Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

December 15, 2017

Beach Walk – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:02 am

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Seaweed, Newport Beach, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I had a chance to leisurely walk the beach in a California State Park located just outside of Newport Beach, CA. This was a little confirmation that I still find myself drawn to creating black & white photographic images.

Although resembling a study with a view camera, most of this image and subsequent processing was completed with my Samsung S5 and SnapSeed. Today I did a little more contrast tweaking in Photoshop to tease out a bit more of the flow lines in the sand created by the receding surf. I was intrigued by the found-art design of the way the seaweed was naturally positioned by the surf. Serendipity that I took advantage of with my framing of the composition and subsequently working with the black and white conversion.

As a lark, I also added the “film” border to provide more of that Edward Weston view camera look. Very modern! (hopefully hints at being contemporary, but I doubt it)

Cheers!

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December 6, 2017

MoPLA submission: Political Satire

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:50 pm

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Middle Ground, San Diego, June, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A quick update; last night I did make my MoPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles) submission and as anticipated, I went with the theme of Political Satire for my Middle Ground urban documentary project.

Besides the theme, I needed to place this photographic project in the context of an artist statement, so I had to work out the tweaks for that as well these last couple of days. Since this is a project that I am planning to publish next Spring, I was still letting the artist statement develop and perculate, but realize that I had just pushed that particular task up a bit in the schedule with the first formal submission of this project. sigh.

So here is the artist statement that I submitted:

Middle Ground is an urban landscape project which is in large part a political satire of attempts by a governmental group to institute, construct, and promote social alienation by building a wall between two adjoining countries. It is a visual parody of a current political folly; that in building a barrier in the Middle Ground that this will in turn create a (impenetrable) “Fortress America”. This investigation is meant to recall the man-built and ill-fated Berlin Wall, Great Wall of China and the current America-Mexico border wall and to reflect on the futility of such barriers. A barrier, no matter how great its size, will not impede the advance of individuals who are attempting to better themselves and their families.

Cheers!

December 4, 2017

MoPLA theme: Political Satire

Filed under: Projects/Series, Photography, Middle Ground — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:03 am

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Middle Ground, San Diego, June, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have been giving some thought to a MoPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles) submission for my Middle Ground project. Which I need to sort out quickly as the deadline is December 5th. Yikes!

One submission category is Host Space Exhibitions and for that submission it requires: “a thematic body of work for exhibition consideration in one of our host spaces”.  Which bumps into an aspect of my Middle Ground project that I had not really considered before; what is is this thematic body of work?

Middle Ground investigates attempts by somebody in our government to construct something that leads to social alienation for America, a barrier situated between two countries, but I am not sure that “social alienation” is a theme but rather the subject of my project. Some classic themes are: the nude, urban landscape, portraiture, nature, culture, history, countries, abstract patterns, poetic, etc. Interestingly politics is a theme does arise on a few theme lists.

Thus thinking that Middle Ground‘s theme is political satire. So I will try to get some quick feedback on Facebook (and here if you would like to comment) in the next day or so to see if this might fly.

Second part of this submission is the openness of MoPLA curators to political satire? That I may not know for sure, but I am ready to try and find out.

Cheers!

 

December 1, 2017

Three Amiga’s

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 12:08 am

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Three Amiga’s, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this month we attended a family wedding in Virginia and it was fun to have the extended family get together. As it seems with most families now, this group is spread geographically far and wide.

After the wedding when almost everything was packed up, I noted these three cousins sitting on this bench and my goal was to get them to gaze at my lens and not to break-up into a smile. To varying degrees we did seem to achieve this, but these three are constantly fooling around, so this was a bit unnatural for them. The hardest part for me was to think of a way that would direct them to just look at me, as the oldest was the easiest to direct and it went downhill from there.

What I had not asked or planned on is how these three had composed themselves; how they folded their hands in a similar but individual way, and how they tucked their legs under the bench, with the two on the outside choosing complementary poses. And one just could not help leaning in on her cousin, she just had to be connecting. Then the other patterns; two with bare feet and other with socks, two outside with patterned shirts while the middle was a solid white.

Nevertheless it was a fun photo event for the four of us (yes, it is part of my experimental/play process).

Cheers!

November 28, 2017

Hawaiian Thanksgiving

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:04 pm

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Hawaiian Bananas, Waimea, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For the Thanksgiving week we went to the Big Island of Hawaii, which was the first time that I have been on this Hawaiian island as we normally end up on Maui. And I can now attest, there are lots and lots of lava fields.

Also meant that I took a small vacation from blogging, both here and The PhotoBook Journal, although Gerry continued to add book reviews to TPBJ (yeah!). I did post to Instagram (@douglasstockdale) and follow Facebook, sharing a few of my Instagram posts on Facebook. I was a bit surprised at the response to my bananas photo above, which had double the response of my other photographs. Also a bit different for me as I have a tendency to defer to the mid-foreground landscapes photographs. Nevertheless, this photograph seemed to resonate with a bunch (pun intended) folks.

