Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 31, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy and SoFoBoMo 2009

Filed under: Books, Photography, SoFoBoMo — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:41 am

When I signed up for SoFoBoMo 2009, I had no idea what my photographic project was going to be. So it was a DaDa moment and I just arbitrarily made up a weird title as a place holder. Hopefully no harm done, eh?

And perhaps today is a convergence of ongoing thoughts and random occurrences. Okay, that’s my life.

I will try to be brief, but here is what seems to have happened today. I finalized my LBCC PhotoFest half day presentation, and I am waiting for some digital book photos for one of my pending reviews to finish my illustrations for photo projects. So the whole underlying reason for a photographic project has been on my mind.

Concurrently, I have been putting the finishing touches on my folio Foundations, with an update on my thoughts about why I photograph the natural landscape. Hint, I have the emotional internal dialog which is not getting on paper very easily. sigh.

Then, not that I don’t have enough books already, I stooped at the local large Borders, which does a pretty decent job of stocking current photographic books, and sure enough, America by Zoe Strauss caught my eye. And it  did end up coming home with me, but I am not going to get to write about it on The Photo Book until probably May. That doesn’t mean I will not be reading it a bunch of times before then!

AND the recent book by Andy Goldsworthy, Enclosure, caught my eye. Now this is where it gets interesting. BTW it did come down to budgetary constraints, and Strauss won this round. Anyhow, back to my story:  Goldsworthy creates sculptures, which include transitory works in Nature, usually in the U.K., his home base. And he also photographs his own work and his photographs are wonderful! As he stated in one of his earlier books, Hand to Earth,

“Taking the photograph is not a casual act. It is very demanding and a balance is kept in which documentation does not interrupt the making.” and he continues “Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image.”

Well done Andy, both in the creativity of the work, which for me includes the photographic traces.

Well something triggered an interesting idea for me. During the period a few years back when I was mostly painting, I did a small transatory project on the beach in San Diego. I created some two dimensional works in an area where the top layer of sand was much lighter than the darker base strata just below, and mixed these in conjunction with the incoming tide. And I did take some photographs, but I did not think much of the photographic capture of the work at the time. It was a lot of play and discover.

So now with my currently developing series, Insomnia, I have been creating my own sets to further explore my ideas. So why not do the same for SoFoBoMo 2009, to create a series of works to be photographed? So now my mind is running, and my moleskin is getting a lot of good use, capturing a bunch of interrelated ideas on this concept. Now I have some time to dig a little deeper before this whole SoFoBoMo thing starts, to better outline my intent. nice.

Best regards, Doug

Editorial change: I had initially dropped the word “not” from Andy’s quote above in the second sentence, sorry about that. Now it is all good.

March 28, 2009

Foundations – Limited Edition folio updates

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 8:54 pm


Old Snow, Big Bear Mountain, 1978 copyright of Douglas Stockdale

I have been inventorying my existing photograph prints regarding my re-embracement of Limited Editions. For the silver gelatin prints that I have made over the last twenty five years, that continues to be daunting, as another one resurfaces every now and then as I dig through my piles of “stuff” (I’d rather not use the term my wife describes it as).

One of the outcomes from this process is to restate my Landscapes: 1975 – 1985 folio that I created a year ago, as a Limited Edition folio. I need to update the Authenticity page to reflect which print number is in each folio, and number the prints themselves on the verso. For those folios that I have already sold, I will be just sending out the updated Cover Page/Index, Colophon, Introduction and Certificate of Authenticity.

So in anticipation of figuring out how many of each print that I actually printed, I have started to re-print parts of the folio for the update. And I hope to have this all completed in the next couple of weeks. So in anticipation of completing the updates for the Limited Edition folios, I have just added a link on the side to help promote a few more sales.

I have also reconsidered the Limited Edition folio’s price in light of the current economy.  The remainder of the first five folios will be at my introductory price of $1,200 each, including shipping worldwide. I will start incrementally increasing the Foundations folio’s price with number six. So here is an excellent opportunity to purchase a complete set of 12 loose prints, pigment ink on 8 1/2 x 11 308gm Hahnemuhle Photo Rag and enclosed in an archival folder.

