Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

August 20, 2017

When you know your in trouble

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 10:39 pm

08-17-17_SCR-Out_of_the_Woods_2358_Ella_Webb with cast

South Coast Repertory (SCR) cast photo, Into the Woods, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A couple of days ago SCR had a “family day” free performance for the Young Players version of the play Into the Woods which fortunately Ella was cast as one of the “evil” step-sisters. So all the cast in costume were available for all of the parents and family to take group and individual members photographs. The “professional” photos were taken the previous day (I was not invited for that event, wonder why?).

Thus while the cast was being arranged on stage, I saw what I thought was a unique advantage point from the side of the stage to photograph Ella. From my experience as the event photographer for OCMA, I thought that I was being really carefully not to get into anybody else’s line of sight for their photographs. What I had not planned on is that enough of this young cast know who I am and when I started firing off a few quick frames, many of them turned to look at me. Not at the audience. And certainty NOT facing the Director of the play who was located on the opposite side. Opps!

Yes, I was a Bigly distraction and I quickly heard about it from the play’s Director as I was asked to move away and join the rest of the audience. Sigh.

But I had already got my shot (above)! So below a few of the formal photographs of the cast, as a group and in character.

Btw, a really, really well done performance by this young cast! A real pleasure to watch and enjoy.

Cheers!

08-17-17_SCR-Out_of_the_Woods_2351_cast_in_character_photo

08-17-17_SCR-Out_of_the_Woods_2346_cast_photo

August 13, 2017

Bluewater Shore – scaling up larger prints

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Big Raft, Bluewater Shore, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Recently I have been evaluating the enlargement of photographic images from Bluewater Shore beyond the 15 x 15″ prints that I can make on my Epson 4800 printer. The idea was three-fold; what did this image look like in a larger size (kinda of obvious), if a larger print might be part of my justification to acquire a larger printer (if so, what size; 24″ wide or 44″ wide) and last, how might this image look on a luster paper versus a matte surface?

Marc, one of my friends from the local Photographers Exchange group, has an Epson Pro 9900 (44″ wide) and was willing to make a 22 x 22″ print of Big Raft (Bluewater Shore, above) for me on Epson Premium Baryta paper. It turns out I was also able to evaluate his use of an I-Mac work station versus my current PC equipment (a topic of another day).

The easy question was that a 22 x 22″ print is very impressive. The hard part has always been where to put a much larger printer (with stand) in my cramped second story studio. The 24″ wide printer would be problematic, but even more so with a 44″ wide. Marc has to use a part of his living room for his Epson Pro 9900 which is not going to fly with our family. So for the short term I will need to have others print larger prints when I need these.

The Epson Premium Baryta paper is nice and with it’s slightly warm white’s seems to works very well with the Big Raft image. We also printed a smaller 9-1/2 x 9-1/2″ print on the Epson Premium Luster 260 paper which has more sheen/gloss than the Baryta. The Baryta is similar to the old Kodabromide F enlarging paper’s surface which is more like a soft gloss. Nevertheless, both of these papers show all of the defects in my photographs to a greater degree than the matte paper (Hahnemuhle Photo Rag).

The “artistic” issue is the larger print. All of the small image defects that were evident in the original photograph that I had re-photographed are now very evident with some becoming visually distracting. For the smaller size images in the book (5 x 5″), these defects add to the charm and support the concept that these are found photographs. When the images are enlarged to 15 x 15″ on the matte paper, these defects still appear okay, but in the larger size, the defects are now larger and more visible and this appears further magnified by the luster type papers which does not hide anything.

I know part of my issue, as an old-school analog photographer in the west coast tradition, prints were not to have any defects and if found after the printing; spot them out! A very modern, but not a very contemporary, way of evaluating the print quality. Old photographs can/should appear old, but how “old”?

I am now pretty sure where this is going; I will add another Photoshop layer to selective spot/tweak the defects in the image that seem to bother me most and then print this again for a comparison to determine how the change appears. I had planned to bring the 22 x 22″ print with me to a potential gallery meeting but this will now need to be planned for the late Fall sometime.

