Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

February 3, 2014

New project in the making

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 9:05 pm

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untitled (Aliso Viejo, CA, January 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

Another interesting series of events that appear to be leading into a new photobook project. First, I have been using the wide format Samsung IV camera-phone to see what things looked like in these almost panoramic photographs. Then I was inspired to take some “documentary” photographs of the golf courses I have been playing lately with the Samsung. The what-am-I-doing-now variety of photographs. Relatively brainless, but kinda of interesting as to the results.

I am currently reading Paul Seawright’s latest photobook Volunteer just released by a new Irish photobook publisher Artist Photo Books. Seawright’s subject is the US military recruitment centers sprinkled around the country, but he does not photograph them directly. His viewpoint is looking away from these recruitment centers and out toward the urban landscape. It is his attempt to describe where, thus indirectly who, are the people that the military is seeking to recruit.

It is this idea of an indirect visual study that intrigues me. And thus the underlying concept for this new photographic project. I have a straw-man idea for the title, but still too soon. I need to play some more golf (hint, hint) and take some more photographs. Then see what photographic images start to accumulate.

Cheers!

February 2, 2014

Bluewater Shore & 2014 LA Art Book Fair

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 5:47 am

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untitled (Bluewater Shore, maquette interior) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Attending the 2014 LA Art Book Fair with regard to spending some show and tell time with the Bluewater Shore maquette was a bit anticlimactic.

First, I attended on a Friday knowing that for these three day weekend events, Friday should be a little slower with a much smaller crowd, which was the case.  Thus if no one was lurking in front of the booth, there might be some time available with a friend for a quick look-n-see of my maquette. This is a sensitive moment, as the folks are primarily there to show-and-sell their books, but as friends, they can make some leeway with their time if they don’t feel pressed. Not recommended for a cold pitch when you have never met the person you want to approach. Nevertheless, after some shop-talk, I did get a couple of look-sees and some very, very nice feedback and interest. That is always nice.

Meeting up with some photobook/photographer friends who are roaming the isles is much easier and safer to approach and share. They usually have something they want you to look at or discuss as well, so a nice give and take, appreciated by both. These exchanges are generating more interest in my Bluewater Shore project.

Another of my key reasons for attending this particular event is to figure out who are the booksellers/galleries that are focusing on the true hand-made artist books. Regretfully there were not many. Let me correct that, I could not find one. Okay, maybe there is hope for one. There are rare book dealers who have created a after market for books that are now out of print, etc, and these books can get very expensive, over $5,000 and for some, well over that price. But although they have a market for high end books, they do not sell new artist books that can be very expensive compared to the commercial trade books. Even Printed Matter in NYC which attempts to be a zine and artist bookstore has a limit on their price point, preferring not to stock books that retail for more than $50.00. sigh.

So the good news, more validation for my Bluewater Shore project. (Since I am a guy, I am going to just ignore the bad news.)

Next week I am going to meet with a printer to discuss their digital versus offset litho printing and look at some options for paper stock. I will bring them the maquette for the design and layout as well as some match prints for the printing. Then they should be able to provide some print/fold/trim quotes for the single two-sided signature that I am envisioning. The elephant in the room is the low quantity of printed signatures that I need.

Cheers!

January 30, 2014

Bluewater Shore – next generation Maquette

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 10:16 pm

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untitled (Bluewater Shore, interior with binding) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

A little update on my Bluewater Shore artist book. After the really nice feedback from friends while at photo l.a. a couple of weeks ago, my plan was to proceed to the next generation of the maquette and have it ready for another round of informal reviews at LA Art Book Fair this coming weekend.

So now that I have finalized the selection of photographs and sequencing, I wanted to print a more accurate set of proof pages to replace my drafts. Since I am getting much closer to a final layout, I am ready to replace the paper clips with a little more permanent attachment of the photographs to the page. In my case, that just means I am using scotch tape, not PVA glue, because being a guy, I can still change my mind.