The other component that is being revised for this folio is a re-statement of the Introduction. I have had more time to reflect on the meaning of this body of work and have realized that the initial Introduction was insufficient. Thus an updated statement. So I think that this will probably be the last page printed for the folio.

Best regards, Doug

March 25, 2009

Series – Project with Flow

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:46 pm


Yesterday, Wayne’s comment regarding my article about the Swallows Day Parade as a potential new “series” has led me to further redefine my intent with the use of the word “series“.  Why and how I use that word to characterize a group of photographs. Which is a pretty good idea before I stand before the 60 or so folks at the LBCC PhotoFest for my half day workshop.

I have had two interneral meanings or associations with word “series“, as in my appling it to a “Photographic Series”. First, I had been calling any body of photographic work based on a theme a “series“, mainly because I did not like the popular word “project“, as in Photographic Project. As Wayne has rightly pointed out, in the pure sense, I was really bastardizing the word “series” while using it in this manner.

The word project had its own issues for me personally, as it was tooo related to my day job, one aspect is being a project manager for clients to develop their medical devices for FDA approval. The dictionary has one a nice diffinition for project that may make it easier for me to default to;  an undertaking requireing concerted effort. Not too bad. Anyhow, I had started using the term series because I did not like using the word project. For me, both series and project imply a body of work, just a little simpler to state.

My secondary use of the word series is probably more in line with the point that Wayne was making, that the photographs might be meant to be viewed in a serial progression, which is what I call Flow. You can not look at a group of photographs all at once, they are experienced singularly. When viewing mulitiple photographs, the order may be random or may be organized to been seen in a specific pattern. I like to think that there should be an underlying order in which the photographs should be viewed, although on many occasions, that is of my own making. Much like hanging a photographic exhibit in a gallery.

Case in point, for my body of work I call In Passing, I have spent time considering the pairing of the images if published as a spread, as well as the sequence and order that I would like you to look at them. When I self-published them in my book, I had control of that flow of images. But this particular body of work does not neccessarily have a required flow to be appreciated.  Such that when 20 of these images were published in LensWork magazine, I had no say in the sequence or pairing of the images, but nevertheless, I received a lot of very favorable feedback about this body of work. Thus, my serialization of this body of work was very arbitrary, but part of my creativity was determing how I wanted the photographs to be viewed sequentially, and what emotional effect that might create. I had used the word series  in perhaps the broadest of intents.

On the other hand, my current body of work that I have in progress, Insomnia: Hotel Noir does have a defined start and ending photograph. Because part of my intent is to have it experienced as a short story and as well as exploring the underlying emotional themes imbedded within it. This project is meant to be experienced as a series of related photographs. I also realize that how the series flows during the narrative passages, as to which photograph is placed where in the sequence, can very wildly, and again, my creative endevor is to determine what sequence best communicates my intent.

So I am now thinking that the word project is not so bad after all, but I still like the idea that I am developing a body of work that may be best seen as a series of photographs. Especially since one of my intended outcomes of any of these photographic bodies of work is the publication of them in a book.

Best regards, Doug

March 22, 2009

Swallows Day Parade – Another series in the making?

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:21 am


Two Little Gunslingers, San Juan Capistrano, March 2009 photography copyright of Douglas Stockdale

Sometimes it seems that when I start thinking about taking photographs, I start thinking about them in the context of creating a series. Which was the case today at the annual San Juan Capistrano Swallows Day Parade. This was the second year that we attended, as my granddaughter/son-in-law are in the parade with the Indian Princesses and their famous spinning canoes. And this is one of the largest non-motorized parades in the U.S., don’t ya know? (Also means lots of horses and the stuff they sometime leave behind).

So this year, I have been writing notes as to what the parade symbolizes to me and others. So it was a series of thoughts; fun, festive, holiday, party, celebration, cowboys and horses, excitement. I thought, is there a Robert Frank moment here? Well, not for me. And I started thinking about how I felt at parades like this while I was growing up. So with all that in mind, I just started taking photographs.