We had driven to Waimea to have Thanksgiving with Dana, a friend of my daughters, who is living on a small sheep farm. Quite surprised to see the banana trees ground around her house, which she says that frequently do not get picked, just toooo many. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the shapes and forms of these hanging on the tree. It did help too much that Waimea is on the rainy side of the island and it drizzled the entire day, so the lighting was a bit soft. After taking the photo, I did some modifications in SnapSeed and I think the visual results were interesting.

So after our return, I spent most of a day downloading all of the photographs, more of which I will be sharing soon. Meanwhile, I have a few posts to do for TPBJ, one of which is a selection by Gerry and me for the More Interesting PhotoBooks for 2017.

Also a bit bothered by a recent forced Windows update which has slightly stretched the things on my monitor and that I have not been able to correct. I think it is all part of the evil MS plan to force me to buy an iMac Pro. Well it’s working….

I hope you all had a wonderful American Thanksgiving holiday! The funny part of our Thanksgiving dinner is that Dana had not cooked a turkey before, so before we arrived, she had cooked one to make sure she knew how. So our dinner was a wonderful success, including the purple mashed potatoes. We also had a lot to give thanks for.

Cheers!

November 7, 2017

7 Day Black & White Challenge

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:04 pm

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Compass 2017 copy right Douglass Stockdale

A few days ago I was tagged for the 7 Day Black & White Challenge; Seven days. Black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Nominate someone.
I was nominated by Kellie Webb and over the seven days I am to nominate someone else to pass this along.

Since no explanation is required, then not much that I need to say. I sure have enough Black & White photographs to chose from, but I did see that this was an opportunity to experiment and work on something new (to me). So I investigated a couple of personal items to see what I might do with them that could be metaphoric, i.e. the use of the small compass above. Perhaps a little inspired by the arrival of Cig Harvey’s photobook “you an ORCHESTRA you a BOMB” for review, where she frequently isolates and zeros in on some personal objects. I also think of Keith Carter’s photographs, which he investigates similar ideas in Black & White, while Harvey utilizes Color photographs for her investigations.

A kind of fun little exercise and other than the photo of Cooper, bottom that was captured on Halloween, these were all made on the same day. Here are the remainder of my 7 day postings:

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November 1, 2017

Douglas Stockdale – Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:37 pm

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

My self-published Guide was formally launched at the Medium Photo Festival in San Diego, CA last week end. A copy was provided for each person who registered for Medium, compliments of my book sponsor, Dual Graphics, the book printer located in Brea, CA. As a result, over half of the first edition is gone! Even signed a few of these during the Medium event over the weekend.

As I have been writing about this previously, the Guide is was meant to be a short and sweet yet very practical step-by-step to guide someone thru the complex self-publishing process of an artist book. It is ideal for someone who has a lot of illustrations; be that photographs, drawings, paintings, etc. This book is drawn from my various book design workshops, experience with working with my publisher for Ciociaria in Rome and the various photobook discussions with other photographers and artists I have had over the years as the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. So far, the feedback has been really great.

I cover the five stages of self-publishing include: Book Pre-visualization, Marketing (market size & edition quantity), Book Development, Book Design options and finally Book Production and how these five stages are intertwined during the process. The book development chapter explores the process of developing an artist project with the intent of making a book as well as editing and sequencing the images using a book dummy.

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What I think is another interesting aspect of this Guide is the inclusion of three paper samples (Uncoated Italian paper, Gloss and Satin/Luster papers) which the same photograph is printed to help with understanding the implications of printing, paper and illustration interact. There are examples of both color and Black & White images, with the Black & White images printed with the Fultone (Duo-tone) Digital Lithographic Process, which at the moment is only being offered by Dual Graphics. You will not obtain these beautiful Black & White printed pages from Blurb!

What I find interesting and I think is visually apparent below is how the photographs look on the uncoated Italian paper, which is very similar to a matte inkjet paper, as compared to the adjacent gloss paper with regard to detail and contrast. Having these various papers in the Guide, one can actually feel the difference between these papers, a key aspect of a book object.

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One nice aspect of this Guide is allowing me to feature some of my photographs from my photobook Ciociaria, photo-documentary In Passing and my Foundations folio. I would have preferred to use some of the Black & White images from Bluewater Shore artist book but I had to defer to my publishing team (and sponsor) in a selection of photographs that exhibited a greater tonal scale. Especially since I still have a few of the Bluewater Shore edition available for sale.

So if you are interested in obtaining the Guide, these are available from me for $19.95 each plus shipping ($4.50 in the US; and $15.00 USD outside the US). Email me and as I utilized Paypal, thus credit cards are an option.

Cheers, Douglas

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October 28, 2017

San Diego walk-about in North Park

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:35 am

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Construction Tri-color, San Diego 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While down in San Diego’s North Park region for the Medium Festival, I had a chance to join John Gossage as the two of us did a brief walk-about around the neighborhood near the Lafayette Hotel. We had just finished a rambling hour and half “interview” that I will be publishing shortly in The PhotoBook Journal when he stated that he wanted to get out and try his new X1D Hasselblad rig (paired with the Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 lens).

