Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 26, 2018

Website Switch up to SquareSpace

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Trabuco Flats, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

For those who might have followed the link to my website these past few days probably had a bit of a visual surprise when you were greeted with a brand new home page. So while I was taking some time to evaluate how I wanted to proceed with my Trabuco Flats project, I decided it was also time to put into play something that had been bothering me for a while with PhotoShelter, the back-bone host for my domain name.

As an artist, I have a lot of photographs and art work to share and I must admit that PhotoShelter did a great job of making me look pretty good. Since I also create artist books and other publications to sell, PhotoShelter was not so hot. In fact they do not have an effective way to allow you to show the books, least help with sales. Even after I called their technical support, got the sorry story. Bummer.

It’s always been part of my game plan that I would work with small photobook stores to partner with in order to sell my books, thus I did not make the sales options for my web site as a very high priority until recently. In today’s artistbook and photobook market it seems that many, if not most, small bookstores get a constant deluge of new titles. Thus I realizing to effectively sell my books, I need to have the option(s) to be able to sell directly.

Thus I used the time to evaluate some alternative sites that might be able to host my domain name, have a great ability to show photographs and products (artist books) and the commerce infrastructure to take orders. I had evaluated SquareSpace when I made the earlier decision to go with PhotoShelter but the buzzzz seemed to point to recent changes in how SquareSpace could be developed (I am NOT a IS programmer! So it has to be pretty simple). It quickly appeared to me that SquareSpace was now a good potential to check all of my boxes.

One nice thing about SquareSpace that sucks you in is there FREE 15 day offer to develop your web site and see if it seems to work for you. Wow, what a difference in bringing all of my website parts together; easy. Perhaps even the Big Easy. Also an improvement in how they manage and subsequently display photographs and art work. Still a few quirks in how SquareSpace does things, but since I have been poking a lot of blog sites, etc for my social media, I assumed that certain things could be done; so it was just a bit of a learning curve on how to do it.

I decided on the option of having a landing page that would announce something in particular and then a big ENTER to make sure you know where to proceed. This allows me to keep the focus on an event, such as my up coming workshop with Medium Festival for Developing a Creative Book that will occur in San Diego next March 23 and 24th. I then can decide where within the website you will first subsequently land, which for now is my project Trabuco Flats. So far, so good.

Thus just before Thanksgiving my web site was pretty well designed on SquareSpace, so I decided to pull the trigger and transfers my domain name from PhotoShelter. I did not upgrade to the commerce capabilities yet as I still want to make sure that all of the things were in place and learn a little bit more about their formatting tools. I also want to poke some of the other sites on SquareSpace that use the selling tools to get some ideas of what I want to implement. Not that anybody was looking to buy my artist books for Cyber Monday!

Maybe I missed a big sales opportunity this year, but there is always next year while going slow and easy at my own pace keeps my stress levels down. I need to enjoy the day.

So I put enough hyper links in this post and if you have not taken the bait yet, then check it out now.

Cheers!

Doug

November 12, 2018

10 years of photo book inspirations

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Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As many of you know, in addition to writing this photo-blog in which I discuss my photographic projects and other odds and ends, I am also the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. I started The PhotoBook Journal (TPBJ) shortly after starting this blog back in 2008 when I noticed that there was an extremely strong response to the book reviews of the photobooks in my personal collection. At that time there was really only one other photobook review site by Jeffery Ladd, which he has since ceased contributing to. So now 10 years have passed and we just passed the 500th photobook review! That’s a big Wowzer!!

Meantime, I have continued to acquire more photobooks in my collection, as well as receive donations (aka submissions) for consideration, photobooks that either I could not afford or not sure I would acquire. I realized that one aspect that I could provide with TPBJ is to review a broad and diverse range of International photobooks to expand the potential creative consideration for artists, photographers and collectors.

In turn this diversity of books has also inspired my photographic and photobook practice. I will also admit that writing the TPBJ has forced me to think a little clearer about the intent of a photographic project. Likewise I think the editorial responsibilities have drastically improve my writing skills; no longer an engineer writing a cut and dried specification or technical report, but now thinking of how to create an informative and inspirational narrative. Wow. I think my high school English teacher would be stunned by the transformation.

