Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 14, 2014

Flow of Light Brush the Shadow – Snow Shovel

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Untitled (Snow Shovel, JinShan, January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I recently posting about finding one of my landscape photographs at the top of both Bing Images and Google Images. After letting the shock of recognition wear off, I went back to both with the same search term, contemporary landscape photography, and started scrolling down further.

Yikes, it did not take long for me to find another of my China photographs, above, to appear! I had blogged about my photo project Flow of Light Brush the Shadow in 2011 and this photograph was used to illustrate my progress on the project.

As to this photograph, the unusual snow fall had taken most of the local folks by surprise and like this man, few were really well equipped to handle the deepening snow. What I had not noticed at the time I made this environmental portrait was that the handle of the man’s shovel was actually made from a tree branch.

Up to this point in 2008, I had not attempted to include individuals in my urban landscape photographs, perhaps even going to some great lengths to exclude their presence. During this trip and since, I have made a determined effort to try to include people. This is one of my better attempts.

Meanwhile, another of my photographs that is bubbling up on the internet dog pile.

Cheers!

November 12, 2014

Contemporary Landscape Photography – JiaShan

 

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Untitled (Winter Field, JiaShan, China January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

You might image my surprise when I was poking around Bing images last week in-between events and I did a search on “Contemporary Landscape Photography” to see what might come up and the very first image was….mine!

Yep this photograph above that I created while in China in 2008. And to be sure that I was not hallucinating, I just did the same search again and yep, very first image was this one, again. Amazing.

I had posted this landscape photograph with a short discussion about what potentially makes a great Contemporary Landscape Photography in March 2008 shortly after my return from my third trip into Eastern China.

Trust me, I do not believe that I have created the definitive contemporary landscape photograph although I think that this is one of my better urban landscape photograhs made during these trips. As to why contemporary? Perhaps that the composition is very banal and ordinary in appearance and for me as the author, a bit more about my quiet introspective mood at the time, no real “subject” other than the frozen tracks in the field leading from the foreground towards the horizon. The furrow on the right also leads the reader to the horizon with a momentary break created by a lone, stark and barren tree. Thus the narrative is indirectly about a journey that has some melancholy undertones, probably a bit of how I was feeling going into my third week on this last visit.

This photograph may be getting such a primo spot on Bing is probably more about the power rankings of the internet. The more frequently seen, the higher up on the dog pile it goes. Nice to be on top of the dog pile!

Cheers!

October 24, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 5

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Untitled (#89 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 5 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 and my other BWC photographs, please check out my previous post, here. Today’s post also completes my 5 day BWC.

This photograph, as well as yesterday’s photograph, is part of an on-going investigation of mine that is exploring the use of seed pods as metaphors for memory and indirectly identity.

In this photograph I reflecting on what occurs after all of the seed pods are gone. For me this is a metaphoric portrait and the question as to who is a person who has no remaining memories? Perhaps they are now a ghost of their formal self, barely existing without any recall of the past experiences, only momentarily aware of the present moment, which too is another event that will shortly vanish.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 5 is Paul Mounce.

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 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

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

February 21, 2014

Emaho magazine

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:34 pm

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“American” photobook titles, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

I have been just invited by Manik Katyal, founder, editor and publisher of EMAHO magazine to be a contributor to his magazine joining he and Colin Pantall as photobook reviewers. We are still working on the details of what that means, but the short answer is that he would like to co-publish my book reviews that I post on The Photobook blog. You may also recall that Katyal featured my artist book Pine Lake on EMAHO magazine.

Katyal has also asked that I focus on American photobooks, as Pantall is located in the UK and is predominantly covering the European photobook scene. When I stated The Photobook blog in 2009, one key aspect of this project was for me to look at photobooks beyond the borders of the U.S. as I see photobooks having a intercontinental reach. So this has stirred mixed emotions, but fortunately Katyal has not asked me to be a book reviewer exclusive to American photobooks.

With the internet and social media I observe a really quick mashup of ideas and concepts being shared amongst photographers and book makers. This request to be an American specialist is an interesting one. I am in the midst of reading America Latina Photographs (1960 – 2013) recently co-published by Museo Amparo, Fondation Cartier in conjunction with Thames & Hudson. American Latina covers an extensive and diverse region, extending from Argentina and Chile north to Mexico and includes the Caribbean islands. The curators/authors devolve into question of what does the term America Latina photography signify. I think the same beguiling question encircles the idea of American photobooks. Thus expect me to be equally broad and diverse while to looking at American photobooks.

I will start by broadly defining American photobooks as those created by someone born in America, someone who has moved to and resides at least a part of their time in America and photographers who reside in places other than in America who in turn investigate the culture, landscape and society of America.

An example I have in hand is Andreas Oetker-Kast’s recently published photobook Looking for Wonderland, a German photographer who made an American road trip investigation transversing across the U.S. Likewise Andrew Phelps, an American photographer who now resides in Austria who returned his family home to investigate a region of Arizona titled Haboob. And quintessential American photographers such as the late W. Eugene Smith and his three volume opus Big Book.

My photobook reviews will not be exclusive to the American photobook, but perhaps I will become a little more keen observant as to what is being published with regard to America.

Cheers!

footnote: the photograph of the American photobook stack, above, is also an investigation into the use of my recently expanded studio space. Another work in progress, but so far, so good.

January 30, 2014

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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