Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

April 21, 2016

Guest curator for Photo Book Independent

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:08 pm

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As a follow-up to being one of the judges for the Photo Book Independent book competition, I am honored to also be providing two curatorial discussions of the juried-in books as well as the other photobooks available during Photo Book Independent.The schedule for talks, book signings and curatorial discussions has just been posted.

The first curatorial walk will be held first on Friday night at 6pm just prior to the VIP opening of the exhibition space at Raleigh Studios (yes, a functioning sound stage in the midst of the film capital). The second walking discussion will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am just prior to the opening for the general public. I am planing on an hour discussion, but be prepared, it could last a little longer depending on the questions and answers.

For the juried-in photo books, since I was part of the judging and had developed the judging process, I am planning to provide a little back-ground on the judging criteria. How did we decide which books were interesting and provocative and which did not seem to past muster and capture our attention? If you were every thinking about submitting a book dummy or photobook to a competition, this could be an interesting discussion for you.

The good news, my curatorial discussions are FREE to participate, but the space is limited and if you want to join for what I hope is an interesting, fun and informative event, you need to sign up for it NOW: http://photoindependent.com/talks-and-book-signings/

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Cheers!

April 17, 2016

Instagram learning curve

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:05 pm

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3rd Street LA Art district 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I stated at the beginning of this year that I am now posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale), so I am new to this platform. I have been getting a few (very few) pointers from my daughter, but I figure if I look and play, I should get this figured out.

I was not expecting a ton of folks looking at my photographs and becoming a “follower”, nevertheless I feel like I was moving at a glacial pace. So my aha! moment yesterday was when my daughter posted a photograph with a bunch of hashtags. Duh. Okay, so I am old.

So I began to poke around Instagram this morning, as I thought hashtags were a Twitter thing. I was so wrong. So now I know and I imagine most of you already knew and now you are wondering what kinda of stone age guy I am. So I will tell you; old enough to process my analog black & white film!

The good news is that I have not posted that many photos on Instagram, so it should be relatively easy to edit in a few hashtags for each photo, which I started this morning. Now of course is the hashtag choice issue; which ones to link up to with each photo? If its not one thing, its another.

As to this photograph above made earlier this month, I noted the juxtaposition of the real bike with the background wall art while I was up in LA during the photobook judging for Photo Book Independent. By tightly framing the two, I think the resulting image creates a nice metaphor about the dreamlike experience of biking, even in the urban city. I guess you could also see this as a different narrative after noticing that the bike is chained down (restrained) and that the owner also took the bike seat with him to further deter a bike thief. As a result that this image could have alternative readings is very appealing to me.

Okay, back to working on my print portfolio for Photo Independent, which is quickly approaching!

Cheers!

 

April 15, 2016

Photo Independent – Print Portfolio progress

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Memory Pods, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

An update on my progress to prepare for Photo Independent regarding my print portfolio(s) as previous discussed. First, the idea that I had to quickly prepare a print portfolio for Photo Independent was quickly stressing me out. Needing to quickly select the prints (yikes, which ones out of the project?), then matte and prepare the prints, and ensure that I had all of the outer bags to protect the sold prints was just a little too much on short notice. Yes it could not be done as I have jumped through these types of hoops in the past, but did I really need to?

I think its about expectations; if you are at an art fair then you should have prints for sale. Well honestly I do have some items for sale; a trade edition of Ciociaria, two limited editions of this book, my hand-made artist book Pine Lake, some out-of-print copies of LensWork #74 that feature my In Passing project and probably my Foundations mini-portfolio. So I think I am going to take an alternative pathway for my prints that will work best for me; bringing a print portfolio or two of work-in-progress and ask for feedback. This could be a win-win opportunity for me.

So at the moment, the first work-in-progress print portfolio will be my Memory Pods project. I have not been posting much of my photographs for this project created with the larger format Canon 5D equipment. Thus this photograph will be new. I have also been working on the artist statement for this project, which I will print and have available at Photo Independent to provide to those who have an interest in this project. I am also planning to have an interest list to capture names and emails of those who are interested in this project for follow up as the project comes closer to publication and exhibition. And of course I will need to update my web site with the images in the portfolio, which I will announce here when I have completed it.

Cool, I am doing much better already! And a back-up supply of pigment ink for the Epson printer just arrived so I feel energized to dig in and start printing. This is going to be fun!

Cheers!

