Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 17, 2018

Middle Ground – Book-dummy #4 for presentation at LACP tomorrow

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:57 am


Middle Ground, Book-dummy #4, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the take-aways from the leporello book-dummy kit that I had received from the printer was some additional design tweaks to the cover. Two days ago I received a couple of samples of the revised cover design; I think a Winner is in the House!

To complete this dummy, I had to tip in the anticipated photograph for this cover, above, then glue in the leporello pages and simulate the interior cover page. One of the final design tweaks is to decide if I want to have the project and my name on the front cover or only printed on the spine. As it appears now, above, without text on the front cover, it appears to have a unobstructed look at one of my subjects, which I think is in alignment with my concept for this project. Now thinking, maybe add a paper belly band with the additional text?

I have some ideas of how to further strength the book design with some very minor tweaks and I am looking forward to meeting with my printer, Dual Graphics, at the LACP Spring event tomorrow.

So I am getting ready for my first show-n-tell with what I think is the final design (the presentation at PADA earlier this month was with the pending book design, and first book talk about the project) for this project. I have to pinch myself that I am on the edge of getting this project published after an intense year and half working on it. Since I am still considering a Kickstarter to raise the funds for printing, I will be taking names for the growing interest list again tomorrow.

Kinda weird holding this book dummy knowing that this could essentially be the first real example of the final intended book. The interior pages are still off the copy machine, so these pictures don’t look so great, but provides the look of what the leporello design will approximate. Lessons learned from an earlier book-dummy; use thin copy paper so that I don’t increase the depth of the interior to the point that it does not fit within the cover! This is getting really exciting.

So I am looking forward to my two LACP presentations tomorrow, a mini-seminar on Photo Book Pre-visualization and moderator for the Photo Book discussion panel on How to Get Your Photo Book Published, while getting some more feedback on this book and project.

Reminder: Let me know if you want to be placed on my growing interest list ( for Middle Ground. More news about the final price and fund raising campaign shortly!

March 15, 2018

Middle Ground – Revised & expanding artist statement

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:56 pm


Marker #34, Middle Ground, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this month I had posted about how I was obtaining some feedback on my project Middle Ground which kinda of set me back a tiny bit regarding my artist statement and the underlying concept. But in a very good way.

I have known that frequently artist, including photographers, are not the best persons to fully understand the full extent and meaning of their own art-work. Which is not to say that we do not have a focus (luv that term for photographers) on what we are attempting to document or subject to investigate for a project. Usually we have a reason to embark on a specific artistic endeavor, but we may not fully understand all of the artistic and aesthetic nuances of the project. I think this may be due to the emotional blinders we inadvertently have as a result of being too close to the project.

Thus the reason behind what I have always been a proponent of getting your work seen by others, then carefully listen (which means you are not talking or planning your rebuttal) to what is being said. For me it was having the work on my project advanced to a certain point of development (yes a bit of pride or insecurity of showing raw work and potentially getting slammed) that I felt I understood it well enough to clearly articulate where I was coming from and heading towards. So now I am starting to get some critical feedback, which has mostly been constructive.

Case in point; is my concept was entirely creating a visual satire on a pending WH wall just because somebody made a presidential campaign on building a bigly one between the U.S. and Mexico?

I had thought so, but I am now getting to understand that this could also be a symbolic wall or barrier for other broader social, cultural, political, economic and religious issues. That my subject is a urban-barrier that is actually located entirely within America, it could be symbolic of the recent internal political barrier(s) erected by the WH to block, impede and otherwise stop the DACA Dreamers from reaching their goals of acceptance and potential citizenship. Wow.

Thus my project which at one point in the beginning appeared to be addressing a very specific issue has become much broader in concept and scope. In some ways, when this project was really focused on one idea, it was nice and tidy. By making this concept much broader in scope creates a bit more messiness, which I am adapting to. Just continuing to try to get my head around it. So at this point, I will take it one part at a time to get this artist book out there and see how organically it grows from there.

So in the meanwhile, I have modified my artist statement to expand on the symbolic nature of this urban-built structure as to the broader social, cultural, political, economic and religious issues we are facing as a country.