Likewise, I have been able to hold some of the most inspirational and brilliantly designed and printed photobooks that have published over the past 10 years. I also think that we have also helped to launch a few photobook artist careers, as the only prerequisite for consideration on TPBJ is a well thought out and executed photobook project. Thus many, many photobooks that personally inspire me for my own book practice; the books in my collection set the bar pretty high as well as provide some very creative alternatives. This led to Ciociaria being published by Edizioni Punctum (still available), and my three self-published limited edition artist books; Pine Lake (sold out), Bluewater Shore (just a few left) and this year, Middle Ground (still available).

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Middle Ground, published 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Which in turn has lead to my photobook design workshops and subsequently to mentoring other artists, photographers, and publishers as to how to move their personal or business practices forward. Such as the photobook by Christine Kaplan, On My Walk, that I provided the book design and editing which she self-published this summer. The workshops and mentoring led to the publication last year of Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book last year & which is still available ($19.95 USD plus postage; message me if you would like a copy of this or the others doug@douglasstockdale.com)

All in all, the last 10 years has been an inspirational and wonderful ride; thanks for supporting me on this interesting artistic journey!

Cheers,

Doug

November 1, 2018

Book workshop with Medium Festival of Photography

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Guide book dummy, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very excited to announce that I will be providing my Photo Book Design Workshop in conjunction with the Medium Festival of Photography next March 16 and 17th, 2019. This two day workshop will take place in San Diego at the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club. A great location to be in March.

You can register now at: https://www.mediumsandiego.org/developing-a-creative-photo-book/

This two-day Workshop is an opportunity for artists and photographers currently working on or planning to start a project that will result in a book publication. Whether you plan to make book submissions to a publisher or self-publish your artist book, this workshop is meant to help you create a book that meets your vision.

The goal of this workshop is to discuss each photographer’s vision, mission and objectives for the publication of a photographic project and then to gain an understanding of how these conceptual aspects translate into a book object. Fundamental to the book development process is learning aspects of the editing, sequencing of the body of photographs and in the context of a book design to shape and narrate a story. The purpose of this workshop is to provide photographers with the building blocks to move from a complex unorganized mass of images into a refined edit and subsequently sequence to create a pre-visualization of their book concept.

I hope you can join me for a fun and intense two days learning the basics of book development and how this will help you move your project forward. Likewise, the editing and sequencing methodology you will learn is equally applicable to creating a strong review portfolio or organizing a gallery submission.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers!

 

September 12, 2018

Introduction to PhotoBook Design – October LACP workshop

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Photobook, Workshops — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:36 pm

Introduction to Photo Book Design with Douglas Stockdale (Two sessions)

Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop

Los Angeles Center for Photography

Next month, October 7th and 14th, I will be repeating my popular two-day workshop in conjunction with the Los Angeles Center for Photograph (LACP). This workshop focuses on the fundamental development of a book; understanding the artists intent and how that then translates into a book object in the editing, sequencing and layout of the book supported by the book’s design attributes.

The two-day goal of the workshop is for each person to leave with a first rough draft of their book dummy of their personal photographic project. I will provide both creative and practical book design options and project critiques to help those attending to move their book publication forward.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first morning will be spent understanding each artist/photographers publishing objectives. Subsequently I will include discussions on the elements of book design, essence of project editing, image editing and sequencing, the purpose of a physical book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine.

The second session delves further into the book dummy development and includes discussions about the business elements of (self/indie) publishing a book, critical book production elements and making a publisher submission. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project as well as some one-on-one time with each participant.

The feedback I have received over the years is this workshop has been critical to many artist and photographers for their publishing success; helping provide clarity on their project and providing creative book design options. So whether you are developing your very first book or your book project is one of many, I think you will find our time together to be really inspiring.

I hope you can join me for this fun and yet intensive workshop.

This workshop is being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

 

September 10, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – new project

Filed under: Art, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:23 pm

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Suspicious circumstances, site #5, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Okay, this has been a crazy two weeks. Which has provided me with an unexpected new project with the working title of Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. So how in the heck did this all happen?

With the publication of my recent limited edition artist book, Middle Ground, I was at a bit of a cross roads as to which of the other two projects that I already had in the works to take forward. For my Memory Pods project, the plant cycle was finished for this year, so I was not concerned about creating more photographs for that project. Tara Wray had expressed an interest in this body of work for her TooTired project, so I had begun to edit Memory Pods body of work as I have not spent much time due to the publication of Middle Ground.