That’s not how this week actually went. First, I was trying to set up my 4800 printer for a special width for a revised exterior cover and the printer was not playing nice. Then I decided maybe I might need an updated software driver since it has been years that I had did any software upgrades as that might fix my problem. Wrong. Things went from bad to worse. The printer would not print anything now. And I worked on this fix for about two days, so I finally gave up and did a uninstall/install of the original Epson 4800 software. Bingo, late, late last night I was printing again. So I went on a printing marathon to print all of the interior photographs for the revised maquette. Done!

So today I swapped out the draft images for the final images and I am now be ready for a walk-about at the LA Art Book Fair this weekend. nice.

Cheers!

btw the above interior view of the maquette shows off my fine skills at manual tying off a pamphlet stitch for the sewn binding.

Instant Nomad at SFO

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untitled (San Francisco Airport, CA, January 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

While looking at these two alternatives as potentials for my Instant Nomad series, the panoramic above is more in line with my intent. With a traditional format camera, I would have definitely wanted to step back to include the multifaceted perspective. Each window is providing a narrow view point and with it a unique narrative, that in turn expands with the inclusion of the adjacent window narratives. With the panoramic photograph, more windows and thus the narrative becomes even more expansive than with the 10 x 8 photograph below.

Cheers!

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January 29, 2014

Industrial Yard, Cornona

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untitled (Industrial Yard, Corona, CA December 2013) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

Continuing to look at my panoramic photographs as a part of my Instant Nomad project. And continuing to be interested in how these particular kind of panoramatic formatted photographs look.

I choose the cropping of the 10 x 8 format below to isolated and center the subject which initially caught my interest. I think that the centered subject creates a little more static and objective image, what many might say is a more contemporary view point. Interesting to me as to what objects that were included in the edges of the panoramic photograph are now lost and how this redefines the image’s description of space.

If the objects on the edges of the panoramic were of interest to me, say the blue barrels, and I had a desire to include these in the 10 x 8 image, I could of course stepped backwards (If I had the space to do this, which in this case, I did). That in turn would have then meant that the resulting composition would change with the inclusion of more foreground or area above the yellow cart. In this case, I have the central composition that I was interested as per the 10 x 8 below, but with the panoramic I have some bonus stuff.

I find both equally interesting.

Cheers!

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January 28, 2014

Instant Nomad in Corona

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 5:34 pm

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Untitled (In n Out, Corona, CA December 2013) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Oh where to begin?

Firstly, this is another photograph that may or may not be in my Instant Nomad photobook but IS included in the project, if that makes sense. I have a ton of images I will consider as I edit, but first I need to start with a nice portfolio of photographs. While on assignment in Corona, I frequented this location a number of times and each time I was drawn to photograph a similar composition. Yep, I’m a fan of In n Out burgers; double-double, no onions but add lots of pickles. yum.

As to the meaning of this photograph, that’s your assignment.

Secondarily, the camera and format of the image. The initial “raw” capture is above and one potential 10 x 8 version is below. One thing that I did not fully anticipate when I acquired my Samsung phone is the slightly panoramic images. I like how it photographs. I like what the photograph looks like. I did not realize what a fan of panoramic images I might become.

As to the cropped 10 x 8 below, this is the “distilled” image. Since I frequently (okay, about every time) will crop or change an image, I end up with the final images in a complete range of sizes. One lesson I learned from publishing Ciociaria, the inconsistent image sizes creates havoc for the book designer. Since the designer is going to crop or change the image to suit the book’s format, I might as well make the changes first. As to why 10 x 8 (or 8 x 10)?  Short answer is that this size is one of those classic photographic formats, also a classic size that I used for some many years in the darkroom; paper, trays, easel, etc. Similar to how my friend Hiroshi defers to 5 x 5 square, even when infrequently using digital, the resulting image format is a square image. Why? Well why not?? btw, when I am photographing with film in the Hasselblad, I have been composing and keeping the resulting image 5 x 5, which just seems right.

Cheers!

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January 23, 2014

Lucy with Lauren

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 4:19 pm

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untitled (Lucy with Lauren) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

A contemporary & poignant moment.

Maybe a case in which form follows function. As of late, I am more interested including individuals, whether friend, family or even strangers, in my photographs, thus my photographs are increasingly populated. When events unfold before me now, as they did during a lull in a small late afternoon get together, rather than think that it is too bad that I am sitting here without my full frame camera, I instead pull out my mobile phone, the current version of an Instamatic camera, to capture an image or two.