Let me know if you want to be placed on my growing interest list ( for Middle Ground. More news about the final price and fund raising campaign shortly!


March 13, 2018

Book-dummy kit from printer for Middle Ground

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:52 pm


Leporello Book-dummy kit, Middle Ground, 2018 Copyright Douglas Stockdale

You know that when you are self-publishing a new book you are getting very, very close to the final design when you receive a book-dummy kit from the printer, who in this case is Dual Graphics, in Brea. This is a leporello book-dummy kit, for Middle Ground.

The book-dummy kit is pretty basic; interior sheets that are made with the intended printing paper for the book’s publication, in my case a glossy paper (Verso Paper, Sterling Gloss, 100# book), one of the papers that I had included in my Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book. Since this is a leporello book, each sheet has six pages plus a half-inch wide tab for binding (gluing). So I was able to take eleven of these interior sheets, glue these together in series and have an interior mock-up dummy completed for my book design. Nice.

There are also mock-ups of the book’s cover, which in my case is going to start with stiff-covers. After constructing the interior leporello dummy (above), it was apparent that we had not allowed enough for the width of the spine to accommodate for the thickness of this stack of paper. The interior sheets were hand creased and folded, so the on-press production process is going to provide a tighter and more compact stack of paper, nevertheless, I still need a bit more width for the spine.

The cover stock was still a bit on the light side, so since we need to redo the cover samples, the printer is going to provide a heavier stock (18 point) up to the maximum their presses can handle.

Another design tweak is to increase the size of the cover just a tiny bit more to allow a nicer interface with the interior leporello block, since these will be hand bound by me. I need to allow for a little more exterior coverage just in case.

At the moment, I need to complete the Middle Ground Book-dummy #4 for my presentation this weekend at LACP. As part of my book presentation, Photo Book Pre-Visualization, I will use this book dummy to illustrate my point. Also a chance to promote the pending publication and add to my interest list! Also, still time to sign up if you would like to join me at LACP this Saturday (March 17th).

Since Dual Graphic will also have a table this weekend at LACP, it will be a chance for me to work with the printer off-line as to how this book dummy is coming together and determine if we need to make any further design tweaks.

Busy, busy, busy! The fun just never ends!

Reminder: Let me know if you want to be placed on the now growing interest list ( for my Middle Ground limited edition artist bookIf you can help me network for potential exhibitions (pop-up weekend, month long, what ever!), I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part of my update to be repeated very often!)



March 11, 2018

Middle Ground – Revised edit – again

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:38 pm


Middle Ground, revised edit, March 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

At this point the realist side (aka the practical engineer) of my personality is kicking in. While I would really, really like to have a large commercial (trade) photobook of the leporello design published, I am not sure that I can obtain the financing for this book in advance of its printing. I have been thinking about a Kickstarter program to make the trade book happen and while that idea is still lurking, I am now working on a scaled down version of this project, both in book size and book quantity, that I can self-publish.

Which is leading to the development of my Middle Ground book dummy #4 that I hinted at earlier. The edit for this new dummy is a work in progress, see photo above. I have the maximized size of the book from the printer for a digital litho printed leporello book, essentially six pages per blank, with a small end tab for the binding process. The trim size is now 7-7/8″ wide x 6-1/2″ high. This will provide a very nice image size and when the leporello is fully opened, the pages will extend about 15 feet, still an impressive length.

To reduce the printing cost I have redesigned the book with one photograph per page (printed on front side only of the leporello), for a total page count of 66 pages from the previous 132 pages for the trade book. The main reason for the new edit is that instead of viewing one image at a time there will be two images per spread and I need to consider the interplay of the paired images. The overall sequence is thus slightly modified but I have the same visual intent of the progression.

For the revised photobook my intent now is to self-publish a limited edition artist book, with the edition size of 99 books, plus artist proofs and a few extra for advertising and display copies. To keep the costs in line, I will be performing the hand binding for the leporello, which means there are 11 glue joints that I need to perform to complete each book. To ensure that the leporello lays correctly, this will be a slow and tedious process, which means that the book cost will not really reflect that amount of my labor going into each book, but each book will be personal and probably a bit unique as a result. This book binding process will take a good bit of time, so I need to decide to do all of the binding before I start shipping or ship the books as I make them, probably a couple of books per day?