Cheers

 

August 9, 2017

Bluewater Shore at Photobook International bookstore

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:48 pm

Bluewater Shore limited edition artist book

Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Another of my projects this summer has been getting Bluewater Shore into bookstores here in the U.S. as well as in Europe. As is discussed at length in the Indie Photobook Publishing Guide that I posted yesterday, once your book is self-published, there can be an almost equal amount of work to sell it.

Thus I am very excited to announce that Bluewater Shore is now available on-line at the virtual Photobook International bookstore, here. Photobook International is located here in Southern California and is associated with Photo Independent, so my submission was a follow up to my book launch at Photo Independent earlier this year. Very nice, and I of course recommend you check it out (and maybe even buy a copy??)

Meanwhile I will continue making some book submissions to other photobook stores here in the U.S. and Europe. Perhaps similar to making submissions for galleries and exhibitions; I need to determine if there might be good chemistry between me, my books and the bookstores owner and their sales market. I can testify that for a self-published artist, this whole process takes an amazing amount of diligence.

In a related article in this month’s PDNews (August 2017), two self-published photographs discuss how they they are continuing to try to sell the photobooks that they released in 2015. Thus the dilemma of juggling my time to sell what I have published with current work that I intend to publish.  It’s all good & just part of having an artist life!

Cheers!

Doug

Artist, Educator and Mentor

August 8, 2017

Beta Reader & Editor – The Indie Photobook Publishing Guide

Filed under: Books, Photography, Projects/Series, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:47 pm

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copyright Eanna de Freine (The Velvet Cell) 2017

One of my summer projects has been working with Eanna de Freine on the development of his Indie Photobook Publishing Guide as a beta reader, editor as well as providing a self-publishing Case Study (one of 10) for my Bluewater Shore artist books.

A number of friends have been suggesting that I write something similar to de Freine’s guide, but realizing the amount of time and effort to complete this task, it was much easier to help someone else do the heavy lifting of writing this.

As de Freine is Irish and living in Berlin, he has a strong European self-publishing perspective in conjunction with many of the other European editors (Clare Rowland, Tom Westbury, Euan Ross, Kalen Lee, Domenico Bruno Lobkowitz, David Flynn, Gabriele Harhoff and Uwe Bedenbecke). Thus one aspect that I provided was my experience of self-publishing in the U.S. (e.g. that in the U.S. we do not usual refer to page sizes as A2, or B1, but expressed by dimensions in inches, not centimeters) and having reviewed many of the books that he discussed in my role as the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. As the Editor of TPBJ I also get to sometimes ask some probing questions of the various authors over the years when there was some information that I needed about the self-publishing process.

Likewise, it was also a great opportunity to discuss more of my background during the development and self-publishing of Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore as a Case Study. I am joining the self-publishing case studies by Rohan Hutchinson, Gabrielle Harhoff, Nuno Moreira, Sebastien Tixier, Dustin Shum, Christophe le Toquin, Matej Sitar, Sandra Koestler and Diane Vincent. I had previously reviewed both Matej Sitar and Diane Vincent’s self-published photobooks. A little more publicity for Bluewater Shore is always a nice dividend.

If you are interested in this FREE e-book (PDF), then follow this link: http://upvir.al/ref/D7856028/

I do have to warn you that to finish the download process for his PDF, you will need to email three friends with a link, which of course provides de Freine with some additional emails for his newsletter. There really is no Free lunch ;- )

Cheers!

Btw, Bluewater Shore, Pine Lake and related prints are still available, so email if you are interested in obtaining more information: doug@douglasstockdale.com

August 7, 2017

Solving “Crunchy” photographs

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:18 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A month ago I was discussing about my on-going summer beach series that I was posting on Instagram and when I was looking at the resulting print from this post, it appeared kind of “crunchy” (below). The foreground where the seaweed was has some odd halos and the I think the image was not smooth and continuous looking, especially as I was printing the image at 11 x 11″ and 15 x 15″.

In thinking about this I realized that on my monitor the photograph looked fine, but when I was saving it to a jpeg, I have a practice of adding one more un-sharpening to account for the softening by the jpeg conversion. Since this is a Samsung image, perhaps the last un-sharpening, which was not an issue for a Canon 5DMk3 image file, could be problematic for the these smaller files?