April 7, 2016

Exhibiting at Photo Independent

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Memory Pods 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have just been notified that I am accepted into Photo Independent at the end of this month. I was anticipating that I would be included in the Photobook Independent, but I was just notified that I can also have a print portfolio in addition to my photobooks. Yikes, I was not prepared for that wrinkle. The event in LA (Raleigh Studios in Hollywood) is at the end of this month April 29 – May 1, 2016, so although I do not have much time to prepare, I will make the most of this opportunity.

As to which photobooks to bring and sell, that is the easy part. For the print portfolio; which one? I will have a limited space to display, so from past experience, far better to focus on one portfolio than try to show a little bit of everything. What I did learn in the past is to hold in reserve at least one smaller (both size of prints and quantity of prints) portfolio that might come up in discussion.

I have been looking to publish my project In Passing – Lest I Forget, but I am not sure that this is the right audience. So I am thinking that this will be my portfolio that will in reserve. As to the display portfolio, I am leaning towards my Memory Pods project. I really don’t have much time to fret over this as I need to start printing for the portfolio this weekend.

Such problems to have, eh?

Cheers!

 

April 5, 2016

Urban Tree – Spring

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:30 pm

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Urban Tree, Spring 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Perhaps like Edward Steichen in his later years, I find myself photographing a backyard tree, as I had posted earlier here. Perhaps this could develop into a photographic project, but for now, I am content to think of this as a pleasant on-going series.

Cheers

April 3, 2016

Photobook Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:01 pm

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2016 photobook jury team

As I announced here last month, I am part of the photobook jury team for Photobook Independent and the first photobook competition (me in the white shirt in the group photo above). More about the rest of the jury, here. The actual book judging occurred in LA yesterday.

I can’t announce any results at this time as the scoring and final evaluations are still in progress. I do appreciated that the team accepted my photobook judging recommendation to evaluate/score each photobook on the aspects of: Photography, Concept, Design and Publication.

The submissions were diverse, interesting and for me, a daunting challenge to evaluate and score. I am more accustomed to spending a least a couple of hours with just one book, least try to evaluate more than 70 in the span of an afternoon. It did not help the judging process that I occasionally would slow to really spend quality time with a captivating book  and as a result that to no one’s surprise that I was the last book judge remaining at the end of the event. Oh well.

Next, we are working on a schedule for me to provide a curatorial discussion of the winning book selections as well as the other books available during Photobook Indendent (in LA) at the end of this month. More about that event soon.

Cheers!

March 25, 2016

Revising Black and White Conversion workflow

Filed under: Lest I Forget, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:45 pm

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Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In my last post discussing my evaluation of a new work flow for Photoshop CC, what was implied, but not really stated was that one of the key CC attributes under evaluation was the conversion of my color digital photographic files to Black and White images.

What had inspired my earlier change from Photoshop CS to CS3 was the addition of the Black and White Adjustment layer. Wow, was this every a great process improvement. Now with Photoshop CC comes the companion Adobe Bridge CC, which is the adobe RAW image processor. Bridge CC has incorporated an additional two color channels to further refine and tweak the color to black and white conversion. I am only amazed that Adobe was smart to include two additional color channels (Orange and Aqua) in Bridge CC, but did not think to add these two additional channels to the Photoshop Black & White Adjustment level. sigh.

Although I enjoy the further fine tuning that can be accomplished with Bridge CC during the RAW conversion, it does mean making a commitment to the Black and White adjustment settings before opening the file in Photoshop. As an adjustment layer in Photoshop it was easy to make some other changes to the image (such as a Curves Layer adjustment change) and then rethink my Black & White settings, followed by opening the Black & White adjustment layer and tweak the settings.

Martin Evening provides two options to make the Black and White conversion in RAW, one results in a Grayscale file (HSL/Grayscale RAW & Hue tab, click Convert to Grayscale, make adjustments and open file) and the other can opens as a RGB file (same HSL/Grayscale RAW panel, but select Saturation tab, move all of the sliders to -100 to entirely desaturate, then open the Luminance tab and make the adjustments to obtain your Black and White conversion, but then you can still return to the main RAW panel and make further adjustments with the Vibrance and Saturation sliders).

I tried both RAW conversion options, but I found that the direct to Grayscale seemed to work the best for me (at this time), which is the revised version of my image, above. For reference my first attempt with the RAW Black & White conversion is provided below, which is a just tad bit darker overall than I envisioned. Even so, it is not too far off the mark.

