Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

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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September 24, 2014

Pine Lake > The Box of Dummies

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Pine Lake copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A little update on my artist and limited edition photobooks. With Paris Photo approaching in November, I noted that there is another call for book dummies (Rock Your Dummy!) by the Paris PhotoBook club to be submitted by the end of this October. Last year I had submitted the book dummy for Pine Lake and just noted that the Paris PhotoBook club has a page about resulting The Box of Dummies which are on tour and includes my Pine Lake book dummy. Currently the last remaining copies of this artist book are available from photo-eye‘s photobook store.

So at the moment I am starting to assemble another book dummy (or two) for Bluewater Shore to submit to the Paris Photobook club for potential acceptance and exhibition during Paris Photo and the Rock Your Dummy! event. Especially now that I have most of the kinks worked out for the book design and image sequencing. If all goes per plan, I expect to publish and release the limited edition (150 books?) of Bluewater Shore early in 2015.

Cheers!

September 18, 2014

My RGB to Grayscale Conversion process

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:55 am

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#28 No Memory (Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

I had mentioned in an earlier post today that when I converted my color photographs (RGB) in Photoshop to a Grayscale (Black & White) image that I first had to flatten the layers of the color image. I received a question from a buddy as to why I did that?

I now realize that there are aspects of my work flow that I have taken for granted, such that it is generally recommended that for image sharpening (unsharp mask) and adding a curves adjustment layer, that you should consider changing the layer blend setting from Normal to a Luminosity setting.

As to why, I had to go back to my Scott Kelby book “The Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers” published way back in 2003. My goodness that makes me feel a bit dated. Okay, so Kelby states that for image sharpening of color photographs (RGB mode), I do not want to sharpen the color data (normal layer blend mode), but just the luminosity data (Luminosity layer blend mode). By adjusting just the luminosity I preserve the hue and saturation of the base image, otherwise these will shift.

What I do notice is that if I sharpen the color data this can create some  halo effects within the image, but that does not occur when I am using a luminosity blending layer. When I add an adjustment layer like a curves to change the image contrast, if in the normal layer setting, I will also be changing the color data and besides changing contrast I will also alter the color (hue & saturation) of the image. To eliminate the color shift I adjust only the luminosity layer.

The kicker is that in Grayscale the Luminosity layer blend mode is not an option since a black and white image has neither hue or saturation. So when I am changing the mode from RGB color to Grayscale Black & White, the adjustment layers I use for the RGB color creates a conflict in Photoshop for the conversion. A dialog box pops up and asks to eliminate these adjustment layers, so instead I proactively flatten and eliminate the layers prior to making the mode change from RGB to Grayscale.

As to the photograph in this post it is an image that pushes my artistic boundaries as I rarely work with such dark images. Nevertheless I do find it fitting and appropriate for the feelings I am investigating in this case; how might one feel if they did not have the ability to remember their past? Everything is a blank; words, the meaning of words, associations and the life and history of your friends and family, essentially everything about who they were.

Best regards

September 17, 2014

Memory Pods – exploring the possibilities

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#55 Ghost Pods copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This summer I have been continuing to explore the possibilities of my Memory Pods project that I initiated last May. The camera-phone in conjunction with the Snapseed App offered one alternative view point while the full frame digital offered a different, with the resulting collection of images looking a bit schizophrenic. I am still trying to sort this out, but at the moment, it is what it is.

Towards the end of the summer while looking at these photographs, I began to see the possibility of having some of the images in Black & White. A Photoshop Black & White conversion layer facilitates this process very nicely. After I tweak each image a few times while printing some test proofs, I will probably flatten the image stack and convert it to a Grayscale file.

For the early and subsequently much later period while memory loss is occurring for someone it is not a black and white situation, but a lot of gray areas as to what is exactly happening. This lead me to investigate when the memory loss is complete, how might I that experience be like? This is pure speculation as trying to discuss with a person with dementia about their experience is a difficult, if not futile, task. I observe that a person with dementia is usually not happy unless under a ton of medications, even then they appear more of a zombie, thus a gray palette seems very appropriate.

From my past photo-blogging experience I am dying to explain what the photograph in this post represents for me but now I realize that by explaining what it means for me might takeaway what this image represents and means for you, the reader. Nevertheless to provide a little hint I have included my title for the photograph. Enjoy!

Cheers

July 8, 2014

Keep Singular Images ad free – purchase a print!

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Untitled (#39 Memory pod series, Middle Age) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

August 2014 Update: this offer has expired! I will soon have some special print offers and due to all of the feedback I have received since posting this (thank you one and all), all prints will be in limited editions.

Cheers!

The Management


 

I founded the Singular Image photo-blog seven years ago, in part to provide an on-going discussion of my evolving vision, as well as in the words of Gary Winogrand, “to see what my photographs looked like”. This effort has been self-funded until now and now I require some additional assistance. Thus I am going to make what I think it is a really nice offer (actually described by another photographer as a sophisticated offer). Rather than requesting outright donations to support this blog, I am going to instead, much like Kickstarter, provide a special print offer. This is an opportunity for you to purchase an open-edition archival pigment print of any photograph of mine that I have posted on this blog in the past seven years. There is only one caveat; the print size will be limited to an outside dimension of 8 ½” x 11” otherwise the print will move into my Limited Edition sizes (and a much different pricing!).

