Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 12, 2008

Experimentation

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 4:03 pm

SNA in transit 031108

I really, really enjoy the immediacy and feedback that is possible with digital image capture. It has allowed me to be more playful, have some fun, be inventive, and to take big risk much more than what I had experienced with my film days.  With film, the feedback loop was too long. I now understand why I had so much fun with the Polaroid film cameras and processes.

Thus, I have been experimenting at the speed of digital.

Potentially, the immedatecy was another reason that I had enjoy painting, apart from the tactile feel of the brush, paint and medium.  When I layered a stroke, I could immediately see the results. I may not like what happened, but I could see what did happen. And I could react accordingly. The same was true for the Polaroid SX-70 film, although a slight delay (as compared to processing my roll film), I could make a subtle (or major!) correction on the spot.

Of course with film, I could previsualize and stay in the moment of what was happening, but never absolutely sure that everything was going to plan. Until later in my darkroom, when I processed my film. And if I made a tactical error, toooo bad! I think that I have repeatedly complained about spending a week photographing in Colorado and upon returning to California, finding out my 120 film back had failed and all of my film was ruined, images and effort gone. Grrrrrrr.

So now, I find that I do experiment more and I can make subtle or major corrections on the fly. And I can immediately follow any inspiration that I have at the moment. If I don’t like what is happening, then immediately make a left turn and continue proceeding on.  Later, I can delete the files, no big penalty.  And I can learn from that experience, possibly draw upon that again later after thinking about what I was trying to accomplish, what worked, what didn’t, and start planning a new path to my goal.

And sometimes, I have a ton of new images to edit and can become overwhelmed, but if I take it a bit at a time, I can usually make sense of what appeals to me and what does not;- )

A new series that I am working on is a result of just that process.  I have been interested in expressing some aspects of life and living as a non static event, using a relatively static medium. A photograph is but a brief moment in time. But it has the capability to capture a longer moment of time with the graphic symbols that we associate from the blur in a photograph. A combination of the real and abstract, but one we get clues from that make connections.

My recent experimental process has proceeded as follows; long exposures of trees in the wind, panning my camera while photographing the urban landscape from a moving car, panning my camera with long exposures while photographing people on the streets, long exposures while photographing people doing various activities. From each of these small experiments, I have learned some aspects of photography to get the images that appeal to me.  And I get the immediate feedback to make the necessary adjustments to increase the amount of satisfactory images that meet my goals. Very nice!

That’s whats been working for me, and I hope that this (digital) medium has been helping you experiment and try some new things as well.

Best regards, Doug

1 Comment »

  1. Excellent post, Doug. I totally agree with the immediate feedback and the ability to keep changing your approach (angle, shutter speed, aperture, movement, etc), until you get what you want.

    That’s exactly what I call working the shot, which seemed to cause a bit of a stir with some people. Time has moved on from the film days, moreover, the ways of shooting, and greater experimentation is encouraged. This is not the same thing as being sloppy, if you will, and just shooting at random; however, what is wrong with that? By any means necessary!

    Comment by paul — March 13, 2008 @ 7:52 pm


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