Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 26, 2011

Ciociaria > Photobook publisher connection

Filed under: Books, Ciociaria, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 8:31 pm

Fuiggi, December 2010 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For my project Ciociaria and the subsequent book publisher connection with Marco Delogu, the publisher behind Edizioni Punctum, it may well be of a case of how one thing developed into another to arrive at my Fall publication of Douglas Stockdale Ciociaria.

Earlier I have shared how the project Ciociaria came to be, but as this project was developing, I was also working my day job assignments and publishing my reviews of photobooks.  So during my travels, in addition to taking in a photo gallery exhibition, I also network with other photographers and photobook publishers, and usually the emphasis on the latter.

Since I know that my photographic projects will eventually be published as  book, either self published or with a traditional publisher, I have been assessing which book publishers might have an interest aligned with my various photo projects. Since I am a mid-career photographer without an exhibition presence in the galleries and secondary photography market, I realize that my photographic projects could be very risky for a large publication house.  But perhaps my projects might be very attractive to a small specialized photobook publisher. So I maintain a sort of short list of potential publishers who design and develop very well made books, and as you might suspect, Edizioni Punctum has been on that list for a very long time.

The actual opportunity to meet Marco was provided by Melanie McWhortner, photobook manager at photo-eye. Both Marco and I had provided our list for to the photo-eye 2009 Best of the Year photobooks, and when Melanie realized that I was in and out of Rome where Marco’s studio was located, she provided me with a nice introduction to Marco.  On my next trip to Rome, I met Marco and when our mutual schedules permit, we arrange to discuss photobooks over an espresso. During these discussions, I find out about his new and pending publications and I was keeping him up to date on my projects, which included progress on Ciociaria.

Over the past year discussing photobooks with Marco, I found myself in sync with his publishing style and the other photographers work he was publishing; the photographer-flauner (e.g. Guy Tillim and Tod Papageorge), Italy based projects, the photographer as an active participant in the book design and layout, creative, high quality Italian press and bindery work and whose books are highly respected in the photographic community.

So when I mentioned to Marco that I was getting to a critical mass in my Ciociaria project, he asked to see three or four of my photographs and my artistic statement. I was very happy to oblige, but this brought on a small case of angst as to which three or four photographs? I have been photographing this project, but I had not started the editing process to distill them into a book dummy, although I had developed the conceptual framework for the project which was in a state of continuing refinement. I was able to quickly develop my concept into a nice artistic statemet, which can be read in this recent post

As projects go, I had been setting aside some photographs that I knew were going to be “keepers”, so I wanted to test a few these images with some friends first, which in my case was presenting these photographs at our monthly Photographers Exchange meeting at the Irvine Fine Art Center. I wanted to gage the reactions and observe these photographs in a context other than just in my studio.  Of the five photographs that I had brought to the Photographers Exchange meeting, I selected a diverse set of four photographs (my potential candidates) and emailed them, along with my artistic statement, to Marco. As is the norm for Marco, the response was quick and to the point, and in this case, he wanted to publish the book. Very nice!

On my next visit to Rome, we quickly determined which book concept to use, including trim size, binding, potential page count, photographic layout and margins, languages for the text, and possible options for a limited edition book with print.

Then I realized that I had to initiate my editing and reduce the large quantity of potential photographs into a much smaller cohesive group and start working on my book dummy. I had moved from concept development into editing and design, which I already know, was not going to be easy. Nevertheless, I was now into phase II of this project. Really nice!

January 10, 2011

Ciociaria – Project background story

Filed under: Ciociaria, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 2:56 am

Fiuggi Landscape, Ciociaria copyright 2010 Douglas Stockdale

This is the background story of how my project Ciociaria came about, which is part random circumstances and part recognizing an opportunity. First and foremost, I like to work on conceptual projects, to have an idea that provides the context and structure of the photographs that I am making. Now I may not always realize a project in the making, that might come as a later realization, what I have termed listening to your muse.

Why do I think in terms of a photo project? I find that a project creates a unifying focus, requires commitment and discipline and helps me manage my time. For me, a project creates an overarching cohesiveness to a body of work that helps with the subsequent development of a book or an exhibition. It also allows me to articulate a conceptual idea and be able communicate this to others. As a part of my project process, I then define my mission (e.g. artistic statement), what my goals are (e.g. a published book) and my objectives.

In the case, my day job was bringing me frequently to this region in Italy, specifically working at a site in Ferentino, Italy, located off the A1, about an hour south of Roma (Rome) almost mid-way between Roma and Napoli (Naples). Initially I had a driver and I was staying near Rome in Fumincino, so mostly observing for the first couple of months. Then as the frequency of my Ferentino work was increasing, it was time to rent a car and find a local hotel, which turned out to be in Fiuggi Terme, about a half hour from Ferentino up in the foothills. And as the short winter days extended into the longer days of Spring, I had more time to explore.

Last July I was reviewing Andrew Phelps book, Not Niigata, which struck a resonant cord in me. I had felt really disoriented while I was in China, more in line with Phelps project, but now I realized that I did not really know the culture and this region of Italy either, I was still a stranger in a strange land. But yet, there was some familiarity that I felt with this part of Italy that seemed just beyond my grasp. Hmmm, something was coming together for me, but I still could not put my finger on it. Okay, maybe not the quickest guy in the bunch, as my brain required a little pounding, or perhaps the muse was still whispering a little too softly?

In August, I finally had found something that conceptually tied this project together for me, a term I was hearing about how the people of this region described themselves, that they were the Ciociaria. A quick wiki check on the Ciociaria provided the “glue” for the project, that the Ciociaria were without a defined territory and without a defined history. The vagueness of space and history (memory) provided a sense of freedom for me and released me to be able to define my own story of what Ciociaria might mean. Now I had what I felt was a contextual thread to continue observing and photographing. What looked odd and what looked familiar, to paraphase Amy Stein, to explore the complex and often ambigious relationships between the individuals and their envioronment.

So when my day assignement required spending a weekend in Italy, rather than driving up to Roma or down to Napoli, I just made a short drive to another local city within the general area called Ciociaria and then walked, observed and photographed. Nice.

Best regards, Douglas

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