Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 – “Red” Stockdale

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 3:52 pm

Sherman D Stockdale color portrait abt 1945_retouched 2013

Sherman “Red” Stockdale, 2nd Armour Division

I think one of the really nice advantages of being a photographer is when you happen across an old photograph that had not been properly protected, thus in disrepair and in need of some restoration, and you can actually do something about it.

Earlier this year while I was researching another project, SNAPS, I came across a colorized black & white photograph of my dad, which was probably made at the end of WWII just before he mustered out, so guessing about 1945. He had already made Sargent, his rank at the end of the WWII and I am not sure of the other things on his jacket, but I think he has five bars for five years of service, which places him in the US Army for most of WWII. Occasionally he would tell some stories about his experience, but he did not like to discuss it very much. He was part a part of D-day. I recall him joking that he participated in the second day of D-day as it apparently got him out of the “brig” (aka jail) as a result of some heavy partying with some buddies; that’s my dad!

Nevertheless, the color photograph of him needed some restoration, see the original below. Just about all of my Photoshop magic was performed on a second layer with the clone tool. There were large areas that I could grab and eliminate the yellow tape marks on the four edges as well as the white areas within the uniform that had been damaged. I used the same clone tool to spot the print for the abrasion and other debris that had accumulated over the years.

I have decided against adding an image sharpening layer, which the photograph appears to be a bit softer than the original due to the softening issues with Canon 5D sensor. In this case, I think the slightly soft image works for me as this photograph is now a wonderful memory, and like all memories, does blurr and soften with time.

I think that his pose is a classic for the mid-1940’s, eyes slightly looking away from the camera lens and not directly connecting with the viewer. As his son, his personality comes through for me with the slight tilt of his hat, providing me with a feeling of a little bit of cocky swagger. Probably well deserved, having just completed the long march to Berlin (even photos to prove it!), defeating the Nazi’s, and still alive to talk about it. As to colorization of the black & white, I appreciate who did this work in getting the red hair (which I have little recollection as it was gray of what was left of it in later years as I grew up) and his blue eyes (like mine).

All in all, I think he cleaned up nice.


Sherman D Stockdale color portrait abt 1945

May 23, 2013

Untitled – Anaheim, CA

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


Untitled (Anaheim, CA) copyright Douglas Stockdale 2013

During a recent photographic critique, the suggestion was made that I needed to let my photographs say more, and for me to say less. done.


May 20, 2013

Curator: 10 x 10 American Photobooks

Filed under: Books, Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 9:10 pm

10 x 10 American Photobooks, selection by Douglas Stockdale

Over the weekend, the second phase of the 10 x 10 American Photobooks reading room project was provided at the PGH Photo Fair held at the UnSmoke Systems Artspace (Braddock, PA). The reading room photobooks are now being packed for the final installation at the Tokyo Institute of Photography (Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan), which will take place September 11 thru October 6yh (2013).

For those not following this on Facebook, this is the second 10 X 10 Photobook project. For 2012, the 10 x 10 Photobooks program was focused on Japanese photobooks. This year, 2013, the focus was on American Photobooks. For this year, one group of 10 curators who selected 10 photobooks to be available in the various (3) reading room venues, as well as 10 of us who made our selections and provided these via our blogs. I had posted my selection of 10 photobooks on my blog The Photobook.

An interesting, diverse and broad selection of photobooks, perhaps enough to create an interest in building your own collection of photobooks. I would be interested in knowing which books you think we might have overlooked.



May 8, 2013

Pro scans while Gardening for Ordinance

04-30-13 neg 13 Pro-photo 91270009

Gardening for Ordinance Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

Odd title for a post, but hopefully it will soon be self evident as to the reason for this narrative.

Perhaps until very recently, I have been doing my own film scans after processing. First, I have the film scanning equipment and second, I am cheap. Very cheap. Opps, I mean very frugal. Meanwhile, I realized that my scans of the various films were not always giving me what appears as the best starting material as it appeared that I was getting some kind of color drift in the process. I eventually changed my scanning process to first create a JEPG file, then in Photoshop open that scan file in RAW and make some of the color temperature and contrast adjustments before really working on the image. Much better.

