Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 25, 2009

Series – Project with Flow

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

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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

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3 Comments »

  1. I do remember a Brooks Jensen podcast where he talked about the care he puts in to sequencing the images for a particular body of work when publishing them in the magazine.

    Not just the overall flow of the images, but also the pairwise relationships of images on a particular spread. I hadn’t thought that the photographer would be out of that particular loop, but I can see now that it probably has to be that way, mainly for the editor’s sanity.

    I remember going back and looking at lenswork with the awareness of this thought process, and really noticing how each image related to the one on the facing page. It was a useful insight.

    Comment by Gordon McGregor — March 25, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  2. The only input I had with Brooks was during my interview, when I mentioned what I thought was the lead-in photograph, which he stated that he would use it the same way. Otherwise, it was a complete surprise for me to see his pairing and sequencing in the final printed magazine.

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — March 25, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  3. […] published in Singular Images March 25, 2009 Comments […]

    Pingback by Series - Project with Flow March 25 2009 « Insomnia: Hotel Noir — April 13, 2009 @ 8:27 pm


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