In returning to the original PS image and then repeating the steps to save the image as a jpeg but this time without sharpening & then subsequently reopening the file; presto! No crunchy image without halos! I had fallen victim to mindless file sharpening. So lessons learned (yes, also a re-do on some similar recent Samsung photo images)

Just to make sure you are not thinking that all of the visual changes between the two images is due to just not sharpening I also made some other image modifications. I decided that the soft blur effect in Snapseed for the photo below was also a bit over the top, as this was when I was still experimenting with this effect and I applying it a bit strong. Nevertheless I liked the softening effect of the pier to keep the viewer interacting with the seaweed and breaking surf. So for the image above, I added a slight Gaussian blur to the top third of the image to soften the pier. Last I reduced the overall contrast of the photograph while still attempting to keep a slight overcast appearance.

Cheers!

06-22-17_Seaweed_San_Clemente_beach_100749

July 29, 2017

The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Workshops — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 3:47 am

Maria_Piscopo_Photographers_Guide_to_Maketing_and_Self-Promotion_cover

Maria Piscopo – The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion

While developing my Marketing Your Photo Book workshop, I came across Maria Piscopo’s The Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion. Since this title was in its fifth edition I figured that this book has stood the test of time and photographer have kept buying it and thus might be worth checking out. What I anticipated was this is a generalist guide for a broad spectrum of photographers, not specific to the needs of artist and photographers who were marketing a small niche product like a published book. My background includes graduate level marketing classes that was part of my focus while I was getting my M.B.A. but since that course work was even more general, so maybe Piscopo’s book might help with some photographic market specifics that I might not be aware of. Last, this might make an interesting reference book for those attending my workshop.

Well it turns out that Maria Piscopo’s book is intended entirely for professional photographers while the fine art market is treated as a side-line and provided a short chapter in the back of the book. I had expected a little better organization of the content, but at least many of the parts for a Marketing program appear to be present. Much of this book is about the very business basics (and I do mean basics) of professional photography; business licenses, business ethics, getting organized, using a computer (e.g. bookkeeping), and the internet for event, wedding, and commercial. Writing a Marketing plan does not occur until almost the end of the book, something I might think would be the first thing to do if you have a Marketing book. Which is to say, this book is not a very good guide for Marketing and you might be better off with a college basic Marketing text book.

On the other hand, if you are very new to having your own business and you have not done this before and yet you think you might want to be a professional photographer, this book might be of some help to make sure you have most of your business bases covered. This will not be a reference book for my Book Marketing workshop and not to say that occasionally there are some little gems buried in the book, just finding these can be more frustrating that what it is worth.

Publisher: Allworth Press (NY), Fifth Edition, copyright 2016

July 19, 2017

Portfolio Reviewer for LACP last weekend

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:06 pm

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Dawn Watson, dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, CA copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This last weekend I was a guest portfolio reviewer for the LACP EXPOSURE 2017 portfolio reviews and on Saturday I was held at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica’s Bergamont (Arts) Station.

Overall it was a great experience as a portfolio reviewer as I was introduced to some very intriguing and well thought out photographic projects. It should probably come as no surprise that many of the photographers and artists were interested in spending time with me regarding my assessment about these projects being published.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked before one of these events; how does one prepare for a portfolio review? Since the review is scheduled for only 20 minutes, everyone is always surprised in how quickly this time slips by. First just about everyone brings too many photographs and supporting materials probably in the hopes that a reviewer will be able to see it all and still have time to provide some wise advice. Nope that usually does NOT happen.

Second, as a portfolio reviewer I start each discussion with three requests: tell me about yourself, tell me about the portfolio we are going to review and what is it you would like to obtain feedback from me about your project that might help you to move it forward?

Reviewers would like to know a little bit about who they are talking to; not your life story, but a quick 2 minute bio, which I call an elevator speech. Same for the portfolio (maybe a photographic project), for the photographer/artist to provide some context as to what is going to be reviewed, again perhaps 1-2 minutes, another elevator speech. Last, what is it you need from the review? Some examples: feedback on the editing of the photographs, are the images technically acceptable, could this sequence or series work in a book layout, are the photographs consistent with the artistic statement, etc.

