Looking ahead at 2012 is attempting to read tea leaves or perhaps in my case, peer into the dense fog while yet still hurling steadily forward.
December 31, 2011
December 24, 2011
Ciociaria Christmas, Fiuggi 2011 Douglas Stockdale
Wishing you all the very best for this Christmas season, as well as Happy Holidays to all you celebrating your various religious events.
December 14, 2011
December 11, 2011
Faygo RedPop 2011 copyright Douglas Stocdale
I am sure that everyone has in their past, some food or drink that seems to provide an immediate passport to their youth. Recently visiting some friends in Valencia (SoCal), my buddy Peter dragged me into a new (soda) store claiming that he had found the magic elixir of youth. Growing up in Southern Michigan as I did, he knew of the legendary mythical drink called RedPop.
December 9, 2011
Hiroshi Watanabe’s darkroom 2011 copyright Douglas Stockdale
Earlier this week I had an opportunity to meet up with Hiroshi Watanabe (books: Findings and Love Point) at his studio and during the tour, I found myself rather taken by his darkroom. What a wonderful and ideal place to work. A very classic arrangement of wet side versus dry side, enlarger set up across from the tray processing. Yikes, this darkroom left me green with envy.
I think back to my first tiny bathroom that entailed at least an hour plus to drag all of the enlarger and processing equipment in to set up. Even so, I could only process the prints to the first stop bath, hold and wait until I could replace the developer trays with the additional trays and chemicals to complete the archival developing and selenium toning. Then at least another hour of break down so we could use the bathroom the following morning (after about 5 hours sleep).
When we finally moved into a house, then I outfitted the spare bedroom/den into the make-shift darkroom. By that time I had the Bessler motorized 4×5 condenser enlarger that I could leave in place, as moving that turkey around was no joy. Regardless, I had to wait until our kids were off to bed before I could set up the room for printing. I least now I could set up all of the trays for continuous processing, although arranging the necessary 16 x 20″ trays was still a little daunting. Hiroshi’s darkroom is about the size of two of our small bedrooms from that house combined.
I can only speculate as to what I would be photographing today if I had a darkroom like Hiroshi’s at my immediate disposable. I would like to think that I would be captivated by similar projects. I know that my investigations of digital capture and printing was a direct result of not having a working darkroom. Likewise, I now regret selling the Bessler 4×5 as I had very good intentions of acquiring a Bessler 23C-XL, but that did not come to pass, as neither did the purchase of a 8×10″ camera system. oh well, water over the dam and need to keep moving on.
Hiroshi had also mentioned that this was his place for contemplation and I think I can understand why.
December 1, 2011
Ciociaria copyright 2011 Douglas Stockdale
photo-eye just published Karen Jenkins review of my book Ciociaria. Jenkins goes into considerable depth, and grapples with an undercurrent of memory that weaves through most of my photographic projects, where she states; the theme of the memorial also emerges, wherein nature is shown as an inextricable part of how we commemorate loss and reckon with the passing of time, seen here in wilted bouquets, neglected fountains and shrines embedded in the rolling hillsides.
She states: A dichotomy is suggested between this variation on street photography and unpopulated landscape or topographical views. In this guise, Stockdale rejects both narrative reportage and the purely picturesque. He instead delves in between – seeking places where the strange becomes familiar and the familiar strange – creating touchstones of personal symbolism that transcend the particulars of Ciociaria. Within this realm, Stockdale takes a deadpan look at the human-altered landscape, finding in the banal a cross-cultural link to broader metaphorical meaning. Yet the book is also studded with heavily lyrical images (not least of which is the final view of a misty, open road).
I appreciate her observation: What I liked best about these photographs is how simply they capture the relentless and sometimes beautiful, sometimes bewildering encroachment of the natural world on man-made environments. I find Stockdale to be a keen observer of how people attempt to compartmentalize and contain nature for both practical use and domestic enjoyment.
I invite you to read the review in its entirety, then perhaps be moved to purchase the book!