Now I think I okay to get back to working my new files for the In Passing – Lest I Forget project. Nevertheless, I still have a few new RAW tricks to iron out for the color photographs.

Cheers!

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March 24, 2016

Revising my Photoshop workflow

Filed under: In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:42 pm

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Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Late last year I moved from Photoshop CS3 to the Adobe Photoshop subscription CC (aka the 2015 version). A bit of new CC changes were in the way the RAW Browes/converter looked and functioned; a few of the controls were not so obvious to obtain the same actions in CC as I had become well accustomed to in CS3 (one of those nagging reasons I usually resist software upgrades).

One of my easy & quick investments to fix this issue was acquiring a copy of Martin Evening’s “Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers”, espcially since I was relatively happy with Evening’s CS3 version. So first thing I accomplished was how to make my CS3 workflow function with CC. And I was content for a while.

Now I am back into Evening’s book and realizing the greater functionality of the RAW converter to make even more corrections to my image prior to opening it in Photoshop. So even though I am not through reading the RAW section of his book (I am now into the fine tuning options), I wanted to check his recommended RAW workflow that might replace a bunch of what I was correcting/tweaking in Photoshop before.

I have two versions of one of my recent photographs from my In Passing – Lest I Forget project posted here. The version above is with Evening’s CC RAW workflow, and below is a version that I had developed last month with my old CS3 workflow. Even before printing these two versions I could see one big difference in the high contrast with my old CS3 workflow output, which required an adjustment layer to burn-in and try to control some of the highlights (and even then, not entirely successful). The CC image has a lower degree of contrast due to using the RAW contrast slider, which I adjusted the bulk of the data curve back towards center, reducing the overall contrast of the image. While still in RAW I adjusted the highlights and whites to control the very white and almost blown out plastic flowers on the memorial. On the CS3 image, I still have the whites of this same flower right at the edge of being blown out even after burning it in with an adjustment curve layer.

For the CC photograph as a printed image, the results appear quite nice. I like it.

So am I full convert to the new workflow; maybe. I have been making a lot of macro image adjustments with RAW before this while using CS3, so working in the RAW window is not entirely new. Nevertheless, I will work with Evening’s recommendations and after some evaluation, keep those that seem to be making life a little easier.

Now hopefully with these workflow changes I will not decide to go crazy and think that I now need to re-evaluate every RAW image I had every made. (I have done this before when I made the change from CS to CS3!)

Cheers!

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March 21, 2016

Observations – San Diego

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:33 pm

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San Diego, California, January 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As I posted earlier about making local day trips this year, I was just outside of San Diego for a meeting and while waiting for everyone to show up, I did a brief walk-about. Signs, as photographed most poignantly by Walker Evans in the 1930’s, continue to fascinate me. In this case, I found that my camera-tweaked image above is more interesting than my straight version, below. The sign and blockade were at the end of the short road, but seemed kind of redundant as there really is no-where to go, thus probably the reason that it is not being well maintained. I have not entirely figured out why this image is so appealing to me, but I suspect that it has some attributes of a past-memory. The surrounding foliage in disrepair seem to speak to me of confusion, chaos and uncertainty.

My second favorite of this afternoon’s walk-about is the photograph directly below, which includes a ladder protruding out of the water in conjunction with the reflections at this small construction site. It appears to me as though it is a site-specific environmental sculpture. It was a challenge to figure out a interesting composition from the construction mess.

Cheers!

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March 20, 2016

Winter – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:35 am

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Newport Beach, California, November 2015 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Today is the first day of Spring, so time to say goodbye to old man Winter!

For me, that means that I need to also say goodbye to the winter photographic weather, such as this day back in November that we were down in Newport Beach waiting for a restaurant to open. During winter we have clouds and occasionally rain in Southern California, now there will be a long series of cloudless, clear blue, and boring days.

Below are a series of cliche beach photographs I made in-camera and posted directly to Facebook; which were fun to create and play around with. The clouds from the earlier storm made for some interesting effects and compositions. The problem was with that storm-front came a very strong wind off the Pacific, which was really blowing sand and grit directly at anyone fool enough to stay on the beach. Nevertheless, I endured the wind and sand long enough to capture these photographs, then became worried about the blowing sand marring the glass on my lens. It was really blowing that hard, as trash cans were rolling along the beach and walk-ways.

Cheers!

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