Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 23, 2011

Inspirational Muse is still alive – thank goodness

Filed under: Insomnia: Hotel Noir, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:01 am

NWM Hanover copyright 2011 by Douglas Stockdale

I had lamented earlier this month about my inspirational muse and how this was something you really can’t manage, per se. I, you, we just need to allow a openess and listen quietly. As sometimes things occur for me, when I start to connect, it seems like many more ideas start rolling in.

Case in point, last month while in Madrid and Paris, I started thinking about a concept that was a somewhat related to my project Insomnia: Hotel Noir. After it has passed the initial spaghetti test, I am a little more confident about blogging about it, tentatively titled NoWhere Man, of which the singular image above is now a part of. Especially since I keep working on the project.

Meanwhile two more project ideas have started to develop, one a little more conceptual, while the other is about a potential noir project in Southern California. nice.

Also this week, I mailed my CD of Ciociaria photographs to Marco, my publisher in Italy. And I just now remembered that I was going to include something else with that package. darn. Oh well. Next is to let Marco take the first look at the photographs and then schedule some time with the editor around one of my trips to Italy. Nice, this continues to move forward.

March 11, 2011

Ciociaria – Editing

Filed under: Ciociaria, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 9:20 pm

Copyright 2010 Douglas Stockdale

At some point in a photo project, I sense that I am coming to the end, in that what I am attempting to convey or the subject seems to coming to stand still. For me, that could be either internal or external. Sometimes, such as when my Visa expired for China, I was not planning to return, thus what I had discovered and photographed was essentially done for the moment. In the case of my project In Passing, I think that I had did not have much more to say on the matter. The body of work seemed complete, and I was into the editing mode, examining the raw material for those elements that conveyed what I was searching for.

For my project Ciociaria, it seems that I was sensing the end of the discovery mode due to a combination of factors and I was slowly shifting into the editing mode towards the end of last year. The shift to the editorial mode was not abrupt, but gradual, which happens to me most times. Certainly since I have returned a couple of more occasions to continue the discover and investigation, and I anticipate that I will still make another trip in the Spring.

I have also found that in the early phases of my project, I was poking in a lot of different directions and in a number of different ways, probably best thought of as a lot of mini trial runs. As mentioned before, I was cooking some pasta and throwing it on the wall to see if it was sticking. And some was, enough so that I was encouraged to investigate further. In retrospect, I also find myself with a lot of early photographs that may make interesting Singular images, were not working to provide cohesiveness to my concept. So to say that I had photographed X thousand images for this project is kinda of meaningless. Or it is to me, as I am more concerned about how many images are close and in the ball park that could express my concept. So the very first edit is to get rid of the crap. Yikes! Let me rephrase that: to distill the available images into a more cohesive whole. Reads a bit better, eh?

So lets say that I am now down to about 300 images and I know that my book will be in the range of 55 to 65 images. Now the sledding will get a little more difficult, as my real goal is to get into the 150 image range. I am targeting a significant few to bring to the table for the book’s editor and publisher to evaluate.  BTW I have already made a selection of 58 images and assembled a book dummy, but at this point, I want to keep this in my back pocket as we enter into the collaborative phase.

I have my idea of what the book should look like, but I also know that there are a huge number of options and variations. I also know that I have my own emotional blinders on and there may be some options that I do not perceive or understand, as I am way too close and invested in this project to see other options. My goal for this book is to work collaboratively, so I want to make available more raw material and then listen and discuss the observations and thoughts of the others.

A case in point, I brought with me the Ciociaria book dummy with me on my trip into Paris in January. I worked on it for much of the flight to France, not so much about which photographs to include, but working on the pairing and sequencing of the photographs. (actually a constant evaluation for me during this phase). As fate would have it, I had an opportunity to meet Remi Coignet and his wife, Maria Bojikian, who is a photo editor for a French magazine. Eventually the conversation came around to my project and so I presented my book dummy. After Maria very quickly walked through the dummy, her first words were that this project was going to need at least another three hours of editing (not that evening!), but for me, more importantly, she instantly noted that there was one photograph that was entirely not in sync with the others. It was a very nice group portrait and interesting on its own, but really out of sorts with all of the others. Wrong look, wrong feel, and not right. Interestingly, this was the one photo that was giving me the most fits on my earlier flight. This photo was one that I could not find the right paring and I keep changing its sequential position. Maria stated the now obvious solution; take it out. And I immediate understood that she was right on. I really liked this photograph too much and I was trying to get a square peg into a round hole. She helped me make a difficult decision. This was the type of collaboration I am looking forward to, a learning opportunity.

Best regards, Doug

March 1, 2011

Inspirational muse

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 6:12 pm

When I morphed into a project mode for my photographic work many years ago, I was soon mentally overloaded with a flood of potential conceptual ideas. I duly noted them and I have since been concurrently working on two or three projects, usually with a strong emphasis on one of them. It always seems that I have more ideas than I can possibly complete, but that makes life interesting.

Gradually over the years I have noted that some of my brilliant concepts with a little time, have not appeared to be so brilliant. What I call the spaghetti test; I cook some, throw it on the wall and then see if it sticks. If it doesn’t stick, not really done yet. So some ideas have gone into the trash bin, while others perhaps their time has not arrived yet. But I also realized that my inspirational muse has not always refilled the conceptual coffers with new (brilliant) ideas. At first when I realized that my muse was off doing other things, the dry spell of ideas was scary. Yikes, maybe I had lost my creativity, eh?

But in reality, I have come to realize that my muse is always there, perhaps not always engaged, and not to have any worries. I still have too many projects to do and I have no hope of finishing them all. So when I start ignoring whether my muse is paying any attention to me, Bingo! the ideas start rolling in. I have been in and out of Paris almost monthly for the last six months, resulting in a couple of conceptal ideas that I have thrown up against the wall and to date, none of them have seemed to stick. Sigh. So again, I was wondering if my creative muse did not appreciate Paris as much as I did. Then on my trip last week, I came up with four cool ideas. Nice. (Okay, one idea came about in Madrid, the day before flying into Paris, but in Paris I really stated working it some more) So now I need to work on these concepts a little more and see if one of them has some sticking power. I just maybe brilliant after all. ;- )

Best regards, Doug

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