Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

July 30, 2009

Successful book query

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:24 pm

I think that I have made a successful next step in publishing my project Insomnia: Hotel Noir, which is to have a book query acknowledged and a request for a formal book submission.

One big goal for Insomnia: Hotel Noir was to have it published by a traditional publisher. And one of the advantages of the multitude of photobooks that I review for The PhotoBook is becoming familiar with the types of books each of the many book publishers seem to be interested in. And each publisher does have what I will call a photobook personality. I will cruise through my photobook publishers links, to see what each of the publishers have just released or will soon be releasing. After a while, you can sense what type of photobook they will publish, as well as what kind of book is missing from their lists.

In my case, Insomnia is probably not destined to be a big hit book, which for the big publishers is between 10,000 – 150,000+ books, which are the books you will find in Borders and the like. Thus I think Insomnia is a better fit with one of the smaller publishers who print in quantities of 1,000 – 2,000 books, maybe even less. I also feel I need a publisher who is interested in a cinematic story, with an intriguing story line and open to photographer who is not represented by a photo gallery (yet).

One of my primary intent’s with the self-publishing of the Blurb version of Insomnia is that this would make an excellent book dummy for a publication submission. My one concern was that I had to edit (crop) a number of the photographs to obtain what I thought was a great looking book with the available Blurb format. Second concern, to ensure that a publisher knew that I was not tied to the hip with my Blurb design version and that I was open to another to work with a design team.

So I had linked my Blurb “book dummy“, my Insomnia blog, the project photos that I have on my web site  to an email to one publisher that I was very interested in and asked if they saw a potential fit and what their book submission policy was. Apparently that was sufficient information in my query that they could see how my book could fit within their book publishing interests and asked for me to make a formal submission.

Next step, I have to purchase additional 13 x 19 Harmon FB Mp paper, complete my monitor calibration and make a complete set of prints for my formal submission. I hope that I can have that completed sometime next week. Yeah!

Still a long way to go yet. I think of it as getting to first base.

Best regards, Doug

July 28, 2009

Monitor needs calibration

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 5:08 pm

Title says it all, my LCD monitor has drifted in its color and contrast calibaration. I had not printed any prints for probably for about three weeks. When I had allowed the prints that I made this last weekend to dry down, they were as close in sync to the monitor as I would have expected.

So a slight hiatus on my Chinese Picture Postcards until I can borrow the monitor calibration unit from a friend, probably have the monitor calibrated by next Monday. I think that I may have to break down and buy one for myself.

Best regards, Doug

July 23, 2009

Chinese Picture Postcards – cover

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:42 pm

JL032_JiaShan_waterway_boatmanJiaShan boatman, 2008 copyright of Douglas Stockdale

While I was working my way through the first edit of my photographs for the Chinese Picture Postcardsproject, this one photograph just jumped at me as the image that could be my potential photobook cover.

The project is a series of dyptichs, one of which will be a classic China photograph that you might purchase a post card of,  in order to send home to create envy or perhaps as trigger for a fond memory. The second photograph of the pair will be the reality photograph, about the change and upheaval I experienced within China.

And for me,  this photograph incorporates both of those elements. The old Chinese village with a picturesq boatsman paddling out to his destination on the river, but on the opposite banks, a row of modern, dense housing, which has risen on top of the old village hutong.

And this is starting to look like it could be a rather large book.

Best regards, Doug

July 22, 2009

Cameraless photographs – Calotypes

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:01 pm

Primal_Images_82   Primal_Images_3  

Photographs copyright of Jerry Burchfield

I have found myself very interested in a very old photographic technique that is as old as photography itself. Because making contact prints of objects on photo-sensitive paper was the very first photographic process invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841, which I wrote about here.

Revisiting Talbot’s calotype photographs was a revelation, they are stunningly beautiful. Then serendipity strikes again, as I have the opportunity to review two of Jerry Burchfield’s books, Primal Images (publ 2004) and his recent Understory(2009), based on this same photographic process (Burchfield calls his Lumen prints). Both of the images posted above are from his first book, Primal Images. Granted Burchfield did not publish every Lumen print that he has made, but the ones he selected for his book are wonderful.

