Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

August 18, 2017

Books at Arcana: Books on the Arts

08-17-17_Bluewater_Shore_Arcana_Books_on_the_Arts_124055

Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book (at Arcana), copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Yesterday I had an opportunity to meet with Lee Kaplan at his bookstore, Arcana: Books on the Arts, which is located in Culver City (CA) and present my three books; Bluewater Shore, Pine Lake and Ciociaria.

I am now very happy to announce that a quantity of all three of these books were acquired and all are now available for sale at the Arcana bookstore! Very nice!

We had a really great discussion about photobooks, photographers, book bloggers, publishers and other book industry stuff. It was pretty diverse and free ranging discussion as one subject seemed to quickly lead into another.

I also had an opportunity to provide a quick show-n-tell about my book dummy for Middle Ground and discuss whether which is better to call the book design; leporello, concertina, or accordion fold. Kaplan defaults to leporello as probably the description that aligns best with bibliophiles, so I might need to adjust my photobook definitions and defer to the Middle Ground book as being a leporello design. Nice.

So it is now very nice that my books can be acquired locally in SoCal at this unique and impressive book store. I suspect that Kaplan will soon list these books at his various internet book venues.

Yes another very nice day.

Cheers!

August 13, 2017

Bluewater Shore – scaling up larger prints

Bluewater_Shore-Big_raft

Big Raft, Bluewater Shore, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Recently I have been evaluating the enlargement of photographic images from Bluewater Shore beyond the 15 x 15″ prints that I can make on my Epson 4800 printer. The idea was three-fold; what did this image look like in a larger size (kinda of obvious), if a larger print might be part of my justification to acquire a larger printer (if so, what size; 24″ wide or 44″ wide) and last, how might this image look on a luster paper versus a matte surface?

Marc, one of my friends from the local Photographers Exchange group, has an Epson Pro 9900 (44″ wide) and was willing to make a 22 x 22″ print of Big Raft (Bluewater Shore, above) for me on Epson Premium Baryta paper. It turns out I was also able to evaluate his use of an I-Mac work station versus my current PC equipment (a topic of another day).

The easy question was that a 22 x 22″ print is very impressive. The hard part has always been where to put a much larger printer (with stand) in my cramped second story studio. The 24″ wide printer would be problematic, but even more so with a 44″ wide. Marc has to use a part of his living room for his Epson Pro 9900 which is not going to fly with our family. So for the short term I will need to have others print larger prints when I need these.

The Epson Premium Baryta paper is nice and with it’s slightly warm white’s seems to works very well with the Big Raft image. We also printed a smaller 9-1/2 x 9-1/2″ print on the Epson Premium Luster 260 paper which has more sheen/gloss than the Baryta. The Baryta is similar to the old Kodabromide F enlarging paper’s surface which is more like a soft gloss. Nevertheless, both of these papers show all of the defects in my photographs to a greater degree than the matte paper (Hahnemuhle Photo Rag).

The “artistic” issue is the larger print. All of the small image defects that were evident in the original photograph that I had re-photographed are now very evident with some becoming visually distracting. For the smaller size images in the book (5 x 5″), these defects add to the charm and support the concept that these are found photographs. When the images are enlarged to 15 x 15″ on the matte paper, these defects still appear okay, but in the larger size, the defects are now larger and more visible and this appears further magnified by the luster type papers which does not hide anything.

I know part of my issue, as an old-school analog photographer in the west coast tradition, prints were not to have any defects and if found after the printing; spot them out! A very modern, but not a very contemporary, way of evaluating the print quality. Old photographs can/should appear old, but how “old”?

I am now pretty sure where this is going; I will add another Photoshop layer to selective spot/tweak the defects in the image that seem to bother me most and then print this again for a comparison to determine how the change appears. I had planned to bring the 22 x 22″ print with me to a potential gallery meeting but this will now need to be planned for the late Fall sometime.