At some point, these two little “gunslingers” moved forward to the edge of the parade to the side of me.  So I stepped back and behind them and then dropped down to frame them with the horse riders. I just knew that I had to compose this from their perspective. To try to incorporate their awe of seeing cowboys ridng real horses.

Initially I created this photograph in color, but the color of riders clothing in the background was too distracting. Thus I went to a black & white adjustment layer to tweak the relative contrast and tonal seperations, and then added a hue/saturation adjustment layer to provide a slightly warm tone.

I think I had a two-gun rig at this same age,  I can now remember the white pearl handles along with a fresh roll of caps, my cowboy boots, white cowboy hat and all of the other cowboy trimmings, including a western shirt with pearl covered snaps. My dad had tooled a western belt with I thought had real silver tips. Wonderful memories.

So the start of another series, which is to be continued next year, at the same place. Next year, I hoped to be a little better prepared as to what I want to accomplish.

Best regards, Doug

March 20, 2009

LBCC PhotoFest – Developing a Photo Project – Full

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:21 pm


JiaShan Waterway with Hutong Boat  photograph copyright of Douglas Stockdale

Last night we had the annual print exchange at the monthly Photographers Exchange meeting at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, which was a lot of fun. I donated a small limited edition photograph of JiaShan Waterway with Hutong Boat that included my personal chop mark (chop mark not shown in the above photo). I added an Ellen Butler color photograph to my personal collection, so thank you Ellen.

When it was announced during the meeting that I was providing the half-day workshop at LBCC PhotoFest, a couple of folks stated that they could not sign up for my workshop because it was already full. And so a quick check over at LBCC this morning, and so it is. I had been rather consumed getting my other Portland workshop prepared, that I had not been checking into the status of my LBCC PhotoFest Workshop.

Well, I guess I had better fine tune my presentation draft and finalized the couple of breakout sessions that I have planned. Nice, two consequtively sold out workshops.

Best regards, Doug

March 19, 2009

Oceanside CA

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:54 am


Oceanside photograph copyright of Douglas Stockdale

After the trip to Portland last weekend, I was really enjoy the SoutherCal sunshine. Today, we had a chance to meetup with some family from Florida and Kansas who were staying at a time-share in San Diego. So we met about half way in Oceanside, which with the sunny forecast for today, I was expecting the beach to be nice. But it just goes to show you that you can’t count on what you will find at the beach.

Foggy all morning and into the afternoon at the beach and yet most folks acted as though it was a sunny day. And fog rolling back in again as we left. A spot or two of bright sun light searing through some thin areas of the fog. Oh well. But it did provide some untraditional beach landscapes. While capturing a couple of these compositions, I recalled some other untraditional beach landscapes that I have captured over the last couple of years. hmmmmm, I think that I might have another new series in the works.

Best regards, Doug

March 17, 2009

Workshop notes

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:32 am


23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR

My Developing a Print on Demand Book Workshopin Portland at the 23 Sandy Gallery over the weekend went very well. The more normal Portland weather for this time of year, overcast and spitting rain and drizzle, made for a great day to be in doors.

Since the workshop occurred during the Photo+Book exhibition at the gallery, there were a  lot of interesting examples to look at for ideas during the breaks. And Laura’s husband cooked up a wonderful Lasagna for lunch, which really hit the right spot. nice.

I also found myself making a bunch of notes for changes in the Workshop, some minor tweaking with some adds and deletes. I also recieved some good ideas about improving my work flow, such as I had been modifying the book photographs in Photoshop by assigning a color profile (e.g. from Adobe RGB to sRGB) versus using the Convert function (Image>Convert to Profile).  One of the great things about workshops is the interactive learning that takes place with the side conversations.  So a thanks goes out to Joe Sawicki for that one.

And Laura and I are already discussing the next Workshop, as there are a bunch of folks who expressed an interest but then found out that it was already Sold Out. So we are looking at the calanders again for later this year.