Meanwhile, I planned to continue poking around the local area with my cameras for the Gardening for Ordnance project. Accumulating and expanding on that project’s body of work. While poking around in the local park, I came across something that in retrospect the O.C. Sheriff’s office calls “suspicious circumstances”, but when I met with a bunch of the Sheriff officers to inspect what I found (first reported here); they stated that it looked like an old, collapsed shallow grave. Good grief! Since I was not a photo-journalist, my initial thoughts were to make some quick survey photographs and then move on.

At this same time I was writing a review of Julia Borissova’s limited edition book for The PhotoBook Journal and recalled her earlier limited edition book Dimitry, about mysterious circumstances surrounding her Russian subject and subsequent stories. hmmmm, inspiration hit; why not create something similar about what I had recently found? It was a brand new mystery to be investigated!

When I returned to check out what the Sheriff’s office did to close their case at this site and take some additional photographs, I then found another SIX sites similar to the first. Yikes! So I reported this event last weekend, here. Since then, I have completed some research about cadaver dogs that were used to sniff out the area; apparently these skilled dogs can find human burial sites that are really, really old, perhaps 200 years old. So appears that these might not be human burial graves as the reason for digging these mysterious sites. Actually that’s a bit of relief.

Nevertheless, still very much a mystery. And now I have a new project. So next to start working on an artist statement, pre-visualiztion of the new artist book design, back to take more photographs and tweaking the resulting images. I am currently posting some potential images on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) under this project name.

Cheers!

September 5, 2018

Summer of 2018 is over

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 6:38 pm

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Aging (Memory Pods project) copyright Douglas Stockdale

It is now September, summer vacation as most of us know it (as a former Midwestern that is after Labor Day), the kids are back in school and looking forward to the Fall weather. I took a short break from blogging here after the publication and exhibition of my artist book Middle Ground. So a bit of a quick recap of what has been going on for the past month and a half (no moss growing on a rolling stone).

In July I was a portfolio Reviewer for Los Angeles Center of Photography’s 2018 EXPOSURES during which one of those I spent time with was Melissa Lazuka, who has been developing some very cool artist books. Subsequently after discussing the issues of how to create a larger edition size she made a decision to create her artist books as unique books (1 of 1), but in a series utilizing the same layout, her photographs, but different ephemeral materials. And she just sold her first one shortly after I reviewed “Song of the Cicadas” on The PhotoBook Journal. It is very nice now one of my favorite photobooks for 2018. So check it out!

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Melissa Lazuka, Song of the Cicadas, copyright 2018

In early August the photobook I have been designing for Christine Kaplan, On My Walk, was published and released during a UCLA Medical event in conjunction with Teen Cancer America for their Backyard Concert series fundraiser. (Also attended this concert, which included performances by Jewel, Van Morrison, Don McLean (American Pie, a long version, of course!), Ed Sheeran, including an impromptu duet by McLean and Sheeran, and Roger Daltry). Christine was working on her book with me through the LACP Mentorship program.

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Christine Kaplan, On my Walk, copyright 2018

August was also the month that my little portable PC gave up the ghost and I made the transition back to using Mac’s again after 20+ years, opting for a 27″ iMac with most of the bells and whistles. Not a fan of the iMac bluetooth mouse, so that was switched out for a Logitech mouse which has been 100% reliable, which is more than I can say for the iMac mouse. I did lose a few things during this transition, but nice thing about using film, I just need to rescan the negatives.

Meanwhile I continued to develop my project Gardening for Ordnance while promoting my artist book Middle Ground. In the process of working on Gardening for Ordnance, I recently came across what the local O.C. Sheriff is calling a “shallow” grave. Not something I was looking for, but something that I found & reported. The Sheriff’s (about six of them showed up) stated that they will continue to investigate; don’t know who buried what and when. Also in touch with the crime desk of the local OC Register newspaper. Since I am not a photo-journalist, I will leave this to someone else to keep track of.

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O’Neill Regional Park, September 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

As a result of completing a book review of Tara Wray’s photobook “Too Tired for Sunshine“, I have been submitting some of my photographs from my Memory Pods project for her TooTired project on IG. My attempts to indirectly create a portrait of my mother and grandmother in the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease during which they experience profound sadness, confusion, anger and depression appear to resonate with her readership. Thus I am returning to this body of work which I have not spent much time with this past year while working on the Middle Ground project. So expect to see a bit more from me about the Memory Pods project during the Fall.