Cheers

 

July 29, 2017

The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Workshops — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 3:47 am

Maria_Piscopo_Photographers_Guide_to_Maketing_and_Self-Promotion_cover

Maria Piscopo – The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

While developing my Marketing Your Photo Book workshop, I came across Maria Piscopo’s The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion. Since this title was in its fifth edition I figured that this book has stood the test of time and photographer have kept buying it and thus might be worth checking out. What I anticipated was this is a generalist guide for a broad spectrum of photographers, not specific to the needs of artist and photographers who were marketing a small niche product like a published book. My background includes graduate level marketing classes that was part of my focus while I was getting my M.B.A. but since that course work was even more general, so maybe Piscopo’s book might help with some photographic market specifics that I might not be aware of. Last, this might make an interesting reference book for those attending my workshop.

Well it turns out that Maria Piscopo’s book is intended entirely for professional photographers while the fine art market is treated as a side-line and provided a short chapter in the back of the book. I had expected a little better organization of the content, but at least many of the parts for a Marketing program appear to be present. Much of this book is about the very business basics (and I do mean basics) of professional photography; business licenses, business ethics, getting organized, using a computer (e.g. bookkeeping), and the internet for event, wedding, and commercial. Writing a Marketing plan does not occur until almost the end of the book, something I might think would be the first thing to do if you have a Marketing book. Which is to say, this book is not a very good guide for Marketing and you might be better off with a college basic Marketing text book.

On the other hand, if you are very new to having your own business and you have not done this before and yet you think you might want to be a professional photographer, this book might be of some help to make sure you have most of your business bases covered. This will not be a reference book for my Book Marketing workshop and not to say that occasionally there are some little gems buried in the book, just finding these can be more frustrating that what it is worth.

Publisher: Allworth Press (NY), Fifth Edition, copyright 2016

July 19, 2017

Portfolio Reviewer for LACP last weekend

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:06 pm

07-15-17_Dawn_Watson_094640_dnj_Gallery_LACP_portfolio_review

Dawn Watson, dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, CA copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This last weekend I was a guest portfolio reviewer for the LACP EXPOSURE 2017 portfolio reviews and on Saturday I was held at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica’s Bergamont (Arts) Station.

Overall it was a great experience as a portfolio reviewer as I was introduced to some very intriguing and well thought out photographic projects. It should probably come as no surprise that many of the photographers and artists were interested in spending time with me regarding my assessment about these projects being published.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked before one of these events; how does one prepare for a portfolio review? Since the review is scheduled for only 20 minutes, everyone is always surprised in how quickly this time slips by. First just about everyone brings too many photographs and supporting materials probably in the hopes that a reviewer will be able to see it all and still have time to provide some wise advice. Nope that usually does NOT happen.

Second, as a portfolio reviewer I start each discussion with three requests: tell me about yourself, tell me about the portfolio we are going to review and what is it you would like to obtain feedback from me about your project that might help you to move it forward?

Reviewers would like to know a little bit about who they are talking to; not your life story, but a quick 2 minute bio, which I call an elevator speech. Same for the portfolio (maybe a photographic project), for the photographer/artist to provide some context as to what is going to be reviewed, again perhaps 1-2 minutes, another elevator speech. Last, what is it you need from the review? Some examples: feedback on the editing of the photographs, are the images technically acceptable, could this sequence or series work in a book layout, are the photographs consistent with the artistic statement, etc.

Third, plan on reviewing only one portfolio with each reviewer, you can bring more portfolios, but you will only have real quality time to spend on one with each reviewer. In most portfolio reviews the artist/photographer might be meeting with a series of different portfolio reviewers and it is appropriate to select a portfolio that is relevant to a specific reviewer. In my case, most wanted me to review their book dummy’s or portfolios that they were thinking about having published.

Fourth, plan on having less than 15 prints in the portfolio to have reviewed. In many cases we did not get through all 15 prints during our 20 minute session. You should want quality time/discussion for each image and how these images relate to each other. This exchange takes time when it results in a give and take discussion.