Last, I was able to acquire at the gallery a stack of the current Photolucida’s Critical Mass books that have become available, including Camille Seaman’s The Last Iceberg, Amy Stein’s Domesticated, Louie Palu’s Cage Call, Donald Weber’s Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl, and Hiroshi Watanabe’s Findings. All of course these will be reviewed over the next couple of months on The Photo Book.

And so I ended up toting back a ton of books, the ones that I acquired and additional copies of mine that I had produced for the workshop, just in case. So if you are interested in a signed copy of In Passing or my Sharpening for POD books, let me know. If you want to use a credit card, I’ll send you a paypall link you can use.

Okay, now to start drafting my Workshop presentation for LBCC PhotoFest. Oh, and I might have started on a potential new series for NW Oregon. I need to think a little more about this before I say any more.

Best regards, Doug

March 14, 2009

In Portland

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 5:11 pm

We are now in Portland, sorta of getting prepared for tomorrow’s workshop by spending the day going wine tasting for Pinot Noir. But the weather has changed to more of what you would expect in Portland at this time of year, wet & cold.

The last couple of days have been sunny & wonderful, with a brief drive down to Silverton and hike in the snow and an opportunity to photograph some natural forms and landscape. Also a chance to meet Alison Crosby at Nazraeli Press and a nice discussion about Nazraeli and acquire a couple of interesting book, including Jeremy Stigter’s The Jewish Bride. Meanwhile, I have had Nina Berman’s Homeland along with me on this trip.

So this is a real book trip.

Best regards, Doug

March 10, 2009

Why certain series seem to work

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 4:22 am

I received a comment this evening on a much earlier post, but following it back I encountered a very interesting article on the blog Photography, Psychiatry and the Nonexistence of  Time, about the difference between how our brains might process black & white images differently from how it might process color images.

This might help with me understanding why black & white continues to maintain an important presence in photography, when you rarely find any current or contemporary black & white painting. Essentially all paintings are created in color.

Which dove tailed with my recent re-read of my book about Paul Outerbridge Jr, who sometime in the late 1920’s stated that “Black & White suggests, while color states”. hmmmm, that is not necessarily entirely true today. But that still resonates with me on a more non-technical level,  that for certain photographic series, they seem to do extremely well in Black & White. In fact I have a hard time being able to think of some of them in color, but they could only exsist in black & white, such as Fleuret’s Landmassess and Railways.

Likewise, looking at some current series, in particular like Blackmon’s Domestic Vacations, I don’t think how that would series would work in black & white. It just is in color. And the list goes on.

Which is probably why when I re-started my Insomnia series, I just could not think of doing this series in color. Nope, not at all. I thought that I had made the complete transition to color photography with my series on the urban & industrial Chinese landscape. Well, come on, that is what I thought. But egads, that did not last long, eh?

So I will have to take it series by series and just let the work and series tell me what I need to do. What else can I do, eh? But now I have a hint as to why one series may work better in color or in black & white.

Best regads, Doug

March 9, 2009

Portland Workshop: Sold Out

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:25 pm

I just received word from Laura that my workshop for next weekend is Sold Out and then some. nice.

I spend most of yesterday finishing the workshop PowerPoints and printing them off as handouts. When I woke up this morning, I had some inspiration about a couple of more things to add to the presentations. So I will update a couple of the PowerPoints tonight, but those will be in the presentation, just not in the handouts.

And I have received inquiries from a couple of other groups about providing this same Photographic Book POD Workshop. This is somewhat similar to what happened for my consulting practice over the years, I provide one workshop and others find out, and over time, more invitations start to trickle in.

The workshops seem like a lot more fun than trying to get the stock photography stuff up and running. So for the moment, I think I shall defer to what I am more passionate about; teaching, coaching and sharing. I’ll come back to the stock photo option if I need to at another time.

And so my thoughts are turning back to the development of my Insomnia series and preparation of my next workshop at LBCC PhotoFest on Developing a Photographic Series. (and yes, Gordon and Anita, I have been looking at the different Digital Recorders to buy, but I make no promises as to what I will do with what I record)

Best regards, Doug

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