Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

July 12, 2017

LACP Book Marketing workshop schedule change!

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

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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

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!

December 28, 2016

2016 in Review

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Loss (Memory Pods) 2014 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For me it’s always a nice treat at the end of the year to look back at what has occurred; achievements, progress in the my development of my conceptual projects, lessons learned that might help inform me and keep me on a progressive creative path in the year to come.

First, 2016 was about making new photographic friends and deepening the existing relationships. The photographic and artistic community is really great in how encouraging everyone is towards supporting each other’s creative endeavors. That is always the best part of looking back at the year that was.

One of the highlight of the year was in September when I was juried into the Irvine Fine Arts Center (IFAC) 2016 All Media, which was curated by Dan Cameron and I received an Honorable Mention (above), the only photograph of the exhibition that received recognition. A really nice validation that my Memory Pods project is progressing as I had hoped, which I will continue developing in 2017.

I was invited to became part of the LensCulture submission review team (aka consultant, a true paying photographic gig) in August and I have completed close to 200 portfolio submission reviews in 2016. This has become a great opportunity to become familiar with an interesting and diverse international group of photographers and their photographic work.

Photo Book Independent; in April I was one of the photobook jurors for the photobook exhibition and subsequently provided two curatorial talks during the exhibition while also exhibiting my own photobooks and photographs at this event. It appears that I may be involved in Photo Independent 2017 event as well ;- )

For the Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) Exposure 2016 I joined them as a portfolio reviewer in September and subsequently I will be leading a photo book development workshop for LACP next April, 2017. This is going to be a fun workshop!

As the Editor of The PhotoBook: my book-blog-zine passed one million views and provided a milestone 400 photobook reviews; an amazing eight years. I also increased the staff of this blog-zine with the recent addition of Gerhard Clasusing as a book reviewer. I am looking forward to all of the creative photobooks yet to come in 2017.

Social media; my experiment with Instagram (@douglasstockdale) this year appears to be proceeding in a slowly growing but successful manner. So I now a presence on Facebook and Instagram in conjunction with this blog. I also became the co-Editor of the Facebook page for The Photo Exchange which led to the development of a closed group on Facebook for the members of this group.

Infrastructure changes with the transfer of my photographic web site to a new platform hosted by PhotoShelter that is focused on providing photographic content. This should take care of my web site requirements for a while and I need to remember to update it from time to time.

I also spent some time at some local photographic events, such as photo l.a., which is coming up soon next month, and down in San Diego at the Medium Photographic Festival.

And of course I was working on some photographic projects, such as continuing my development of Memory Pods, concluding Lest I Forget, and starting a new project Middle Ground.

I think 2017 will be even more fun! See you all next year ;- )

Cheers!!

December 16, 2016

Early bird discount for photobook workshop ends this Saturday

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:24 pm

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LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design, photo Douglas Stockdale

The early-bird registration discount of 20% for my Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop that I will be leading next April over two weekends will be ending midnight this Saturday, December 17th. This creative workshop is sponsored by Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP).  So if you plan to be in the Southern California area (aka best-coast), time to check this workshop out and take advantage of this discount.

Could even be a wonderful Christmas present for someone special ;- )

Cheers!

 

June 7, 2016

Portfolio Reviewer at LACP Exposure 2016

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:40 pm

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Susan Burnstine, a Portfolio Reviewer for LACP Exposure 2016

I will be among the 19 Portfolio Reviewers, joining Susan Burnstine (above), Aline Smithson, Julia Dean, Kirk Pederson, Sarah Lee, Chris Davies to name only a few, for the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s (LACP) “Exposure 2016” event being held at the end of July at Santa Monica’s Bergamont Station.

I am recommending that photographers who are interested in feedback on a portfolio that has been edited for potential publication may want to consider me for a review session. I am also recommending that if the photographer/artist has a book dummy in addition to a print portfolio, it would be a great opportunity to get some constructive criticism on that as well. The issue as always for these events is that you only have a 20 minute window to spend with each reviewer, so it really helps to know what exactly you want from this brief exchange.

I wrote about my first portfolio review experience at Palm Springs Photo many, many years ago; but most of the do’s and don’t still hold true: bring your best and focused portfolio (not a jumble of favorites) and have one specific question you would like to have addressed. This is about exposure and networking, not selling and get exhibitions booked, although that has happened for some photographers, just do not expect it. Also bring something to leave behind, even if a business card and get the reviewers contact info and follow up with an email after the review.

Although this is a two day event; Saturday, July 30, 10 am – 5 pm + Sunday, July 31, 10 am – 5 pm, regretfully I will be available only on Sunday, July 31st. So I’m a bit limited for availability. Thus I suggest if you want to have my review, you will probably want to sign up as soon as possible.

For more details on “Exposure 2016”, including on how to sign-up, head over to: here.

The LACP’s “Exposure 2016” is a great opportunity to have your work seen by a diverse group of portfolio reviewers; see all of the bio’s here.

Currently early bird pricing is still available until July 1st, so check it out now ;- )

Exposures 2016 event adress: dnj Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite J1, Santa Monica, California, 90404, (United States).

Cheers!

October 3, 2015

Paris – the party Seine

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:45 pm

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Untitled (the party Seine, Paris, 2010) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

In 2010 I had an opportunity to be in Paris during the summer and found a rite of summer (or anytime that is warm enough) that is frequently celebrated in this city; partying along the banks of the river Seine, thus the punster title of the photograph.

We had just completed a Seine river cruise in the later afternoon, but turned dark on our journey back. During our short tourist cruise, all along the banks of the river was a continuous party in progress; couples, small groups, big groups, usually toasting us with their glasses of wine. Really fun as everyone was really enjoying the balmy night and each others company.

As we walked the along the banks of the Seine after the cruise, I noted this one region across the river with a fun group and an interesting illumination of the party in progress. Unfortunately I did not have my tripod. Fortunately there was a waist high wall at this same location which did duty as my impromptu tripod. I also figured that I would not be lucky with only one exposure, so I continued to photography from this location for the next couple of minutes and was rewarded with this composition. With some careful cropping and tweaking in PhotoShop, I created a really great memory for me.

This image was just selected today by the Duncan Miller Gallery for their YourDailyPhotograph, so it’s available for a short time for a nice price from their gallery. So maybe some lucky person will have this print as part of their collection as a surrogate memory for a similar occasion.

Cheers!

October 1, 2015

OCMA update

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:16 pm

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Untitled (OCMA administration office, Newport Beach, CA 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend was interesting time for me at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). First, the Deputy Director had selected one of my photographs to hang in the administration space, which I dropped off in the morning. This is the second opportunity to have my work hang on a semi-permanent basis here, earlier a selection of 4 of my landscape black and white photographs were here for about a year. This time a photograph from my Ciociaria photobook project was selected and best part was this photograph was already framed, as it was curated into an exhibition last year at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA).

After dropping off the photograph, I was then the event photographer for a “Family Fun Day” that the museum was hosting for the day in conjunction with their exhibition for Young Chinese Artists. It was a walk about while I captured candid’s of the families as they interacted with the various craft booths that the museum had arranged. Since I had to immediately leave town for an assignment, I am just now going through the first edit of the photographs that I captured. So wait to see what “develops”. One thing that we did come to terms on is that I retain the copyright on all of the photographs and they get some first time rights. So I will see how this aspect evolves.

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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