Bring something to take notes and one photographer recorded our review session. Each portfolio reviewer is an individual with a point of view, which may be very different from yours, so don’t become defensive if the reviewer does not see or understand what you are trying to communicate with your photographic prints. One key purpose of coming to a portfolio review is to get a broader exposure to your work and have others talk about what they see. If you are doing more talking than listening, then you are not going to obtain the full benefit of this occasion.

Last, leave something behind, perhaps as simple as a business card (yes, one person left me with one of their books) to help the reviewer remember who you are (I did 12 portfolio reviews on Saturday and names and projects began to blur at the end of the day) and then follow up with a nice email note a couple of days after the event.

Reviewers are there to help you and if they can point you in a direction or make an follow on introduction, they usually will. I had a short list of introductions and follow-up items that I had promised and these are just about completed, as it takes a few days to get organized. Also realized that these are good events to network with the other photographers and artist who are participating in the reviews as you never can tell what might come up during a side discussion.

Note: I had not realized at the time I took the photograph of Dawn Watson, above, that the large red photograph behind me was going to reflect so much pink color on Watson’s self-published book. Below is a better representation of her book “Trees” ( & thanks to Watson for providing a better photograph) and a nice follow-up email regarding our review time together. well done.

Cheers!

Dawn_Watson_Wild Things Live Here-3

 

July 12, 2017

LACP Book Marketing workshop schedule change!

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:13 am

Photo_book_marketing-book-fair

I was just notified by LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) of a schedule conflict for my Marketing Your Photo Book one-day workshop that it has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 29th. This workshop will NOT occur on Saturday, July 22nd as previously announced.

The good news is that all of my workshop materials and break-out sessions are completely ready to go.

I am really sorry for the inconvenience!

Doug

July 7, 2017

Marketing Your Photo Book – Workshop at LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:37 pm

Photo_book_marketing-book-fair

Photograph 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Just a brief followup reminder from my earlier announcement in April that there is still space available for the LACP (Los Angles Center of Photography) workshop Marketing Your Photo Book which I am leading. Marketing and selling a photobook has similarities to photographic prints but there are enough nuances that if not addressed can end up with you having boxes and boxes of books in your garage, not in your audiences hands. You don’t want to have your first photobook become your last photobook.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd (Note: schedule change: workshop will occur Sunday, October 29th) in Los Angeles. This workshop is is intended for photographers and artist who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher. I will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing your photo book.

The morning will be spent understanding your publishing objectives and how that translates to a marketing plan. This will include discussing the basic elements of a marketing plan; what is being published and sold, who might purchase it, where to sell it, how to price it and how and when to promote it. Issues to be discussed include; how soon to start working on a plan, book economics and buyers price points, buy or create a mailing list, selling self-published books, and do’s and don’ts of using social media and web sites. During the workshop, I am planning a series of breakout sessions to enable development of each person’s specific marketing plan for their book.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

PS Marketing is a big aspect of my mentoring services ;- )

June 6, 2017

Mentoring – New service for artists, photographers and organizations

Filed under: Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:41 pm

12-27-16_Seagull_protest_092646-03_San_Diego

Seagull protest, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In the art business there is a service market segment that I was not really aware of until recently: Mentoring. In my biotech world we would call this same type of service consulting and I have come to understand is essentially the same kind of service; having a skill or expertise that can help others. I suspect that mentoring is just a nicer sounding word and a code word for consulting. I liken it to: “is that person over there nude” or “are they naked”? (hint: Artistic models are nude, they are NOT naked)

That artist, photographers and art professionals are providing mentoring services was under my radar. As I have become more familiar with the term and services, mentoring appears to be more prevalent than I was every aware of and see that this service is offered by many individuals. It’s when you buy a silver Honda SUV you suddenly realize that there are a lot more of this style and color out there driving around than you had ever realized.

