Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

August 7, 2015

Buzzz about Branding for artists

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:59 pm

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Neighborhoods (LA, 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Recently there has been a spat of articles recently published about the necessity of artists to “brand” themselves to improve their presence in the art world, which of course includes photography. This of course means that the galleries can increase the price of the artists works, which should benefit the artists as well. As to the collectors, this might benefit them too if they are into art as an investment.

So what does this all mean and is it good or bad for an artist? In the broadest sense, it means that you might instantly recognize an artist’s work at first glance. Jeff Koon’s bubble sculptures come to mind. The modern works of Ansel Adams are almost a trademark, e.g. Moonrise over Hernandez, thus an effective brand. I think the contemporary black & white dreamy photographs of Keith Carter and Susan Burnstine or the wide angle photographs of Lee Freidlander or the gritty black & white photographs of Roger Ballan as recognizable “brands”. It means that a photographer/artist has a particular way of translating what they feel or see into a visual record. It usually means that they do this somewhat consistently.

Yes and if another photographer thinks that this “look” is urber cool, they might try in some way to emulate this look, thus for photographers, a brand can be borrowed. I think of the number of long exposure black and white photographs of water that other photographers published after Michael Keena’s raise to fame. Nevertheless, they all found themselves being compared to Keena, much like my early black and white landscape photographs were compared to Adams. At first I took this as a compliment as to the quality of my photographic work, but then after a while, this became a detriment, as it implied that I did not have an original vision, but just copying some else, thus living in some else’s dead shadow.

The pro’s of a brand have been stated above, an artist becomes “recognizable”, thus a greater intrinsic value is given to their work and many good things can come from that. As to the cons, one that comes to mind is that like having a nice pair of well broken in hiking boots, you might find your self limited in what you can do. Can’t do much long distance swimming wearing hiking boots. Thus if your recognized style (brand) is black and white documentary photographs using very wide angle lens (my hypothetical), a color portfolio of non-documentary photographs might not be as well received. Thus the reason why some artists abhor being “branded” as a potential limit on their creative options.

If one really, really enjoys making photographs in a particular way and you like how the resulting photographs turn out with a unique set of processes, e.g. large format tintype portraits, then you might find your self creating a style or brand.

So to understand that the buzz about why an artist should have a brand (a particular visual appearance) can become a double edged sword if you are not careful.

For me, (yes, I have a MBA, thus graduate level classes on this subject), I am not sure that I have a particular look per se (I do enjoy looking at and creating both black and white photographs as well as color photographs), I would rather think that my brand is my conceptual investigation of memory and identity. Hopefully that will allow me a lot of latitude on how I choose to investigate this subject.

Cheers!

July 12, 2015

Douglas Stockdale – BC Space exhibition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 3:28 am

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Douglas Stockdale, photograph by Diane Reeves, 2015

A self serving public announcement; we enjoyed a very nice opening reception at BC Space gallery in Laguna Beach last Thursday. I was curated into a group show by Mark Chamberlain, the Owner/Director of the gallery. I had a couple of prints from my Memory Pod series, pictured with above, in the exhibition. I must admit, the prints looked really nice framed and matted on the gallery wall. I appreciated that these two prints were hung in close proximity to each other as these were intended to be complementary (yep, I did not have any say as to how these were to be exhibited, a matter of showing up for the opening and seeing what the curator has decided).

So if you are on the Left coast in down in the Southern California region, an interesting exhibition to take in (pretty diverse group of photographs), which runs thru the end of August (2015). The BC Space gallery is open Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Trivia, this is also one of the oldest running photographic galleries in Orange County.

Cheers!

July 3, 2015

American Independence Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 5:58 pm

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Untitled (San Clemente, CA 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Celebrating the American Independence Day, July 4th, this weekend. Which usually means a BBQ of something delicious.

Earlier this week while working on my neighborhood project, I saw this house decked out with all of the American flags in anticipation of the Independence Day weekend, thus a great composition to share now. Please enjoy and have a safe weekend holiday.

Cheers!

June 27, 2015

Neighborhoods – LA

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 9:45 pm

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untitled (LA Neighborhood, June 2015) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I informally started a little project simply titled Neighborhoods and these are photographs of things that I have found interesting as I walked various neighborhoods. Not sure what to otherwise call this series, or what I might do with it, but my muse whispers carry-on! So I will.

In reflection I think that this might be a continuation of a project that I starting worked on in 2007 when I was commuting to a job in Riverside. I briefly tried to shoe-horn a similar concept into a self-published book for SoFoBoMo about the same time in 2007-8.

So as some projects go, I go in and out of these until something really gels. I will continue to post a few more as I develop them.

Btw, this photograph was taken while attending the exhibition opening for Paula McCartney at Kopeikin Gallery in LA earlier this month. I had reviewed a couple of her books for The PhotoBook so it was a great opportunity to meet up, as she hails for Minneapolis, MN. During a lull in the exhibition, I walked out the back of Paul’s gallery and saw this interesting composition across the alley and it just drew me in. I think it is somewhat of a LA Stereotype for what folks outside the area think our neighborhoods might look like. The palm tree in the background seems to ground the image and work off the other elements.

Cheers!

June 13, 2015

Internet infrastrature changes

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 11:02 pm

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Memory Pod #122 copyright Douglas Stockdale 2014

Internet infrastructure changes is a fancy way of saying that my current internet sucks. I need a new system, but like all things, there are some complications. So for a short time I am adding some duplication and running the old system while getting the new system on line. Not an easy thing to do when I have been using the same email for the past 10 years, I have to figure out where I have used it and off course let everyone know about the change. Okay, more about this later, right now I am working on a new host for my web site and it appears that I will be using PhotoShelter as the back-bone for the web site. Nice templates and so far I can figure most of the stuff out to make it appear similar to my current site.

