Copyright Douglas Stockdale
While munching on the Christmas morning Apricot Pastries (thanks Kellie!), it is a good time to reflect on the past year. 2012 has it’s ups and downs as well as going a little sideways.
So in the spirit of honking my own horn, very happy to report:
The most noteworthy occasion in 2012 was being invited to curate the Photobook exhibition exploring the theme of work during FotoGrafia di Roma. A nice combination of my interest in photography and how the medium is investigated by the use of the printed & bound page.
Speaking of photobooks, I have continued to collect photobooks, been generously gifted with a few photobooks and occasionally posting my narratives about the books in my collection on The Photobook blog. By the end of this year I will probably being posting my 250th narrative. And I expect to continue my postings into 2013.
I received an unexpected request from Hiroshi Watanabe to interview him for his first iPod application, the e-publication of the expanded 99 Findings. The production was directed, filmed and edited by Michael Kastenbaum and I was the talking head who soft pitched open ended questions that allowed Hiroshi to discuss his photography. A very interesting and enlightening event. The application was first launched in the Summer, but then after discovering some glitches, the application was re-edited and re-launched this past Fall. cool!
My own self-discovery continued, first with the book submissions for my project “Lest I Forget”, then the project on “Instant Nomad” investigating what I do for “work” and how these two projects have helped me to better understand what’s behind the things that interest/bother me. All of this while I continue to delve deeper into the photobook medium as to what it means for me.
Although I did not obtain enough traction with the book publishers for the projects, the submissions were not in vain. In retrospective reflection, perhaps what attracted me to the roadside memorials, the subject for “Lest I Forget”, was the symbolic nature of these memorials, that they stood in mute testimony to somebody’s life, that they were a public, while yet private, celebration of an individual’s past, yet a poignant reminder that somebody was gone. All the while I observed these memorials rapidly deteriorating and eventually vanishing. Very much like a cherished memory, one that needed to be preserved, but yet fleeting regardless of the effort extended to preserve it. A melancholy subject. I have also gained another insight, that these memorials were also symbolic of those afflicted with the terrible Alzheimer’s disease. The person was present, but their minds and who the individuals were, was gone. Although their bodies are alive and somewhat functional, abet in a steady state of decline, their future was non-existent. They are living memorials. So from the ashes of the submissions was the realizing that what I need to work on was the concept of memory and its preservation.
I have also come to understand that the theme of memory and its preservation is an undercurrent in my Ciociaria project. One of the photographs was curated into the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) exhibition at the end of the year, which will also provide an excellent start for the beginning of 2013 with a second OCCCA gallery opening during the first week of January. nice.
The insight into the question of memory and the desire to preserve it has led me to make some subtle changes to another book project, Flow of Light Brush the Shadow (Lui Guan Lue Yin), that I have been working on which is based on my stay in China. The situation for me while in China is a case of investigating what was bothering me. More about that as I discuss my 2013 goals.
What I did not intend to do in 2012 was a complete a do-over of my website, but the basics are now in place and something to noodle over for 2013.
In conclusion, a creative and interesting year.
P.S. Yikes! I forgot to include some other wonderful news for 2012; at the beginning of the year, photographs from my book Ciociaria were acquired for the permanent collection of the Museo d’Arte Comtemporea di Roma (MACRO), the largest contemporary art museum in Rome, Italy. I subsequently published two limited editions of Ciociaria Book + Print set in an edition size of 25 each, including a photographic print of an image that was not included in the book. I was just notified that the MACRO has recently acquired my book Ciociaria for their new permanent collection of contemporary photographic books.