My introduction to mentoring came about during and immediately after my LACP book design workshop as those attending the workshop kept asking me about my availability to continue mentoring them on their book project. They in turn told their friends how I had helped them to edit, sequence and layout out their book project which sparked additional inquiries into my availability to mentor them as well. The lights finally came on and it all clicked for me. Okay, maybe I am a bit slow, but I am a biotech professional and I did not come up through the MFA educational mill.

As a biotech design and operations guy with a MBA I have been consulting for over twenty years and I really know that particular consulting world, just not the artistic monitoring world. So I did a quick study about artistic mentoring with some friends who were very gracious to help me come up to speed quickly, especially when they realized that I had a very through understanding of a small artistic niche; all aspects of book design and development.

I am now an artistic mentor! I just had not realized that all of the pro-bono help I have been providing other artist, photographers and organizations for the past five or six years on their book development projects was really providing a mentoring service. The difference is now I have a fee (consulting rate) structure for my mentoring. I currently have three personal clients and one organizational client that I am helping with various aspects of their book programs. Nice.

When I went back to my web site to add mentoring as an artistic capability I realized PhotoShelter, my web service backbone, was not very non-photo friendly. It has great infrastructure for showing and selling photographs, just not very conducive for pages about services. After an inquiry with PhotoShelter during which they admitted this weakness they did provide me a potential work-around that appears to be a good start on how to make my mentoring services available. So I have created a new Bio page and a specific emphasis on my availability for mentoring.

I did check with my friend Susan Burnstine’s website on where & how she advertises her mentoring service to get some additional advertising pointers. Unlike Mary Virginia Swanson, another friend of mine, Susan is somewhat vague and not very specific about her mentoring. Different from my biotech world consulting in which you are very specific about the types of consulting services, skills and experience that you offer. Thus the web advertising is an aspect that is a work in progress in which I am starting out. I think that one of the similarities between artistic mentoring and biotech consulting is “word of mouth”; if you can help make good things happen for someone, the word quickly starts to get around and which I am quickly finding out. Very nice.

So if you have a great idea about a potential book project but realize that you might need some assistance to get your project either self-published or to a publisher, let me know and see if I might be able to help you to get’r done!

Note: the seagull photo above was made at the end of last year on one of my drives down to San Diego and during one of my rest stops along the coast to check out how the adjacent seascape was looking. I found that the juxtaposition of the seagull on top of this specific sign was a bit humorous since this bird was apparently begging for treats from those who were likewise taking in the seascape view.

Cheers!

June 2, 2017

Life Guard Station #13 – featured in YourDailyPhotograph today

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:41 pm

Stockdale_Lifeguard_Station_13_145029-01

Life Guard Station #13, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored to be featured in YourDailyPhotograph today with a special limited time offer (today!) for the photographic print of Life Guard Station #13, May 2017.

Archival pigment print: 15″ x 15″ on 17″ x 22″ Hahnemuhle matte.

This is part of a series of coastal photographs that I am making along the Southern California shore line. This location was in Dana Point on Doheny Beach.

Cheers!

May 24, 2017

Passionate about Photography

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:43 pm

04-14-16_San_Clemente_beach_surf_fisherman_175619-01

Surf Fishing, San Clemente Beach 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

While I continue to work on my workshop agenda for the LACP Marketing Your Photo Book, I was reminded about a brand focusing process I used for my consulting company many years ago. The methodology has the unlikely name of Hedgehog Concept and when researchers were trying to figure out why certain companies were much better than others that one essential element is the best companies developed relatively simple (if not seemingly boring) business strategies and then stuck to it.

One important aspect of developing a personal Hedgehog Concept is the self-realization of what a person is passionate about. This is not something that I am good at or competent at but really passionate about in a way that I am compulsive. Which in this case I am compulsive about using photography and photographs to create artwork as an artist. I stopped photographing about 1985 to draw and paint and then eventually returned back to photography as I found really missing this aspect of what I was doing creatively. So this is a high level concept that does not really differentiate me from many other artist.

