Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 13, 2008

Observation Bench IV

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 4:49 pm

Observation Bench IV” form the series Tijeras Creek, copyright of Douglas Stockdale

A SoFoBoMo 2008 production

Best regards, Doug


  1. Before I started taking quite so many pictures of people, I felt for a while I was taking pictures of scenes that felt like empty stages. Places where the actors were somehow missing, or about to walk on and start performing. An empty place, waiting to be brought to life.

    I get that feel from 3 of these shots, perhaps even more strongly because a bench has such a strong association with someone sitting on it.

    Observation Bench II breaks that stream for me a bit. I actually think I prefer the empty ‘where are the people’ theme I found when I saw IV, III and I (in that order) then saw II and felt let down, for want of a better word :)

    IV seems the most successful in giving me that feel that everyone has just left, for whatever reason.

    Comment by Gordon McGregor — May 14, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

  2. Gordon, I have been debating with myself since I took the photograph of the observer in OB II. Taking urban landscapes with someone in the picture is not my norm, so that this is a stretch for me, either way, so I am still undecided to include it or not;- )

    But for OB IV, I think that it has to do with the playground set in the mid-space, as there are always kids on playground equipment. Some were on their way when I photographed this just before they arrived!

    And I really like the word picture of the ’empty stage’, I may just have to borrow that, thank!!

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — May 14, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  3. Well stretching your norms is often a good thing.

    I’d agree in IV it isn’t just the empty bench but the empty playground that felt somewhat erie(?) because as you say we are used to kids being there all the time.

    I spent a while trying to move away from my empty stages, finding ‘actors’, getting people to play parts and I’ve enjoyed that process I’m thinking of swinging back again now!

    Comment by gordonmcgregor — May 16, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  4. Coming from a long period of landscape photography, the issue of ‘people in the picture’ was a no-brainer; just rocks, water, grass and trees;- )

    The urban landscape is another issue, as their are plenty of people about. The human element can be implied without anyone present. So it may be the comfort zone of working with people, either friends or strangers. Without the people, the urban landscape becomes a huge still-life photograph.

    Without people in the image, I think you then allow the viewer to come into the photograph with their contextual understanding and thus it creates a multi-layered image.

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — May 16, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

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