FYI; Gossage’s only lament is that he is a “normal” lens guy (e.g. 50 mm on a Canon 5DMk3) and that Hasselblad’s normal focal length for this new mirrorless camera body would not be out until next spring. The 45mm lens was providing a wider view something akin to a 28mm on the 5DMk3, so he just was not sure when he saw something, where to stand.

Interesting to see what Gossage was attracted to, but since I was not looking thru the viewer, not sure what he was actually composing. Nevertheless, I found some interesting things, which seemed to also draw him in as well.

While passing one construction site, I had a recall of all of the urban construction I witnessed while in China as all of the Chinese construction sites were cloaked with these massive cloth “screens”. What had visually interested me then, I found interested me again now; these draped structures were like huge canvases that were unintended abstractions; patterns, shapes, texture and color. Essentially my task was to find the framing that interested me the most.

The resulting photograph is ambiguous as to my subject’s size and location and now ready for contemplation. Mission accomplished!

Cheers,

October 25, 2017

Solving Crunchy photographs – part 2

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:33 am

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San Diego, January 2017 (Middle Ground) copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Back in early August, I was lamenting over some “crunchy” looking photographs and what I thought was the resolution to my problems. Now I am pretty sure I was not quite right, but nevertheless close since in fact I was very much over-sharpening my JPEG capture images. So here is how I came to find out out what the real problem was.

While comparing some prints recently with some other photographers, I noted that some of the prints were looking a lot sharper in detail for one photographer than I recalled seeing in the past. Especially when I had some images that were a bit mushy and my sharpening process was not doing the trick. We then proceeded to get into a long discussion about the merits of sharpening with a high-pass filter versus using the more traditional unsharp mask to sharpen (the latter my defacto image sharpening method). So while subsequently investigating the high-pass filter, found out that this is highly recommended for out-put sharpening. Neat, something to experiment with.

But that came with a note that using the unsharp mask was like using a dull edge knife to cut steak. hmmmmm. So I decided to look for recommendations for image capture sharpening to compensate for the slight image degradation by the aliasing filer in front of the camera’s sensor. Like I said, until now, my defacto for many, many years was the unsharp mask as a layer to provide the first sharpening action. So while reading all of this stuff, there was this other note, that for JPEG capture, not only do you lose a lot of image information as compared to raw, JPEG also does an image sharpening process.

What? Had I just overlooked this aspect of JPEG for this many years?? I suspect so, as I now find other references to the fact that shooting in JPEG for image capture will also provide sharper images that already compensates for the aliasing filer. In other words, for a JPEG image, I do not need to start my image processing with adding a layer to sharpen the image and in fact that process will start me down the road to over-sharpen the image towards crunchiness.

So I have gone back to inspect a bunch of recent JPEG capture images to evaluate with and without the initial capture sharpening. It appears that I have been doing myself a little injustice with adding that initial unsharp mask layer for JPEG images. The good news is that by eliminating that duplicate background layer for the unsharp mask will make my images files a lot smaller and image processing a bit faster. Nice!

So a reminder: don’t capture sharpen those JPEG images. For raw capture image, that’s going to be another discussion as I have learned some things here as well.

Note: the image above is from my project Middle Ground and is a JPEG (capture) image that I just processed without resorting to an initial capture sharpening process of an unsharp mask layer. I think it looks pretty good ;- )

Cheers!

 

October 22, 2017

How-to Photo Book donation

Filed under: Art Market, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:15 pm

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Technical Photo Book Donation, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

I am running out of library space, plain and simple. My shelves are over-run and it is time to make some decisions as to what is going to go versus stay. Thus the low-hanging fruit to dispose of are all of my out-of-date how-to and technical photo books.

My first decision was to donate or attempt to sell these beauties. A quick check on Ebay confirmed my suspicions; these are probably worth a buck a piece, at best. The second part of the equation was the amount of time it would take to prepare these for sale, then administrate the sale if it occurred, all the while paying the various fees to Ebay, etc for the pleasure of this task VERSUS spending that same amount of time on one of my many artistic projects.

One nice thing about being in Southern California, there are plenty of City Colleges (two-year schools), Art Schools, Universities with an art emphasis that include photography all within an hours drive or two. These books are not destined for the college library, but for a photo department’s internal resource center. I had considered the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), a arts emphasis high school were my granddaughter attends, but their photo department is really focused on film & video, not still photography.

I also am interested in aligning with a two or four year college that in addition to providing instruction on photograph, both commercial and fine art, also includes analog film and has a darkroom. Even though this book donation is more focused on digital, I have a few other books and various art/photo magazines in the wings.

Thus I am going to meet up with Jason Reimer next Saturday at the Medium Festival in San Diego and donate the books above for the San Diego City College (SDCC) photo department. At the moment I am also evaluating Orange Coast College which has a pretty good photographic program and extensive analog photograph teaching. Another alternative is Long Beach City College where I provided a couple of one-day workshops.

I am also interested to find out which of these has a book design and development course or program, which so far I don’t find on their program lists. That may take me to Otis College of Art & Design in LA.

Cheers!

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