Tracks copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale
Earlier this month I had a mini-exhibit at Photo Independent and subsequently posted that due to some really good feedback, that I was going to radically alter one of my in-process projects. So a little bit about that today, not that I have everything figured out, but that I have a new sense of direction.
First, the back story; I had been photographing roadside memorials for some time starting in late 2006, initially getting a portfolio of images (In Passing) published in LensWork magazine in 2008. I continued to work this project as black & white images of the memorials as an investigation into loss and remembrance. I had been thinking that I want’d this project wrapped up neat and tidy in a book.
Thus I was recently exchanging emails with Sara Terry who publishes the Aftermath Series and her annual book of War is Only Half the Story. There are a number of parallels with her Aftermath series about the consequences of war and my project, the consequences of a horrific accident. I also discussed with her that this year, it seemed like it was harder for her to get her annual funding through Kickstarter. Fortunately Sara was two tables down from me at Photo Independent so we had plenty of time to talk about her funding and exhibiting issues with her Aftermath series books and her advice about my In Passing – Lest I Forget project. It was no surprise that the aftermath photographs, although extremely socially relevant, are not images that sell or exhibit well.
Sara also pointed out that although the In Passing project was solid documentary work, the photographs were not “mine” in the same sens as my Memory Pods project. Meaning that my Memory Pods photographs had a uniqueness that was entirely due to how I created the photographs, which came from an inner desire to tell a specific story. She felt that I was not a documentary photographer per se, and that maybe I need to think about that the In Passing project was a developmental touch-stone and move on, unless I could make it mine.
Sara provided the necessary catalyst to see what was bothering me about trying to push the In Passing project forward, trying to incorporate additional images, while I was already working in a different way to photograph and narrate a project. Thus I am making a complete break from the In Passing project (black & white photographs of roadside memorials) to investigate other aspects of loss and remembrance, still using the working title of Lest I Forget.
A new image for this series is included with this post, above one version that incorporates some of the image manipulation aspects drawn from my Memory Pods project, while below is what I would call the hard-edge (relatively un-manipulated) version. I think that a consensus would say that the image below appears more contemporary, although the image above with the post-exposure manipulation would look almost identical if I had used my lens with a wide-open aperture.
The good news is that I do not need to decide which of the two versions I might use at this point, but consider both versions as I work on this project.