So here is the print offer to support this blog:

Each open-edition archival pigment print, 8 ½” x 11”, matte finish, signed on verso (back of the print) is available for $100.00 U.S.D., which normally sell for $200.00. The shipping and handling (s/h) of each order is $25.00 U.S.D. for anywhere in the world, so multiple print orders to one destination will only require one s/h charge (even more savings!!). The print will not be matted and the photograph selected must be made by me (as I have also from time to time discussed some other photographers work and illustrated the post with their photographs on the blog). Easy as eating pie!

So page through this blog, find the photograph(s) you like (Yes, you can purchase as many as you like) and then leave me a note in the comments section of the post that you want this print offer and provide me with your email address. I will send you a PayPal invoice and ask for a shipping address and soon this print will be your hands.

I am not exactly sure how many photographs I have posted over the past seven years (I am pretty sure that I have the negative or file with very few exceptions) but I believe that there are more than 890 photographs to choose from. If there are any potential conflicts with the photograph, I will let you know.

If you have any questions, email me!    doug@douglasstockdale.com

So now please get started!!

Cheers!

As I hope you know and understand I really appreciate all of your support for these past seven years and now I hope for a few more years yet to come. Thanks!!

And if you are interested in a larger Limited Edition photograph, please contact me.

 

June 10, 2014

Memory pods – 45

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:04 pm

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Untitled (Memory pods #45 – Absence of Memory pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

While taking a diversion and playing around with the HDR mode with a number of my earlier photographs from the Memory pods project, I have been working with some darker thoughts. Which has resulted in some darker photographs, which is another new area for me.

For this project, what is a visual representation of when I might not have any memory pods left or functioning? To not have any memories at all, is that the same as death? Told you that I was having some darker thoughts. So not sure of how far to visually push this, but I feel that I need to extend well beyond my comfort zone. It’s not as though I am ruining the photograph by pushing the darkness factors in this version, but many times I place artificial boundaries on myself as to what I can or should not do. So I am looking at the dark side. (Okay, no star wars puns, please)

One of my images from this recent investigation.

Best regards,

June 5, 2014

Memory pods – 39

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Untitled (Memory pods #39, Aging Memory pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This Memory pod project continues to evolve, but since my subject is evolving towards the end of it’s bloom and seed cycle as a subject it is about at it’s end for this year. I really can’t recall if this plant blooms once per year or twice, but I guess by the end of this year I will know.

When I started this project last week the plant’s pods were pretty vibrant and green. This week the pods that remain are slowly turning brown and thus providing more opportunities to investigate memory with the passing of time. Not to difficult to understand that as we age, the neurons don’t spark as fast, while for some, regretfully, the neurons are literally gone, which is the inspiration for version #39, above.

This image may appear a bit different from the previous version in another way as I have switched to the full frame Canon 5D instead of the Samsung camera-phone. Because I still have an interest in the Snapseed app on the Samsung, I will probably photograph my subject with both cameras. Okay, for this session I will not be getting out the Hassie and film, a bit too late to start that.

Cheers

June 4, 2014

Sub-Warp Speed

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:26 am

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Untitled series (Warp Speed #01 – #07) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is a mini-project that explores the time-space continuum and the effects of traveling at sub-Warp Speed. With the advent of another Star Wars movie in the making and been awhile since the last release, most are not familiar with the experience of approaching light speed or what is looks like to peer into a gigantic interstellar black hole.

Enjoy & may the Force be with you!

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June 3, 2014

Memory pods – 27

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:45 pm

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Untitled (Memory pods #27, A Missing Memory pod) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

A version of this photograph was one of my early Memory pods #05 that I had heavily manipulated, see below. In conjunction with version #01, this photograph was drawing me deeper into this investigation of memory and its preservation. In both versions of this photograph, I was interested in the visualization of the missing (memory) pod. With the desaturated version #05, I think that the stem that is missing the pod is very subtle, almost lost amongst the forest of parts, as compared to the version #27 above.

I had not really noticed until last night the the missing pod also meant the death of the stem that had supported it, which was now turning white. The whiteness of this stem as it was in the midst of dying gave me a jolt. I have heard that for the Japanese culture white signifies death and is a color of morning but I am unsure of this. Nevertheless, it is strange to see the whiteness of this stem as compare to the others which still retain the pods.

Second, I have provide a more descriptive title for this photograph. While working on this body of work some of the images seem to elicit a possible name in addition to the series number, but until now I have not included it. I will see how this aspect of the project progresses and if a title of a photograph seem appropriate, I will add it to my working files, then determine the path forward.

Cheers!

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Untitled (Memory pods #o5, A Lost Memory) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

June 2, 2014

Memory pods – 25

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:42 am

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Untitled (Memory pods #25) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

After developing over twenty of the memory pod images using the Snapseed app on my Samsung camera-phone, I am going back and looking at these same images again. I might say that these are “straight” images that do not appear to be tweaked. The image above is the first image I manipulated with Snapseed, Memory pods #01 and the image that drew me into this project.

Actually my fist thought was about the capabilities of Samsung 4 and how close it can get to the subject, what would pass as a macro photograph. I am almost sure that my 24-105 L lens on my Canon 5D can duplicate this. Well perhaps if I were to take an image and subsequently crop it to blow up the central region, which I may actually try tomorrow as a what if. Actually this Samsung photograph is pretty impressive.

Nevertheless, this is my first real foray into plants, macro photography and heavy manipulated post-exposure images, as prior to this neither the plants or macro photography was of much interest to me.  I have always seem to have an interest in abstraction, which for the last eight years has mostly been using in-camera using prolonged exposure durations.

I think I will revisit some of the other earlier photographs from this Memory pod series to see what they might look like “straight”.

Cheers!

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