For those who are not familiar with the process, it seems very beguilingly simple. You chose a specimen, such as plant, flower, foliage, or whatever, then put it on top of a sheet of light sensitive paper (that odd paper that people use in the wet darkroom with an enlarger and chemicals), then set this combination outside in the direct sunlight. Perhaps for most of the day. I guess you can peek at it, but you might run the risk of not putting everything back in the proper place, but then again, that might also be part of the creative process, eh? BTW, Burchfield’s rather colorful prints were created on Black & White enlarging paper, an odd result, but again, unpredictably delightful.

I understand that Burchfield fixes his images, but I have now heard of folks who don’t.  Regardless, the results appear fascinating.  This is part photography, part chance, part print making and you could end up with some very unique images.

The funny thing about this is that I had just decided that I was not going back into the wet darkroom and I had just given away three big boxes of multi-contrast enlarging paper, a box of 8 x 10, box of 11 x 14 and a relatively expensive box of 16 x 20. And I mean, only a day or so before I acquired Burchfield’s books. Was the timing an omen; Doug – don’t go there?

I do try to live a life of no regrets, but I sure wish that I had a couple sheets of that paper now to play with. I have a couple of flowers, trees and other plants that I would like to try this process with. So if there are some good souls out there with some old enlarging paper sitting on the sidelines while their inkjet printer is humming away, and are not interested in trying this out, I would be willing to accept you enlarging paper discard donations for some experimentation.

Best regards, Doug

Critical Mass 2009 Submission

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:46 am


Photographs copyright of Douglas Stockdale

I just completed my 2009 Critical Mass submission with the photographs from my project, Insomnia: Hotel Noir. A photo story that I use 36 photographs to tell and then I have to distill that down to 10 images for my submission.

The 10 photographs are here, with the book cover (above) as my lead in photograph. It should be interesting to see happens next, eh?


02_Entrance   03_Elusive_Connection


04_BedCheck   05_Restless_Night

07_Night_Light   06_AwayStation


09_Awakening    08_Sleeplessness  


Best regards, Doug

July 20, 2009

Photo Networking – another example – Linda Connor

Filed under: Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:40 pm


Cavallo Point Lodge bookstore

One of the occasional delights that I have, is that while working on one project, through a series of somewhat related connections, other great opportunities appear!

Here is my current example; while working on Linda Connor’s photobook Odyssey review for The PhotoBook, I found about a wonderful photographic place to creatively hang-out in the SF Bay area called Cavallo Point. And a small treasure trove of nicely printed and at this point, relatively unknown photobooks.

I had been writing her Odssey review, but struggling to find digital images from the book’s interior to illustrate my article on The PhotoBook. One good option is to find the photographers website and see what images are posted, or request the images from the photographer. In Connor’s case, I could not find a web site. hmmmmm.

But just at that same time, I was contacted by Ben Zlotkin, who owns Edition One Books, a print on demand publisher. He asked me to list his POD provide on the resource list of The PhotoBook, but then went on to mention some current books that he had printed for Cavallo Point resort, including Linda Connor’s  monograph. Serendipity strikes, with him mentioning Linda Connor, someone I was trying to find.

I remarked back to Ben that I was working on her book Odssey. In his reply back, he stated that he was mentioned in Linda’s credits, because she used Edition One Books to work up her dummy for Odssey. And sure enough, Ben and Edition One Books was mentioned in Connor’s credits. hmmmmm

So I asked if Ben was in contact with Linda and if he could connect us. Which he did, so a big shout out Thanks to Ben! 

And I asked Ben more about the Cavallo Point books, which he provided me with a sample of Mark Klett’s monograph, Time Studies. Oh wow, beautiful! These are some really nice books, so more about these book later on The PhotoBook.

So I did get linked up with Linda to obtain some needed photographs for my book review.  And I found out more about the Cavallo Point project, which Linda had been involved in during the early stages.  I found some relatively unknown books by twenty great photographers, a real treasure trove of photographic material, as these are all unique but well published books. And a great location outside SF with good access to the wine country. AND a great collection of photographs (800+), and maybe the best hanging exhibition of Imogen Cunningham, about 50 vintage silver gelatin prints which are hanging in the resorts restaurant for the next six months. And Edition One Books,  whic appears to be a really good publishing resouce for those who are interested in photobook self-publishing. And finally, linked up with Anne Veh, the photographic curator at Cavallo Point, with whom I have already had a great discussion about the Cavallo Point photographs.

