Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 13, 2016

Douglas Stockdale – Photographer’s statement

Filed under: Art Market, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:08 am

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Ciociaria copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the take-aways from Photo Book Independent was that I need to really consider exhibiting my photographs. When more than one person states that my photographic work is exceptional and I keep getting comments that my “work” prints are exquisite, I think I am ready for taking the next step in my artistic progression.

One of the many things that I need to consider is a very brief statement about myself. Okay, this is not something that I uber comfortable with, but a necessary part of the artistic process. So here is the thing; I am not a MFA artist, or have you already figured that out? A bit of difference between MFA and MBA whereas the the MBA focused was on business not artistic practice. Interestingly there is also the business of being an artist, but seemingly not held in much esteem by other artists or many galleriest (although there are some folks who run galleries seem to like the idea).

As a non-trained artist with only a few under-grad two-dimensional art classes under my belt, I sometimes get a little bit of anxiety. Especially when my day-job career is biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug development and manufacturing. Thus I realize that I need to leverage that difference as to why that makes my vision, as well as me, unique. So instead of trying to hide that personal angst of a non-artist background with smoke and mirrors, to step out and let it be known. What’s the worst that can happen, eh?

So here is my current brief artist statement (aka the elevator speech):

Douglas Stockdale (American, b. 1949) is a native Pennsylvanian and a graduate of an industrial design program from Michigan State University with a MBA from University of LaVerne. He is a veteran pharmaceutical researcher (part of the team the determined that AIDS was transmitted by blood plasma and a virus that could be easily heat inactivated) as well as a photographer and an International photobook critic and curator. His work has been published by Edizioni Punctum and featured on LensWork, Lenscratch, photo-eye and Silvershotz and many notable on-line platforms. His work has recognized by Elizabeth Avedon and is in the collections of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Reminders Photographic Stronghold and the Indie Photobook Library. Douglas Stockdale is the founder/editor of The PhotoBook and currently lives and works in Southern California.

So what do you all think?

Cheers!

May 11, 2016

Photobook post-exhibition assessment

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:14 am

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Photobook Independent, Raleigh Studios, Soundstage #14, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

At the beginning of this month I participated in a book exhibition at Photobook Independent, held in the Raleigh Studios on their sound stage #14, located in Hollywood, California. Always interesting to poke around a Hollywood studio after hours during the weekend and observe the infrastructure for the allusions we see on the small and large screen.

I had the largest table, 8 foot long, thus I had the opportunity to display both my published books as well as some 15 x 19″ work prints for my in-progress project. In retrospect, I did not need to have an artist statement for each book and project. Just a little too much in the way of hand-outs, although these were requested from time to time, I could have held these back under the table and provided them on request. Although I had business cards with my contact info, I would have been better served having one or two photo-cards with just my web site url and email. On my list for next time!

One really nice aspect of participating was the banter and discussions with those friends, like Susan Burnstine, who had a table near mine, as well as an opportunity to make some new friends and connections. I had been in trading emails with Sara Terry (below), but it was really nice to meet her in person and get some really sound advice for a couple of past and current projects. Even better when Sara really liked my artist book, Pine Lake, and we did a swap with her for recently published artist book. I had some really great discussions about my work with a few folks who stopped at my table as well, which provided some much needed feedback.

So I will be making some minor changes to my Memory Pods project while making a major change for a past project, In Passing and the related associated Lest I Forget project. More about all of that in the months to come.

This was also an event that I served as a judge for the photobook competition and subsequently provided a couple of walking discussions, bottom photography by Nancy Albright, of the exhibited books as a guest curator. Nice.

Cheers!

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April 21, 2016

Guest curator for Photo Book Independent

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:08 pm

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As a follow-up to being one of the judges for the Photo Book Independent book competition, I am honored to also be providing two curatorial discussions of the juried-in books as well as the other photobooks available during Photo Book Independent.The schedule for talks, book signings and curatorial discussions has just been posted.

The first curatorial walk will be held first on Friday night at 6pm just prior to the VIP opening of the exhibition space at Raleigh Studios (yes, a functioning sound stage in the midst of the film capital). The second walking discussion will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am just prior to the opening for the general public. I am planing on an hour discussion, but be prepared, it could last a little longer depending on the questions and answers.

For the juried-in photo books, since I was part of the judging and had developed the judging process, I am planning to provide a little back-ground on the judging criteria. How did we decide which books were interesting and provocative and which did not seem to past muster and capture our attention? If you were every thinking about submitting a book dummy or photobook to a competition, this could be an interesting discussion for you.

The good news, my curatorial discussions are FREE to participate, but the space is limited and if you want to join for what I hope is an interesting, fun and informative event, you need to sign up for it NOW: http://photoindependent.com/talks-and-book-signings/

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Cheers!

April 15, 2016

Photo Independent – Print Portfolio progress

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Memory Pods, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

An update on my progress to prepare for Photo Independent regarding my print portfolio(s) as previous discussed. First, the idea that I had to quickly prepare a print portfolio for Photo Independent was quickly stressing me out. Needing to quickly select the prints (yikes, which ones out of the project?), then matte and prepare the prints, and ensure that I had all of the outer bags to protect the sold prints was just a little too much on short notice. Yes it could not be done as I have jumped through these types of hoops in the past, but did I really need to?