Let me know if you want to be placed on the now growing interest list ( for my Middle Ground bookIf you can help me network for potential exhibitions (pop-up, weekend, month long), I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part of my update to be repeated very often!)


March 9, 2018

Mentor-ship opportunities thru LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:17 pm

02-28-18 Stockdale during Photo Book Presentation for PADA by Karen Schuenemann

Douglas Stockdale, Palos Verdes Art Center, 2018, photograph by Karen Schuenemann

I am very honored and excited to announce that I am part of the inaugural LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) Mentor-ship program that was just formally launched by this LA organization. This builds on my recent LACP experience as a workshop leader for my Introduction to Photo Book Design (next workshop is two weekends next Oct), Portfolio Reviewer, mini-program presenter and discussion panel leader.

LACP is proud to announce our new Mentorship Program. We have hand-selected Master Photographers and Photography Professionals for this program who have the skills to guide you on your particular photographic journey. Through one-on-one meetings over the course of a year or six months, you can develop skills, complete a project, hone a portfolio or book or learn marketing strategies to ultimately pursue your photographic dreams.

This is a an opportunity to work directly with me over the span of up to a year on the development of a photographic project(s) including concept, editing, sequencing, layout and design which is equally applicable towards an effective project, portfolio or a published book.

I am joining a wonderfully diverse mentoring team associated with LACP, including Elizabeth Avedon (NYC), Susan Burnstine, Julia Dean, Crista Dix, Greg Gorman, Aline Smithson, Sara Terry and many more. As might be expected, my expertise is with photographic projects that may eventually lead to developing a photographic book.

As stated by LACP; “Whether you have an idea for a project, a project that is just getting started, or one that is complete, but needs a little help getting it out in the world, our Mentors are there to assist you and to help you realize your goals. The right Mentor can help you get your endeavor off the ground and on it’s way.” amen.

There are provisions for those local to LA and from afar to take advantage of this mentor-ship opportunity thru LACP. As might also be expected the pricing of this program is a bit more attractive to become a member of LACP. Full details of the LACP mentor-ship program are available here.

So if you are intrigued in the possibilities of how I might help you with your photographic project or career; check it out,  or if you want to know more, drop me a line (


March 6, 2018

Middle Ground – Book Dummy #3

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:14 am


Middle Ground, Book Dummy #3, leporello design 2018 copyright by Douglas Stockdale

This is an update on my artist project Middle Ground and the background story of why I created my third book dummy. In one regard I am very happy with this book dummy as this is the very first time I created a leporello book from scratch.

But first, why a third book dummy? A quick recap, the first book dummy was a proof of concept that helped me further visualize this project in a book form. What I quickly realized is that I did not like the loose and unhinged covers, that I like the covers connected with a spine. What I did like is how my concept for this book was developing; that by carefully cropping each image, I could create a continuous line with the top edge of the border wall as the leporello unfolded. Very, very nice!

The second book dummy was made at scale of what I intended the book to look like with the interior images an impressive 12″w x 9-1/2″ h. Now this looked great. The other design aspect was whether to include a small white margin around each photograph, which I had included in the book dummy #2.

To help with that design question, I created this book dummy #3 in which the images are trimmed with a full bleed. In checking with my prospective printer, I found that I still did not trim enough of each image off to simulate the book printing process. But it was enough to understand that I had one important image that was at risk with a full bleed printing process. Perhaps I did not need to create a complete book dummy to understand this aspect, but I also wanted a scaled-down version to be able to carry around with me (book dummy #2 is too big and too  awkward to carry around).

The fun part of building this entire book from scratch was playing with the wrap around cover (below) in which one of my images will extend from the front to the back. I am also realizing that in order to do this, I need to seriously crop the image and may not visually work as I intended. So this is another design issue to wrestle with; what to do with the outside covers.

I am now in the midst of getting some final printing quotes and we are working on some alternative designs for the interior layout and covers. This may lead to a Book Dummy #4. But after watching to Oscar’s last night and how Jordan Peele re-wrote his screen play like 20 times, the fact that I might need to do Book Dummy #4 is like a walk in the park (plus, did I mention how fun it is to build a book from scratch?)