Last, Gerhard (Gerry) Clausing and I have initiated a monthly on-line exhibition series for the Photographers Exchange, a local photographic group that Gerry and I edit the blog. He and I will take turns curating this monthly on-line exhibition (I am currently curating the Contemporary Landscape exhibition) and see how this develops as we consider what unmeet needs that we can address with this. Regretfully at the moment this is an internal event for members of the Exchange, while Gerry and I consider alternatives for this social media channel.

Cheers!

July 11, 2018

Middle Ground – Published

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Picture Postcards — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:06 pm

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Middle Ground, self-published artist book, edition of 99 copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend the publication of the Middle Ground edition was finally completed! Binding the of 99 artist books took a bit longer than anticipated.

Introduction (text not provided in the artist book):

My urban landscape project Middle Ground evolved out my attempts to make some Lemonade. Perhaps not literally. I was commuting from Orange County to San Diego driving south on Interstate-5 freeway and frequently ensnarled in bumper to bumper traffic in North San Diego for a least a half hour of my trip. That part of my commute was a real lemon experience, a stop-n-go traffic condition that left a bitter and unpleasant taste. As part of my artistic practice that I call experimentation/play, I began to use my mobile phone to photograph the adjacent freeway landscape each time I came to a complete stop in traffic as an attempt to create something fun out of an event that was anything but.

As a result of taking the photographs, I was now seeing with clarity an urban landscape that is unique to this section of Interstate-5 as it traverses part of San Diego County. This is a man-built landscape that is usually experienced at speeds of 65+mph while being singularly transfixed on the tail lights of the speeding cars and trucks in front. I quickly came to realize that although San Diego County had planted an extensive landscape barrier between the northbound and southbound freeway to act as a beautiful boundary that over time, this barrier wall had evolved. What I saw was a mash-up of beauty and desolation with an undercurrent of detritus and neglect. A serendipitous element of chance in this project is that I had little control over when the traffic would come to a complete stop to briefly reveal the adjacent landscape.

Intrigued by what I was capturing, I made a decision to upgrade my investigation of this unique landscape to the use a full frame DSLR, with the lens focal length set at the approximate wide angle view of my mobile phone. I had shifted into the next phase of the development of this project.

With my cognitive shift I started investigating the elements of the morning light, which shaped the landscape masses while revealing tantalizing details that had gone unnoticed before. Likewise I found myself drawn to the layers of this urban landscape; the foreground k-rail (Jersey Wall) and vegetation, a mix of planned bushes and wild weeds, the opposing traffic that could be brief seen and heard, the adjacent homes and businesses in close proximity to this roadway as well as how the landscape extended beyond. I also began to notice the mysterious gaps in this barrier landscaping, various marks on the barrier walls and the occasional numbers painted on the concrete.

While the project began to evolve I pre-visualized the potential photobook for this project; a leporello book design that would extend out to simulate this barrier wall, which both a K-rail and this book interior extend 21 feet. Another element were adjustments to the composition of each photograph in order that the top line of concrete barrier would create a continuous line though out the book.

The ensuing body of work is meant to appear factual without an agenda, a very banal urban landscape that is normally not noticed or rarely seen. It is a unique urban landscape that I believe is a realistic characterization of Southern California, not idealized images meant to Romanize a southern California for a holiday experience.

Note: this project was started in the summer of 2016, when the United States presidential election was coming to a close and one candidate kept hammering on the need for a bigly wall to be constructed between the United States and Mexico. As of the summer of 2018 after his election, this bigly wall remains to be built.

Artist book information:

Self-published, launch date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello (accordion) book design

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Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text

Text: English and Spanish

Retail price: $59.50 USD

So ping me if you are interested in a copy of this edition ( doug@douglasstockdale.com)

Meanwhile, I am now taking a short break from posting on Singular Images.

Cheers!

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June 20, 2018

Middle Ground – contextualized

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 4:47 pm

Alternative Crossing

Alternative Crossing, Middle Ground, 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

contextualize; the artist intends to explain, justify and extend their body of work. What a gallery will attempt to accomplish with an artist work that might need to be re-positioned as to it’s artistic merit (as being collectible), e.g. a searing war documentary image as an artistic work (“documentary” photographs are not usually considered “artistic” and could be the kiss of death for an artistic body of work)

Part of my reason to reexamine my artistic statement for Middle Ground stems from the feedback during my artist talk at the exhibition closing reception and some comments from book review submissions. Although I see the symbolic potential for this project, most, if not all, do not. Or at least they sense something that they cannot seem to put their finger on. Middle Ground is mainly considered an ambiguous and mysterious urban landscape project.