Within my artist practice I also find I get compulsive while working on conceptual projects that once I am engaged it is hard for me to get un-engaged. I continued to take road side memorial photographs for almost six years after this project published was in LensWork. I kept finding myself looking for these memorials and then when I did find one trying to figure out the best time to photograph it. There a lot fewer artist who get compulsive and work on the same conceptual subject for years at a time.

Regarding compulsive projects it also appears that I become more compulsive about the project when I realize it investigates some aspect of memory and its preservation. I know that my reasons to continually focus on this type of subject are unique to me as to why this is an important concept to investigate. Nevertheless, I do understand that many artist are investigating aspects of memory as this seems to be a “popular” genre at the moment.

One thing that I am still going back and forth about: am I compulsive in creating black & white photographs? This may could be a critical aspect of what drives my artistic practice as I do keep coming back to converting color photographs to black & white photographs. I really, really enjoy creating black & white images such as the one in this post. The harsh reality, thinking back to the previous post, is that museums and galleries look at black & white photograph as being Modern/Classic (dated & old fashion) while most “Contemporary” exhibitions embrace color images. Which means I need to think about this aspect some more ;- )

Cheers!

 

May 23, 2017

Artist versus Photographer

Bluewater_Shore-Big_raft

Big Raft, Bluewater Shore, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Recent events related to the self-publishing of my limited edition artist book Bluewater Shore is causing me to rethink how I might describe myself to others: artist or photographer? Okay another option might be artist/photographer. I am probably reconsidering this whole classification subject because of my preparation on the subject of “Branding” for my Marketing Your Photo Book workshop coming up at LACP in July.

So here’s whats been happening; I have been reaching out to some photographic friends and editorial acquaintances who helped me with the promotion of my earlier artist book Pine Lake to spread the word about my recently self-published Bluewater Shore. I did not anticipate all of the rejections based on the fact I am using family archive photographs as my source material versus the fact that I did not actually take the original photographs. I am not sure what has happened or shifted in the past four years, but it seems that a lot more photographic folks are being more discerning as to what constitutes a “photographic” book.

They response that Bluewater Shore is an artist book, not a photographic book, since I am using vernacular photographs which I found to create my narrative versus being a “pure” photographic project in which I created (photographed) the original photographic source material similar to my book Ciociaria. Or maybe I have pitched my Bluewater Shore story incorrectly? Now that I take a closer look at these magazine and web-zines I see that artwork similar to what I created for Bluewater Shore is not being featured.

So maybe you are wondering; what’s the big deal? For me it might be that I have been envisioning myself as a “photographer” when I made this declaration back in 2008. Realize that for about 15 years before that I was a painter so I thought that this was a big deal that I was dedicating myself to photography as my creative medium. I also did not think it was a big deal to create my two self-published books Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore since I was using photographic material. Wrong!

Turns out what I perceived I was doing is not matching up with the outside world’s perception. I think there was hints of this difference while I was talking with those who attended my exhibit space at Photo Independent for my launch of Bluewater Shore but at the time I was not picking up on it. Duh!

This takes me to the Stockdale Paradox (okay, this was from Admiral James Stockdale, un-related); which states “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties” while at the same time “Confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, what they might be“. So the brutal facts of my current reality is that I am deemed to be an artist and I am NOT a pure photographer. Which is probably good to know and understand.

This is a not a seismic shift of who/what I think I am; but what this does is to better prepare me for where/who I make submissions of my artwork. I still feel that I am part of the pure photographic community since that is the space I created both of my photo-investigations In Passing and Ciociaria. Nevertheless I will go across those pure photographic boundaries when I am inspired to do so and I need to understand the implications when I do.

Another aspect of this is that curators, art directors and others appear to more comfortable with classifications. So am I an artist or an artist/photographer? I guess if I have to chose one it would appear that I am an artist and one who uses primarily photographic source material, mine as well as others. Done.

Maybe this is a seismic shift after all as I now need to look at all my photographic reference sites, e.g. LensCulture and here on Singular Images, and make some adjustment tweaks to my biography; artist, educator and mentor.

Cheers!

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.