Equally interesting is in a discussion with a Mexican photographer/book artist friend, in addition to having the colophon in both English and Spanish (España) also understanding how Middle Ground symbolically investigates the issues of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the Dreamers. So more shortly about how that will be broadening the scope of this project.

Let me know if you want to be placed on the interest list ( for Middle Ground, which delightfully is steadily growing and if you can help me network for potential exhibitions, I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part to be repeated very often!)





March 3, 2018

Photo Book as Art – Artist talk at PADA

02-28-18 Stockdale during Photo Book Presentation for PADA by Karen Schuenemann

Douglas Stockdale’s Photo Book Presentation all photos by Karen Schuenemann

I think that my Photo Book as Art presentation that I had announced earlier was a pretty good success judging by the interaction, questions and follow-on inquires about the various aspects of book design and publishing. This artist talk was for the Photography and Digital Arts (PADA), a group of the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC).

I curated a small pop-up exhibition of a diverse selection of international photo books that have been recognized by the contemporary photo book community as having artistic merit. This included Mariela Sancari’s self-published Moises (one of the best photobooks of 2016), Claire Felicie’s self-published Only the Sky Remains Untouched (second place, Photo Independent’s International Photo Book Competition), Ellen Korth’s self-published CHARKOW (winner, Photo Independent’s International Photo Book Competition), Roger Ballen’s Ballenesque and The Theatre of Apparitions, Max Pam’s Ramadan in Yemen, Kate Nolan’s Neither, Andrej Lamut’s Nokturno, Renee Jacobs’s Slow Burn (limited edition version) Tymon Markowski’s self-published Flow, Harvey Benge’s Home Town Dream, Matej Sitar’s self-published America, My Way and Nancy Rexroth’s IOWA. I also shared by Blurb book dummy In Passing and introduced my photobook Middle Ground to illustrate the development of a hands-on book dummy, which I had all three versions of Middle Ground (see blow).

My self-published Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Photo Book and a copy of LensWork #74, that includes my In Passing portfolio, were included in the raffle for those who attended at the end of my presentation.

Again, I appreciated the great hospitality (yummy snacks and adult beverages) and warm welcome for my artist talk. That I also sold a couple of my books was a nice and unexpected bonus. A great photographic group to consider if you live in the greater South Bay region of Southern California. Thank you PADA!


02-28-18 Stockdale Photo Book Presentation for PADA by Karen Schuenemann

February 28, 2018

Middle Ground – Book Dummy #2 at scale

Filed under: Books, Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:00 pm


Middle Ground, Book Dummy #2, top view 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this month I had discussed my first book dummy (proof of concept) that I had developed for the Middle Ground project to explore the idea of using a leporello (accordion) book design.

My next step was to create a book dummy (#2) that has the page count and interior photographs would be at the approximated final (trim) size of what I had envisioned. This should be very similar to the reader’s experience and I really wanted to visually how the 12″ wide page images would look. To simulate the final book with this book dummy, I took a page from my book design workshop and placed my photographs inside a similar size and designed book. In this case the backbone for my book dummy was the leporello book by Robert Lyons, Pictures from the Next Day, published by Zatara Press, which I had reviewed earlier here.

The Lyons book is slightly larger than the trim size I had envisioned, but using this book as my back-bone allowed me to experiment with another design element for this book; did I want small white margins around each image or did I want to have the image printed full bleed without white margins? For the later, I did make another book dummy (#3) with full bleed images for comparison. The white margin is a design issue related to aesthetics, practicality and consistency for my concept.

I think practicality is going to drive this decision as a full bleed means that when each page is printed, a very slight portion of the image is trimmed away. So would any of the images suffer as a result of this? Regretfully I do have one important image in which part of the subject just barely touches the top of the image frame. Any trimming of this image during the book production I feel is going to have an adverse visual effect on this photograph.

All in all, I really enjoy the large images that result with this book dummy. The question may come down to the resulting cost of this book. I am in the process of obtaining some printing and bindery quotes to potentially self-publish this book as soon as possible.