I think its about expectations; if you are at an art fair then you should have prints for sale. Well honestly I do have some items for sale; a trade edition of Ciociaria, two limited editions of this book, my hand-made artist book Pine Lake, some out-of-print copies of LensWork #74 that feature my In Passing project and probably my Foundations mini-portfolio. So I think I am going to take an alternative pathway for my prints that will work best for me; bringing a print portfolio or two of work-in-progress and ask for feedback. This could be a win-win opportunity for me.

So at the moment, the first work-in-progress print portfolio will be my Memory Pods project. I have not been posting much of my photographs for this project created with the larger format Canon 5D equipment. Thus this photograph will be new. I have also been working on the artist statement for this project, which I will print and have available at Photo Independent to provide to those who have an interest in this project. I am also planning to have an interest list to capture names and emails of those who are interested in this project for follow up as the project comes closer to publication and exhibition. And of course I will need to update my web site with the images in the portfolio, which I will announce here when I have completed it.

Cool, I am doing much better already! And a back-up supply of pigment ink for the Epson printer just arrived so I feel energized to dig in and start printing. This is going to be fun!

Cheers!

April 7, 2016

Exhibiting at Photo Independent

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Memory Pods 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have just been notified that I am accepted into Photo Independent at the end of this month. I was anticipating that I would be included in the Photobook Independent, but I was just notified that I can also have a print portfolio in addition to my photobooks. Yikes, I was not prepared for that wrinkle. The event in LA (Raleigh Studios in Hollywood) is at the end of this month April 29 – May 1, 2016, so although I do not have much time to prepare, I will make the most of this opportunity.

As to which photobooks to bring and sell, that is the easy part. For the print portfolio; which one? I will have a limited space to display, so from past experience, far better to focus on one portfolio than try to show a little bit of everything. What I did learn in the past is to hold in reserve at least one smaller (both size of prints and quantity of prints) portfolio that might come up in discussion.

I have been looking to publish my project In Passing – Lest I Forget, but I am not sure that this is the right audience. So I am thinking that this will be my portfolio that will in reserve. As to the display portfolio, I am leaning towards my Memory Pods project. I really don’t have much time to fret over this as I need to start printing for the portfolio this weekend.

Such problems to have, eh?

Cheers!

 

April 3, 2016

Photobook Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:01 pm

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2016 photobook jury team

As I announced here last month, I am part of the photobook jury team for Photobook Independent and the first photobook competition (me in the white shirt in the group photo above). More about the rest of the jury, here. The actual book judging occurred in LA yesterday.

I can’t announce any results at this time as the scoring and final evaluations are still in progress. I do appreciated that the team accepted my photobook judging recommendation to evaluate/score each photobook on the aspects of: Photography, Concept, Design and Publication.

The submissions were diverse, interesting and for me, a daunting challenge to evaluate and score. I am more accustomed to spending a least a couple of hours with just one book, least try to evaluate more than 70 in the span of an afternoon. It did not help the judging process that I occasionally would slow to really spend quality time with a captivating book  and as a result that to no one’s surprise that I was the last book judge remaining at the end of the event. Oh well.

Next, we are working on a schedule for me to provide a curatorial discussion of the winning book selections as well as the other books available during Photobook Indendent (in LA) at the end of this month. More about that event soon.

Cheers!

March 10, 2016

PhotoBook Competition Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:39 pm

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Photobook Independent – Photobook Competition 2016

I have some great news, I am honored to be recently selected as one of the judges of the PhotoBook Competition this year as a part of the Photo Independent activities occurring at the end of April in Los Angeles. I just posted a quick update as to the judges and the submission timing on my other blog The PhotoBook,  so check it out if you would like some more information.

If you have a published book and copies still available for sale, then you may want to check this opportunity out now (deadline for mailing submissions is March 21st!). I am now looking forward to all of the submissions, as this should be great chance for me to get a quick pulse on the photographic community.

Cheers!

December 16, 2015

Grant funding a Photographic Project

Filed under: Art Market, In Passing, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:27 pm

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Untitled (A-41, Tattenhall, England) copyright Douglas Stockdale

On my list of to-do’s is to find some funding to support the publication and exhibition of my project In Passing – Lest I Forget. Here in the US, there are a couple of avenues to journey down in order to obtain a grant (e.g. gift, not a loan) and at the highest level is government/Federal grants through one of the various agencies. What I have noted in the past is that most of the Fine Art grants are not available for individuals, but non-profit organizations and only then through a public entity, which in the Fine Arts are usually Museums and Universities.

I am also a bit of a contrarian and look at alternatives, such that I know that I am not well connected for the Fine Arts grants, but rather I am experienced in how to deal with Corporate world. Although I do not have any experience with writing and submitting Federal grants for Contemporary Photography (Art), I have been working with a small team submitting Small Business Innovation Research grants through the National Institute of Heath, and we have been recently awarded a grant to work on Stroke research. Nice.

