Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 13, 2008

David Plowden

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 7:52 pm

Vanishing Point - David Plowden

Vanishing Point, photograph copyright of the artist, David Plowden

Last October 2007, David Plowden published his retrospective urban/rural landscape photography book, David Plowden: Vanishing Point. I have not seen the images within the book, but checking his web site, I think it may be like visiting old friends.

I believe that Plowden may be one of those early photographic-phylisophical influences for me. In fact, I just pulled my copy of his book Commonplace out of my stacks and realized that I have looked at the images often, but have not read the introduction in some time. Commonplacewas published in 1974 and I probably purchased my copy in 1974 or maybe 1975. At the time, this was Plowden’s eighth book of photographs of the American urban/rural landscape.

I had purchased this book just before I started to become more interested in the natural landscape. The printing of the book was kinda of gritty and stark as compared to some other photographic monographs that I purchased at the time. I thought that the printing was appropriate for the images, also stark and contrasty.

Unlike the other landscape photographic books in the mid-1970’s that I was reading, Plowden’s introduction spoke of the urban landscape as a reflection of ourselves.  A concept that I did not fully understand at the time. I had found many of his images interesting, but I didn’t get fully what he was writing about. If only I had then. But the good news is, I do now. And maybe I understood more than I was willing to admit!

And so now, besides understanding his use of the urban landscape as a mirror for ourselves, I am also wondering how much of an impact of his photographic ‘style’ is on me? And so I now look at his images with a little better clarity and make a comparison to my own photographs, to look for the compositional and subjective similarities. And if there are similarities, such as a people-less urban landscape photographs, then I can just recognize that he was an early influence, prehaps much greater than I had every realized.

Best regards, Doug

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