I posted a poll over the weekend as to the question of which of the conceptual subjects for two different projects is more of concern and it appears that finishing this project first is not an issue. Also as anticipated for the daily unexpectable with our White House, da’ wall was a news item again over the weekend. So I will keep moving ahead!

Let me know if you want to be placed on the interest list ( for Middle Ground and if you can help me network for potential exhibitions, I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part to be repeated very often!)

In the image below, after adding the photographs to the Lyons book, I also started adding some post-it notes about the design and layout options. Btw, the ensuing thickness of all of the leporello pages with my images clipped in created such a bulky mess that I can not close the book cover on this dummy. Increased my sensitivity for the thickness of the book cover’s spine needless to say.



February 25, 2018

Investigate the waste Billions or potential (Nuclear) War?

San Diego Point of Entry

San Diego Port of Entry (Middle Ground) 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While thinking that since I have essentially completed my political satire about the #stablegenius‘s “da wall” and ready to get ‘er launched as I posted earlier this week, I find my self distracted by another of the #stablegenius attempts to divert everyone’s attention away from the Russian probe into his shady business and political practices. Regretfully each day brings on a new emerging crisis with our #stablegenius in the WH. The current senseless economic baiting of another #stablegenius whose poverty nation also has nuclear arms and who has a long term irrational resentment towards the United States?

So I need to reconsider; do I need to launch my Middle Ground project about the pending waste of billions of dollars to build a senseless wall in the middle of the desert miles and miles away from any habitation OR instead refocus on finishing my anti-war project Gardening for Ordnance?

I fully understand that either of these photographic projects may not have any effect on a real #stablegenius, but either might have an effect on those spineless enablers who continue to allow all of the senseless crap to happen. Or at least in my wildest hopes. What the heck, if a bunch of emotionally impacted high school kids in Florida can start a real anti-NRA movement, it provides much needed hope that anything can happen!

So what do you think?

Finish my political/social satire (Middle Ground) that might stop spending billions on a senseless wall?

Or shift priories and immediately attempt to finish an anti-war satire (Gardening for Ordnance) that hints at the dire consequences of war?

Thank you.

February 23, 2018

Photo Book as Art – Artist talk and discussion of Middle Ground

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Middle Ground, Photobook, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 10:05 pm


America (Middle Ground Book Dummy #2), 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For those on the left coast next week, I am very happy to announce that I will be speaking on “Photo Books as Art” for the Photographic and Digital Artist Group (PADA) at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. For non-members there is a $10.00 fee, with the good news is that you will also be in the drawing for one of my photobooks.

Additionally this will be the first opportunity I will have to introduce my current photobook project, Middle Ground, a political satire (political protest book).

The PADA announcement:

Douglas Stockdale, artist, educator, mentor and founding publisher of The PhotoBook Journal will give photographers tips on using photobooks as a way of presenting their portfolios and as works of art in themselves at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. At this meeting, sponsored by the Photographic and Digital Artists Group (PADA), Stockdale will review selections by the editors of The PhotoBook Journal for their “Interesting Photo Books for 2017”. 

The books to be discussed will be available at the presentation and can be previewed on The PhotoBook Journal website

Admission to this event for non-PADA members is $10 and automatically enters the ticket holder in a drawing for one of the speaker’s books.

Two of Stockdale’s limited edition artist books were recognized, respectively, as one of the Best Photography Books for 2017 and 2014. He has curated/juried photobook exhibitions for Photo Independent and Fotografia Internazionale di Roma, Rome, and co-curated with 10×10 Photobooks and FotoBookFestival Kassel (Germany) and was a guest curator for LA Photo Curator.

The PhotoBook Journal Features & promotes photographers & artists & their published work


Hope to see you there!

For social media (FacebookTwitterTumblrInstagram & LinkedIn), I will be using the following hash tags for this Middle Ground; #MiddleGround, #NoNewWall and #NoWall.

Let me know if you want to be placed on the interest list ( for Middle Ground and if you can help me network for potential exhibitions, I would really, really appreciate that very much!! (expect this to part to be repeated very often!)


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