquet of artificial flower’s, I suspect that this was built by the young man’s family as the wording was by his mother. Over the months I came to understand that the cross was decorated for each season, this one for Halloween. The monument resembled someone in a Halloween costume, maybe his costume as a youth, and nestled within the artificial flowers was a trick-or-treat basket filled with candy. Extremely touching.

My attempt was to place this memorial within the larger landscape and also explored (below) an even wider perspective and narrative about this seemingly barren and poignant place.

Subsequently this image was published in LensWork magazine, issue #74, January/February 2008, one of 22 photographs as a featured portfolio. This was a pretty awesome artistic validation! I subsequently self-published a large format photobook of In Pasing thru Blurb in a small edition (about 13 copies),which is now out of print.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 3 is Vicki Topaz.

Cheers!

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Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 2

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:19 pm

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Winter Fog, Trabuco Canyon, CA 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I posted yesterday,  I was nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC)  that has gone viral on Facebook. This is my day 2 photograph.

I photographed this composition in 2007 at a time that I felt that I was in a state of flux. Since 1973 I had been investigating the natural landscape in Black & White. In retrospect I had been working with a Modern photographic perspective using as my role models the photographers Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock and to a lesser extent, Minor White. At this time I was now becoming more aware of the concepts of contemporary landscape photography and my interests were now to investigate the natural landscape with regard to metaphoric narratives. This photography was made during that creative transition.

Subsequently this image was juried into the Irvine Fine Arts contemporary photography exhibition and selected by the Orange County Museum of Contemporary Art for their Fall auction. A nice validation that I was indeed heading in a new direction.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 2 is Hiroshi Watanabe.

Cheers!

October 21, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 1

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:28 pm

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Self portrait with Cooper, San Clemente, October 2014, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Over the weekend I was nominated by a friend of mine, Jeff Alu, to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge that has gone viral on Facebook. So for 5 days I am to post a Black & White photograph on Facebook and each day nominate another photographer. Now the trick is to nominate a photographer that I know who explores B&W photography who has not been nominated yet (I am getting a bit late into the game).

For this photograph, I have studying this composition for a while and thought it might work with a selfie. Big concern was the fountain located behind me which provides the interesting appearing Spanish “hat”. Perhaps another reason I enjoy the photograph is that humorous appearance.

At the last moment Cooper jumped up beside me and gazed into the reflection as if to pose for this selfie. A serendipitous moment that has a hint of Surrealism.

The B&W photographer that I nominated was Julia Borissova.

Cheers!

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