Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

June 6, 2017

Mentoring – New service for artists, photographers and organizations

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

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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!

May 24, 2017

Passionate about Photography

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

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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

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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!

May 13, 2017

Portfolio Reviewer – LACP EXPOSURE 2017

Filed under: Art Market, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:41 pm

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Gerhard Clausing’s portfolio, EXPOSURE 2016, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) has just announced the dates for EXPOSURE 2017, their three day portfolio review event. I am very honored to be among a diverse and broad group of portfolio reviewers again this year. Similar to last year, I will be providing portfolio reviews on Sunday, July 16th, from 9:30 to 5:00 pm at the dnj gallery in Bergamont Station, Santa Monica (CA).

These portfolio reviews are always great events to network and have your work seen and discussed. As a reviewer, I have found this to be a wonderful opportunity to hear and see photographic projects that are in the various stages of development. As a networking event, myself included, a chance to meet up with reviewers, make a stronger personal relationship and as importantly, network with fellow photographers in between sessions. As you might imagine, I am very intrigued with portfolio’s that are intended to become photographic books.

My friend Sarah Hadley will be providing a FREE LACP portfolio review prep talk on June 14th. So if you have not participated in a portfolio review before or it has been a while since you last participated and need a “rust remover”, a great discussion about what to do and as important, what not to do, for a portfolio review session. The review sessions are relatively brief, 20 minutes, and time flies by fast, so you want to make a lasting impression and being prepared with your portfolio, the “leave-behind” and a short rehearsal of your “elevator speech” will be well served.

I am looking forward to seeing you there!

Cheers

 

May 4, 2017

Bluewater Shore book launch at Photo Independent

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Photography by Jessica Sterling, copyright 2017

Well I thought I was going to post this a bit sooner after the Photo Independent exhibition, but all of the post-exhibition follow-up needed tending to first. Such as taking more orders for Bluewater Shore, (which can be ordered here) finishing the production of this artist edition, then start mailing the pre-orders, contacting other editors about book reviews and of course contacting book stores about carrying Bluewater Shore. Time flies when I am busy, busy, busy.

First, the exhibition and book launch of Bluewater Shore was great and I had a great time connecting with other photographers, making stronger relationships with acquaintances and starting some new connections. Even sold some of my edition, which of course was the sweetest part of the deal for a book launch.

At the last moment before driving up to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon for Photo Independent  I was able to print six of my 15 x 15″ image prints from Bluewater Shore as part of a portfolio and unexpectedly ended up discussing some potential commissions as a result. My purpose for the prints was to help stop traffic and start a discussion about my book, but there was some strong positive responses to the vernacular photographic prints. So it will be interesting to see where this leads.

I also had a chance to spend time talking with Roger Ballen who was the featured photographer for Photo Independent. As a result of my Editorial role with The PhotoBook journal, we had been in email contact and book discussions over the years about his publications, so this was the first chance we had to meet and have a discussion during the events. Ballen also provided some creative book signings for a couple of his books that were in my collection. Very nice.

I provided a book discussion on Sunday morning as a result of being a jurist for the Photo Independent Book Competition which went very well. My principal focus was on discussing the design and layout of the competition’s winning books and a couple of the honorable mentions.

Also coming news, I will be doing portfolio reviews at LACP’s Exposure 2017 in Santa Monica next July 16th at the dnj Gallery and finalizing as guest curator for the L.A. Photo Curator photographic competition next September. More details about these two events shortly, so stay tuned!

In closing another reminder that the 20% discount for an early-bird registration for my two LACP photo book workshops, Marketing Your Photo Book, July 22nd and Introduction to Photo Book Design Oct 1st & 8th, are still in available for another couple of weeks.

Cheers!

Doug

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above, discussing Bluewater Shore, photography by Gerhard Clausing, copyright 2017

below, Roger Ballen signing one of his books from my collection

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April 24, 2017

Two more photo book workshops with LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:33 pm

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Copyright 2016/7 Douglas Stockdale

Oh wow, as if things were not crazy enough last week trying to finish enough of the edition of Bluewater Shore for the book launch at Photo Independent that LACP came back at me to schedule another Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop for next Fall (see below) and follow up on my idea for a one-day book marketing workshop. More about the Photo Independent book launch in the next couple of days as I want to get word of the workshops out as there is a limited time discount available.