Thus my underlying concept for this project is perhaps so subtle that it is not being perceived and I need to restate to my “roots” for this project as what pulled me in to want to create this project; I think is a fascinating urban landscape that typifies southern California and this subject is evolving to create a visually diverse and interesting environment.

Perhaps one comment that was made about this project helps place it into perspective, that it is beyond being banal, as this is an urban landscape that is not being noticed. Which I think I agree, these are snapshots of an urban American landscape that we frequently encounter yet remains relatively unseen, perhaps what lends some of the visual mystery to this body of work.

Similar to the recent photographs of the British urban landscape photographer Simon Roberts and those photographers featured in New Topographics, a landscape project with an attempt at a visual neutrality, presented as seemingly factual and in a non-romantic manner that one does not usually associate with an idealized southern California. Perhaps why some reviewers try to pigeon hole this project in the documentary genre.

Maybe why the curiosity about my photographs; I think it triggers a memory without the ability to find a mooring for it. As though there is something vaguely familiar about this urban landscape but lacking an identifiable context.

I still think that my conceptual idea provided the guiding rudder for my editing of the images and how these inspired my artist book’s leporello design. So I am not walking back on this aspect of my project.

In conclusion: an urban landscape study of a unique region of southern California with a mysterious dark undercurrent.

What do ya think?

Also a reminder that my artist book Middle Ground is still available for purchase; message me for more information. And yes, I am continuing to assemble the books with another visit to the post office yesterday for book homes destined in Hong Kong, Spain, Russia and Colorado.

Cheers!

 

 

June 9, 2018

Middle Ground – featured on New Landscape Photography

Filed under: Art, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 6:42 pm

San Diego Point of Entry

San Diego Point of Entry, Middle Ground, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very happy to announce that yesterday my urban landscape project Middle Ground was featured on New Landscape Photography. Another nice validation of this project and the second time my work has been featured by Willson Cummer on his blog; with my Italian urban landscape project Ciociaria on NLP a few years ago.

Earlier this week I was at Fabrik Projects taking down my exhibition, which is a mix of melancholy and a bit anticlimactic. The show and my time in the sunlight is over for now. I will also have to say that I had not realized that with all of the media shout-outs, press releases, and prepping for & then providing an artist talk, it takes up a lot of personal band width. Perhaps I will dive into the economics of being a mid-career artist (which seems to be the artistic “category” that gallery’s classify me as), but suffice to say, getting an exhibition opportunity is really, really wonderful and I would not want it any other way, but the work by the artist has just begun. Small gallery’s and relatively unknown artist have to collaborate to try to get the attention of the few buying collectors that are out there.

I will provide some more thoughts about the exhibition & going forward with this project over the next few weeks.

Cheers!

May 29, 2018

Artist talk June 2nd at Fabrik Projects

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Middle Ground exhibition, photograph by Don Webb II

One of the requests that apparently reoccurred during my opening reception is for an artist talk about this exhibition and artist project. The artist talk is now scheduled to coincide with the exhibition closing reception at 4pm on Saturday, June 2nd (2018) at the Fabrik Projects gallery.

To talk about myself and my art projects is not always the easiest thing for me to do. To write about it as I have on this blog is okay, perhaps something I am more comfortable with in that I have an opportunity to develop what I write and the edit before I commit to publishing it. Even then when I have some second thoughts, I can come back and edit what I wrote. I am also very comfortable teaching a workshop about a subject that I am very familiar with, such as my book development class with LACP. Talking about myself and my art projects, perhaps not so much.

What does help if I start taking some notes to outline what I want to convey, then leaving plenty of time for questions and answers. I am going to try to cover the basics about this artist project: what, where, when, how and maybe the most critical; why. I also suspect that this will be a walking talk, not a formal group sit-down, which will help me a little bit more in that it’s a bit easier for me if I can walk and talk about the exhibition.

The photograph above is the exhibition space that I had envisioned for this project in how the photographs (barriers) would ring around the room and thus surround the viewer. One of the many exhibition trade-offs; larger prints but then less images in this space. It will be interesting to get some more feedback during my talk as I already plan to defer to some open ended questions for the group.

Location: Fabrik Projects; 2636 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles (near Culver City)

Artist talk & reception: Saturday, June 2nd,  4 -7pm

Cheers & hope to see you there!

 

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