Since taking mobile phone photographs is such an ubiquitous event now, I am seemingly transparent. A nice trade-off.

Cheers!

January 19, 2014

Bluewater Shore – Maquette walk-about

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Artist photobook maquette, Bluewater Shore, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

As I stated earlier this month, one of my short term objectives to finish my first maquette for this artist book was to obtain some feedback on book concept & design during photo l.a. this weekend. In fact, I did manage to obtain a bunch of evaluations on the fly with friends while attending photo l.a., then a couple more afterwards over dinner with a some other like minded friends.

Part of our discussions centered on the book’s design, layout and sequencing with one outlying image as an alternative. There was also some brainstorming this limited edition concept, the series of books that this project will be part of as well as photobooks & photography in general.

Mission accomplished! I think that I am now ready to lock down the selection and sequencing of the images and the related text to fabricate a second maquette for my graphic designer to prepare the pre-press files. nice.

At photo l.a. I acquired Gerd Kittel’s photobook Route 66, to help with the concept of what will probably be my third artist book in this series. What I did not anticipate was a little artist book brainstorming session with the woman who does the hand bindery for the Silas Finch photobooks, a conversation which may lead to a fourth book in my series. very cool.

Cheers!

January 17, 2014

La Huette Switzerland

Filed under: Instant Nomad, Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 7:00 am

03-2005 LaHuette trees

Untitled (La Huette, Switzerland, March 2005) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Serendipitously after reading the recent release of Brassaii, Paris Nocturne, I went looking for some of my night-time photographs of  Fiuggi that I had made in 2010 & 2011.  Then I stumbled on an unfamiliar file folder of Europe from 2005. Yep, I am sometimes easily distracted. Squirrel!

I had jumped off at the local train stop for La Huette, and can’t recall if I was heading to or from La Chaux de-fond in Switzerland. The next train would be stopping in an hour for me to resume my journey. Which was fine as it was an opportunity to be a photographe-flaneur around this village and adjacent country side. I don’t think I actually made it into the village itself but instead wandered around the edges. I was not on a particular quest as this pre-dated my project work. It was just to look and see what some of this place looked like in photographs. I recalled that this place appeared pretty banal.

When I returned home, I thought some of the images to be interesting, but I think that was when I was using PhotoShop 5.5 or 6 at time. I had lost the snow highlights in the foreground and the image looked pretty dull; low contrast and flat.

So when I re-discovered these images, I could immediately see a little more potential with a potential RAW conversion available with my PhotoShop CS3 (yep, not running the latest or most current version of PhotoShop). I was correct, there were more highlights in the foreground that I could salvage, but I had still lost a lot. I also increased the contrast range by increasing the Black slider. After the file opened in PhotoShop, I added sharpening and tweaked a Curve layer to further increase the blacks/shadows.

Now this image appears a little more similar as to what recall that I saw (Probably better than my memory of this location). What I think of as a nice singular image.

Cheers!

January 13, 2014

Mark Thomas baptism

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 6:13 pm

01-12-13 Mark Thomas baptism at Church of the Angels_5

untitled (Mark Thomas baptism) Copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

Perhaps one of the nicer gifts I can provide my family is when I am the official photographer for a family event. That is when I am the one who brings the “big” camera to observe, participate and document the occasion.

My Nice & mom, Ashley, was married in this same church, so I was already familiar with the lighting issues. As you might guess, that big stained glass window behind them is pretty bright compared to the interior of the church, translation: a big contrast range. With digital capture, if you lose the high lights, the details and colors of that stained glass window, it is darn difficult to get them back even with all of the Photoshop wizardry. So I knew to expose for the stained window and reveal the interior shadow detail with Photoshop and RAW capture.

And to make lots of exposures!

I think that this particular moment was pretty beautiful.

Cheers!

Note: since my exposure was based on the back-lit window, my shutter speed was faster then if I were to meter off the interior of the church. When you don’t have a tripod, that little extra shutter speed can make a huge difference, especially when you know you can improve the contrast balance of the image later in PhotoShop. nice.

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