Third, plan on reviewing only one portfolio with each reviewer, you can bring more portfolios, but you will only have real quality time to spend on one with each reviewer. In most portfolio reviews the artist/photographer might be meeting with a series of different portfolio reviewers and it is appropriate to select a portfolio that is relevant to a specific reviewer. In my case, most wanted me to review their book dummy’s or portfolios that they were thinking about having published.

Fourth, plan on having less than 15 prints in the portfolio to have reviewed. In many cases we did not get through all 15 prints during our 20 minute session. You should want quality time/discussion for each image and how these images relate to each other. This exchange takes time when it results in a give and take discussion.

Bring something to take notes and one photographer recorded our review session. Each portfolio reviewer is an individual with a point of view, which may be very different from yours, so don’t become defensive if the reviewer does not see or understand what you are trying to communicate with your photographic prints. One key purpose of coming to a portfolio review is to get a broader exposure to your work and have others talk about what they see. If you are doing more talking than listening, then you are not going to obtain the full benefit of this occasion.

Last, leave something behind, perhaps as simple as a business card (yes, one person left me with one of their books) to help the reviewer remember who you are (I did 12 portfolio reviews on Saturday and names and projects began to blur at the end of the day) and then follow up with a nice email note a couple of days after the event.

Reviewers are there to help you and if they can point you in a direction or make an follow on introduction, they usually will. I had a short list of introductions and follow-up items that I had promised and these are just about completed, as it takes a few days to get organized. Also realized that these are good events to network with the other photographers and artist who are participating in the reviews as you never can tell what might come up during a side discussion.

Note: I had not realized at the time I took the photograph of Dawn Watson, above, that the large red photograph behind me was going to reflect so much pink color on Watson’s self-published book. Below is a better representation of her book “Trees” ( & thanks to Watson for providing a better photograph) and a nice follow-up email regarding our review time together. well done.

Cheers!

Dawn_Watson_Wild Things Live Here-3

 

July 12, 2017

LACP Book Marketing workshop schedule change!

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

Photo_book_marketing-book-fair

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

July 7, 2017

Marketing Your Photo Book – Workshop at LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:37 pm

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Photograph 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Just a brief followup reminder from my earlier announcement in April that there is still space available for the LACP (Los Angles Center of Photography) workshop Marketing Your Photo Book which I am leading. Marketing and selling a photobook has similarities to photographic prints but there are enough nuances that if not addressed can end up with you having boxes and boxes of books in your garage, not in your audiences hands. You don’t want to have your first photobook become your last photobook.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd (Note: schedule change: workshop will occur Sunday, October 29th) in Los Angeles. This workshop is is intended for photographers and artist who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher. I will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing your 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.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

PS Marketing is a big aspect of my mentoring services ;- )

July 6, 2017

Seaweed, San Clemente beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:49 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of my recent experiment/fun projects has been to investigate photographic possibilities at the beach, which regretfully as a genre is a mine field of cliche photographs. So rather run from the obvious as I attempt to skirt around these cliches, the rather wonderful aspect of my process is if I am seduced into taking a photograph that appears to borders on cliche, just take it anyway! No worries! Who knows what might come of it?

I was intrigued by the abstract pattern of these three seaweed pieces that had recently washed ashore. The shore break of the surf was not that large and I could see a series of interesting patterns of surf and residuals as the tide receded. The colors were muted by the overcast sky thus the resulting photograph would be a bit more manageable as I converted this to a black & white image.

So I took a series of images of this composition as the surf broke on the beach and selected this one that seemed to best exemplify the potential abstract surf patterns. I also framed the image to include the distant San Clemente pier as another visual element anticipating that it was going to be out of focus that it might create a bit of visual push/pull and potential mystery.

One of the disadvantages of Snapseed for the initial image processing for posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) is the limited black and white conversion options. Nevertheless I think I was pretty close on my initial try and subsequently received a really good response on Instagram, enough to want me to further investigate the black & white conversion with Photoshop. This is the resulting photograph and in line with pre-visualization.

Available as a limited edition archival pigment print. Email me for current pricing for sizes and shipping of this photograph print.

 

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