I would rather be working on my photographic projects than pretending I am an IT guy, but hopefully, I will not need to endure this again for a while once the transition is complete.

Cheers!

Oh, the image above was just framed for a group exhibition at BC Space (Laguna Beach) that is tentatively planed to open July 9th. More on that later.

May 20, 2015

Surfer, San Onofre Beach

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 5:55 pm

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Surfer, San Onofre Beach (San Clemente, CA) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Duncan Miller Gallery is again providing a one-day special for one of my prints, this one is Surfer, San Onofre Beach. The archival pigment print is 8″ x 10″ in an edition size of 10.

For more information on purchasing this print: http://eepurl.com/bnOU8r

Cheers!

Doug

April 23, 2015

SnapSeed App upgrade found lacking

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 8:02 pm

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Memory Pods #23, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Last year at this time was an interesting convergence; while investigating the macro capabilities of my Samsung phone I found a potential metaphoric subject to explore the idea of what dementia looks like and a good photo buddy, Jim Mckinniss, turned me on to an interesting phone app called SnapSeed. So I decided to really play with the SnapSeed app while working on this project, really push my own boundaries. Yes, the straight documentary guy was now becoming Mr. Abstract-Impressionistic. Okay, perhaps not that abstract and more turn of the 20th century impressionistic.

One of the SnapSeed filters called the Grunge filter was fascinating (even fun!) and when I set the controls towards the max, I could create some interesting poetic and soft lyrical photographs such as this image #23 from my series, above. I could quickly and easily push my hard-edge, conceptual realism boundaries. After a while I started dialing back the Grunge effects, but it had some unique capabilities that I was getting used to as how these complemented my vision.

Fast forward to last week Jim tells me that he has an upgrade to the SnapSeed app. So after a quick check of the Google app store that the SnapSeed looks much like it did before, I uploaded the new version hoping that they added some cool goodies. Well they did add a couple of things, such as Glamour Glow, Noir Filter and a Spot Repair tool and I think Transform tool, but alas what is completely missing? Yep, the Grunge filter!!!

Admittedly I was dialing back on when and how I was using the Grunge filter, but it had some pretty niffty features.

So my advice is if you have the earlier version with the Grunge filter and you enjoyed it effects, DO NOT UPGRADE your SnapSeed app!!! btw, Jim had his Samsung set up for auto updates and his upgrade just showed up.

Bottom line: I WANT MY GRUNGE FILTER BACK!! (yeah, like this is as effective as spitting into the wind)

Best regards,

April 12, 2015

Memory Pod #121 available from Duncan Miller Gallery

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 9:56 pm

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Memory Pod #121, copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

After some additional consideration, I have decided to incorporate the revised image above formally into my Memory Pods project. I discussed it’s evolution in a previous post.

Thus today I was happy to learn that Duncan Miller Gallery featured this photograph in their YourDailyPhotograph.com program, which is a daily email blast of two or three photographs that are available for two days at a nice discounted price.

The available image size is 5″ x 5″ printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ with archival ink print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (matte) in an edition of ten with two artist proofs. Looks really nice.

Cheers!

March 19, 2015

Budding Memory Pods – next version

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:36 pm

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Untitled (Budding Memory Pods, March 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this week I posted this same image, but a version with a very distinct blue hue. After having this matted blue version on my work bench for a while, it dawned on me that this was a nice Singular Image, but it would not eventually become part of my Memory Pods project. That said, I still might change my mind, again! I guess that a blue version might carry some metaphoric connotations of actually feeling “blue” or depressed, which is not what I am thinking. A budding flower is about expectations and hope. For me, this phase of the Memory Pods is when the memory is being formed.

So I tweaked this image some more, eliminating the blue hue for one that may read more like a Platinum print. I also worked on some options to introduce some grain, really pushing the limits and finally decided that if there is any grain, it should be minimal.

So now, all in all, I think that the resulting print reads like something that would be included in this project, thus a better print to bring to the print exchange tonight. As to the print; image size is 5″ x 5″ on matte paper. I will have to say that after over matting it looks really nice.

Meanwhile, my buddy with the 120mm Makro lens for my Hasselblad just realized that he had lent that lens to someone else. So if I want to use this combination for my project, I will need to buy one, pronto! I was hoping to try his lens out and see if I would provide me with something close to my visualized photographs before making this lens purchase. sigh.

Cheers!

March 18, 2015

Budding Memory Pods

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:36 am

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Untitled (budding memory pods) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this week I had posted that I was finding myself being drawn back into my Memory Pods project. The photograph I posted was pretty close to a straight documentary image (which in retrospect is pretty boring at that). I was interested investigating the start of the whole memory pod evolution; the budding of the plant as the flower stems start rising above the plant.

Meanwhile, I have am also exploring some alternative ways to visualize this project, such as this photograph above, made the following day as the one in the earlier post. What a difference, eh?

I also found myself last year working these two visually different alternatives, “straight” and “interpretative” as I am just not sure where I will end up and maybe even have a mash-up of the two options. I will have to say, of the two images that I have recently posted, this is the one that has captured my interest. I tweaked the overall color slightly from a slightly greenish cast to incorporate more blue after posting this photograph earlier on Facebook.

Tonight I printed it to see what it looks like as an object on paper framed by a white four-ply white matte. Nice. Later this week I will be attending an annual print exchange meeting with some photo friends and I think that this will be my print that I will bring for the group.

For the reminder of the week, it will be sitting on my work table.

Cheers!

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