I had also been advising a couple of folks that have been working in film that they might want to consider getting some film scans to work out some details in photoshop before making a print by a photo lab. So last week at my photo lab while getting the latest roll of film processed, I checked on their scanning prices, as I recall spending $45 for one high-resolution scan. I found out that they have incorporated a film scanner in line with their film processing and that for $5 I could obtain a low resolution film scan of each image at the time of processing. Wow, even for a cheap guy (frugal guy!), that sounded like a good deal. Especially when you consider their film scanner was some 50 times more expensive than mine. So I added the film scanning to the Fuji transparency film processing.

And so this is the results show. The photograph above is part of my ongoing photographic project Gardening for Ordinance. To save you some reading, the bottom line is that this looks great, and very little required by me opening the scan in Photoshop RAW to adjust color temperature and contrast range. What I don’t like is that they do an ever slight crop to eliminate the film edge, which I prefer to keep in at this stage of my evaluations.

First thing that I really like is the clean film scan, no spotting required. With my studio film scanning, I had all sorts of major dust to eliminate after scanning just to have a low res print to evaluate. I could probably not spend the time on spotting, but sometimes the stuff in the scan was a bit distracting, especially as I intended to print each image to obtain some project feedback. So with these scans, saving this time.

As to the batch scan process, I now have a low resolution scan to evaluate for each and every image of the film roll, no need to spend time on the light box trying to decide which transparency to scan. So that step is eliminated!

The low resolution film scan is a great size, providing a file size that is an 8 x 8″ image at 240 pixels/inch, which works fine for me as my evaluation prints are 5 x 5″ on 8-1/2 x 11″. Also a small enough file size that does not bog my old computer down to process each step and only slightly smaller than with my own scanning process, which I was scanning to a 10 x 10″ image at 300 pixels/inch.

Also what is nice is that as soon as I am back in the studio with the freshly processed film, I am ready to go. Just tuck the CD into the drive and open the folder up to decide what image to evaluate first. cool.

So bottom line, I like it, and this lab processing option only adds about $0.50 per image, which I think is a pretty good deal for all of the upsides. So this is now my new photo lab film process.


May 2, 2013

SNAPS – New Photo Project

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series, SNAPS — Doug Stockdale @ 8:32 pm


Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

I have found myself with another photo project in the early stages of development.

Background; I spend perhaps too much time collecting, reading and then writing about contemporary photobooks. One genre of photobooks that has been developing for some time are the artists books that are based on found snap-shots. This is a case in which the artist/photographer is not the person who actually created the photograph, but has found anonymous photographs, e.g. the snapshot, that are arranged and sequenced to create a semi-fictitious story (real photographs of real individuals, but the resulting narrative is fiction) . Since the found snapshot is missing its original context (the original family photo album, the owner), the singular snapshot takes on a separate life of its own.

I have been acquiring more of these snapshot photobooks, as they have a growing appeal to me, especially as I sense that these photobook are able to create interesting stories about memory and its preservation. And this has led to my thinking about my own past family memories.

To the present. So while cleaning the garage out over the past couple of weekends, I came across a couple of overstuffed cardboard boxes that has been haunting me for some time. I know that they are loaded with an odd collection of old family photographs. I now bet you can sense where this is going, eh?

Yep, I opened Pandora’s box and found amongst some recent family photographs, an interesting assortment of old picture albums with the fragile black pages brimming with old black and white photographs. The dates go back to the 1920’s with a smattering of older photographs, but the interesting aspect for me is that I can not identify most of the individuals, who are most certainly my own family, in these photographs. That was when I realized that this is an opportunity for me to create my own snapshot story. I do not any immediate family who can help me collaborate on any of the historical “facts” related to these photographs, thus this will become my fictional narrative of what might have occurred. Even as I do identify the family members in these photographs, I want to keep them ambiguous to the readers of this project, perhaps creating the photo album of memories for ever person.

When I found the wooden picture album that is featured in the above photograph featured in this post, probably purchased on a family vacation to the Southwest as a souvenir, I think I realized this album may provide the motif if not the actual cover that I will use for my artist book.

At the moment I have a couple of other projects that I want to bring to a close, so off and on during the summer I will start sorting the available photographs while determining what personal story that I want to investigate.


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