Since the National Safety Council used on of my photographs for a safety program poster a couple of years ago, this has provided a clue for me to poke a couple of Federal and State safety agencies. Specifically, I checked out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and locally, the California Office of Traffic Safety. Yes, this is what I consider out-of-box thinking for funding this photographic project.

The bad news: looking at the government grant guidelines for both of these agencies confirms my initial concerns; I am not a non-profit organization (501c3) nor a “public entity”. Also it does not help that the window for the 2016 grants has already passed and the agencies are looking for 2017 grants. Thus a word to the wise; if you are thinking US Federal & State government grants, plan far ahead! Regretfully for me, I am looking for 2016 funding.

The good news: these government agencies provide large grants to public entities, who in turn have to spend it (pass-though) on their own programs. The trick is to find out which “public entity” has what programs which are possibly aligned with my vision and see if I can be included in their program spending. Knowing a bit about how large organizations budget spending, I have been successful in the past with getting alignment between a budget line item and their spending (investing) in supporting my projects. So I have some hope.

Also, I now need to think smaller and look for local county or city government grants that might still be out there, although I think the window for 2016 might already be shrinking.

So my oars are not out of the water on grants, just rowing in a different direction!

Cheers

August 7, 2015

Buzzz about Branding for artists

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:59 pm

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Neighborhoods (LA, 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Recently there has been a spat of articles recently published about the necessity of artists to “brand” themselves to improve their presence in the art world, which of course includes photography. This of course means that the galleries can increase the price of the artists works, which should benefit the artists as well. As to the collectors, this might benefit them too if they are into art as an investment.

So what does this all mean and is it good or bad for an artist? In the broadest sense, it means that you might instantly recognize an artist’s work at first glance. Jeff Koon’s bubble sculptures come to mind. The modern works of Ansel Adams are almost a trademark, e.g. Moonrise over Hernandez, thus an effective brand. I think the contemporary black & white dreamy photographs of Keith Carter and Susan Burnstine or the wide angle photographs of Lee Freidlander or the gritty black & white photographs of Roger Ballan as recognizable “brands”. It means that a photographer/artist has a particular way of translating what they feel or see into a visual record. It usually means that they do this somewhat consistently.

Yes and if another photographer thinks that this “look” is urber cool, they might try in some way to emulate this look, thus for photographers, a brand can be borrowed. I think of the number of long exposure black and white photographs of water that other photographers published after Michael Keena’s raise to fame. Nevertheless, they all found themselves being compared to Keena, much like my early black and white landscape photographs were compared to Adams. At first I took this as a compliment as to the quality of my photographic work, but then after a while, this became a detriment, as it implied that I did not have an original vision, but just copying some else, thus living in some else’s dead shadow.

The pro’s of a brand have been stated above, an artist becomes “recognizable”, thus a greater intrinsic value is given to their work and many good things can come from that. As to the cons, one that comes to mind is that like having a nice pair of well broken in hiking boots, you might find your self limited in what you can do. Can’t do much long distance swimming wearing hiking boots. Thus if your recognized style (brand) is black and white documentary photographs using very wide angle lens (my hypothetical), a color portfolio of non-documentary photographs might not be as well received. Thus the reason why some artists abhor being “branded” as a potential limit on their creative options.

If one really, really enjoys making photographs in a particular way and you like how the resulting photographs turn out with a unique set of processes, e.g. large format tintype portraits, then you might find your self creating a style or brand.

So to understand that the buzz about why an artist should have a brand (a particular visual appearance) can become a double edged sword if you are not careful.

For me, (yes, I have a MBA, thus graduate level classes on this subject), I am not sure that I have a particular look per se (I do enjoy looking at and creating both black and white photographs as well as color photographs), I would rather think that my brand is my conceptual investigation of memory and identity. Hopefully that will allow me a lot of latitude on how I choose to investigate this subject.

Cheers!

December 22, 2014

Elizabeth Avedon’s Best Photography Books for 2014 – and I am on it!

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Pine Lake, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

As a book artist and photobook specialist, this is the time of year that I provide kudo’s to all of the photographers, photobook designers, photobook publishers and the book artists who use photography as a part of their creative medium. This year I was asked by Manik Katyal, the Editor/Publisher of Emaho magazine to provide five photobook titles for the Emaho annual list of Best Photobook lists. So since getting my list down to just five, I needed to again published my own Interesting Photobooks of 2014 on my other blog, The Photobook.

What came as a very pleasant surprise is when the amazing NYC book designer Elizabeth Avedon (yes, a familiar last name to those following photography over the years) selected Pine Lake as one of her Best Photography Books of 2014. A total surprise as this is a very limited edition artist book (edition of 25 plus 2 A/P’s) and thus I am assuming not many have actually held or seen.

What a sweet ending to the year and which reminds me that I need to get my butte back into gear and finish my next limited edition book Bluewater Shore, the second of the three photo-narratives plan for this series.

Cheers!

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