Nice. In fact, very nice indeed.

Best regards, Doug

July 15, 2009

Chinese Picture Postcards

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:23 pm

JL017_Xitang_blog  ODC009_Jiashan_Construction_blogSmall

 Copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am continuing to think about what I saw in China over the nine months that I was there. China is a place that is in a rapid transition to try to become “modern”, and at the time, they had a ton of money to throw at their public projects.

And I think that there are enough pretty pictures of China, so I do not feel that I would add anything to that subject. But attempting to get into the issues and effects of change is something that I am interested in.

My earlier triptychs from Re: Development are still on my mind, but I am not sure how to proceed, so I am going to take a small step back and use some of those same images with the Chinese Picture Postcard photobook project. My thinking right now is to pair up the opposing types of images, the typical pretty photograph on one side of the page spread, with a facing photograph of the current construction and change.

So I think that I have figured out what my next photobook project is. wonderful! Now to make sure that as I provide updates, I can upload the images so that they sit next to each other, which the two above are supposed to be doing, but don’t appear to be behaving on my monitor.

Best regards, Doug

Update: persistence pays off.  I thought that I had prep’d and loaded the images correctly to get the effect, so I just reloaded them again and Bingo!, got it. Somehow I goofed the first time. sigh.

My next project

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:06 am

Having received my production proof of Insomnia: Hotel Noir, I think that this project is now “in the bag“. I still have some images to save into the submission format for Critical Mass, but I find myself emotionally moving on.

So that takes me to what project do I want to develop next? I think that I have three alternatives:

Chinese Picture Postcards: photographs that I made in China in 2007/2008 that on the surface, look like a postcard you might receive from someone visiting China.

Places Amongst Us: this was the project that I was working on for SoFoBoMo 2008, that was about relationships between neighbors.

Transitional Seam: About the things that exist in between.

Neither of the three are a Novella like Insomnia, but these three could be similar in structure to In Passing. hmmm. Glad I don’t need to make a decision today, but now these three are on a slow simmer, eh?

Best regards, Doug

July 14, 2009

50th review on The Photobook

Filed under: Books — Doug Stockdale @ 12:35 am

Candida_Hoefer_coverCopyright 2005, Candida Hofer

Just a quick note to announce that I have posted my 50th review on The Photobook today. When I started this new blog, I was not sure what would happen.  I had a big stack of photobooks, so it was going to take a while to write all  of those reviews, and it would give me a chance to figure out how this would work out for me.

Looking back, to be honest, when I first started,  I was just publishing some quick thoughts, but now the tone and tenor has changed (hopefully for the better!), and I am seeking books that are not an easy read or review.

It will be interesting to see how my photobook reivews will have progressed when I have published my 100th, eh?

Best regards, Doug

July 9, 2009

Where is this blog going?

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:37 pm

I have found that I do not feel as compelled to write something on this blog each day like I did a couple of years ago. Perhaps that is resulting from diveristy of the other blogs that I contribute to. Maybe this is the post-publishing let down after finishing Insomnia: Hotel Noir?

For general photographic news that I want to share, I find myself posting that over at The Photo Exchange. Seems a better fit. And we now have two other PhotoTeam contributors helping out on The Photo Exchange, so we can share posting duties, thank you Jim and Gina.

My love of photobooks and my thoughts about them are being published on The PhotoBook, and my quick daily notes about what I doing during the development of my book reviews are being posted on The PhotoBook  Facebook fan page. And I am still assessing the whole Facebook thing.

So it appears that Singular Images will be where I formulate and share my thoughts about my personal photo projects.

Others have also remarked to me that their blogs are seemingly drifting away from them, probably for many reasons.  The competiton for information increases. Seems you can post the same info in so many places; web sit, blog, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc, etc.

So I find that if I am trying to cover all of my informational bases, I am not working on my own projects. So probably expect to see spurts here on Singular Images, some content from time to time on the Photo Exchange, and hopefully a weekly photobook review on The PhotoBook.

Now I need to focus on preparing my Photolucida’s Critical Mass submission; 10 images from Insomnia: Hotel Noir and my Blurb Photography.Book.Now submission, also Insomnia.

And what photo project I want to work on next…

Best regards, Doug

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