Thus I am very excited to announce that I will be providing two more photobook workshops in partnership with LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) at their Los Angeles facilities later this year. Both have a 20% early-bird sign up until May 26th.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd. This workshop is is intended for photographers who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher, and will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing their 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.

Introduction to Photo Book Design – This Fall (October 1 and 8th), I will be repeating my popular (in talking to folks at Photo Independent the workshop reviews coming back to LACP were very, very good!) two-day workshop that focuses on the development of each person’s book dummy for their personal photographic project and provides both creative and practical book design options.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first session will be spent understanding students’ publishing objectives and how that translates to a book object. This will include time discussing the elements of book design and the purpose of a book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine. The second session delves into the business elements of (self) publishing a book and photo book production. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project.

I hope you can join me as these are intense, yet fun, workshops.

The workshops are being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

April 15, 2017

Introduction to Photo Book Design Workshop – final thoughts

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LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design Workshop, Douglas Stockdale with workshop members, photo by Nikki Washburn

Now that the LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop is complete,  a few closing thoughts. First, this was an intense workshop, a ton of information to pass along in conjunction with those attending heavily engaged in developing their rough book dummy. I will admit that there were a couple of items on the agenda that in retrospect that I did not dive into deep enough. Since I know that I will be leading this workshop again (see below), I am making some notes and slight adjustments to the outline.

It appears from the workshop feedback for my surprise limited edition hand made book that we self-published at the start of the workshop (members holding their editions, photo above), did have the impact that I had hoped for. Making this book energized the workshop as to the potential for self-publishing and took away some of the mystery of book publishing. Nice. Also raised the bar for producing this booklet in future workshop!

The one week break between the workshop sessions had a big impact on those attending to return home really dig into the development of their book dummies. The resulting dummies that were shared on the start of the second session were amazing and the energy each person brought back to the class was very contagious. The book dummy’s were as varied and diverse as those attending the workshop. The photographs below are of the participants who completed their rough book dummy, a big step forward for each.

By the way, did I mention that I was equally inspired to create my first dummy for my Middle Ground project? I brought it to the workshop and shared it with the group after everyone had an opportunity to have their dummy’s critiqued. I enjoyed my feedback as well and I will be posting more about this dummy and project in the weeks and months to come ;- )

Some really good news? I will be repeating this workshop with LACP next Fall, probably in early October and a second one-day LACP workshop is now in the works: Marketing Your Photobook. As advance notice the Marketing workshop is being planned for Saturday, July 22nd at the LACP facilities in Los Angeles and more information to follow soon!

Cheers

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop144831-01_Gerhard_Clausing

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144845-01_Safi_Shabaik

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144902-01_Christine_Riedell

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144916-01_Hannah_Kozak

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop 144929-01_Tomas_Gasper

April 11, 2017

International Book Competition, Book Design Workshop & publishing a new book – oh my!

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Douglas Stockdale, Sarah Hadley & Chris Davies photo 2017 copyright by Marissa Caichiolo

It was starting to look like April was going to be a busy month, I just had no idea HOW busy.  I have already been one of the jurist for the International Photo Book Competition and I just published our results on The PhotoBook journal. The next phase  of this competition award is that I will be providing two curatorial talks during Photobook Independent in two weeks. The talks will not require as much planning as I did for the recent book workshop, which is okay, because I really need the time to prepare everything for the launch of Bluewater Shore. Meanwhile I have a couple more book reviews to complete for two of the winning photobooks, as I already had published two reviews of the books that selected for awards. I would like to complete these other two reviews before Photo Independent, adding to my work load. Like I said, April is turning into a very, very busy month ;- )

Right now I also need to get ready to go on-press at Dual Graphics (Brea) tomorrow for the printing of Bluewater Shore. I am expecting to finalize the exterior colors for the cover, go to print and then I will report about my experience about being on-press later this week. Cool! Then I need to update my earlier post about the ability to pre-order this book with an accurate image of the published book. Probably send out another round of newsletter updates on this photobook as well.

The Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop is now complete but a little more about this in the next couple of days.

Cheers!

April 3, 2017

Photo Book Workshop – day one

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:43 pm

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Book making equipment, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend was pretty intense; Saturday was the first day of my two day Intro to Photo Book Design workshop, which included the drive from south Orange County up to mid-town Los Angeles and back. Then Sunday back up to LA to judge the International Photo Book Competition for Photo Independent. Wowwie, back to back days driving into LA, fortunately traffic was comparatively light on the weekends than it is mid-week.

During the workshop I was using some tools and equipment to construct the book dummies other than what was on the list for the participants to bring; I was not sure that they needed to purchase this other stuff just yet.

So the extra things in my book dummy art box includes: a long-reach stapler (regular staplers do not have a deep enough “throat” to be effective with larger paper) for saddle stitch binding, a center-finding rule (I brought the short 18″, leaving the 36″ in the studio), a metric ruler (if you a going to produce your book outside the U.S., need to go metric!), a hole-punch, and finally a plastic bone-folder to crease and fold heavier paper stock.

The workshop participation was enthusiastic and it appeared that everyone was well into some serious photo editing and sequencing. Next they will continue building their book dummies at home in preparation for next Saturday’s workshop session to discuss, analyze and develop their book projects even further. I am now equally inspired to work on another book dummy as well, so that might be bit of a surprise for the workshop group next Saturday.

Cheers!

March 27, 2017

Networking: MailChimp

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:44 pm

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Copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A couple of years ago I thought that I should try to establish a formal networking newsletter to update friends, family, photographers and gallery owners as to my recent accomplishments and news. So I signed up for the free version of MailChimp. Regretfully perhaps I was not in the best state of mind at the time in trying to figure out MailChimp, which did not go so well. So I put this wonderful idea on the back burner for awhile.

A month ago I decided to look at MailChimp again. This time; read some of the tutorials. Duh! Or maybe MailChimp has improved it’s interface, either way, I found it much easier to figure out and I starting working on the back structure; creating some mailing lists. My first mailing list was for my very tolerant photographic friends, the Photographers Exchange (PX), who join me for the monthly meetings at the IFAC. They have become used to my wild and crazy ideas, so I figured that they would provide some honest feedback to my first photo-newsletter (none of them do this sort of thing). My ultimate goal was to figure out the MailChimp process for a newsletter for my other blog-magazine The PhotoBook. Anyhow, the first PX newsletter went out last month and I received a couple of nice comments, better yet, no one took me off their email list!

So at the moment I have developed four audiences/four mailing lists; each one has a repetitively unique interest in my photographic endeavors: Friends and Family (mostly non-photographic buy wishing me well and sometimes a strong interest in my photography), PX (they know most of what I am doing photographically anyhow, but it does not hurt to remind them, yuk, yuk), Photographers (who are like minded and might be interested in my exhibitions and workshops, but also includes gallery owners) & PhotoBook (photographers I have published, those interested in photobooks, bookstores & photobook publishers).

The first photo-newsletter to the PX used a “photo” template, but I quickly realized that I do not like the black background of this template; too severe. Then I stated using the white backgrounds, which works better for me. It took a little bit to adjust to using the MailChimp templates, but I figured that it’s similar to learning how to post to a blog, you just gotta jump in and start using it. I am expecting each newsletter will get better.

And perhaps just in time, I wanted to spread the news about being featured in Lenscratch (first Photography newsletter) and then a reminder about the start of my Intro to Photo Book Design workshop with LACP (first PhotoBook newsletter). And soon, publication of Bluewater Shore, as I just received the first set of PDFs for the initial design from the printer. nice.

From what I hear from other photographers, MailChimp is the way to go. At this point; so far so good and I am a happy camper with MailChimp.

If you would like to be on one of my newsletters, send me a request at doug@douglasstockdale.com

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