Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

August 18, 2017

Books at Arcana: Books on the Arts

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Bluewater Shore, limited edition artist book (at Arcana), copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Yesterday I had an opportunity to meet with Lee Kaplan at his bookstore, Arcana: Books on the Arts, which is located in Culver City (CA) and present my three books; Bluewater Shore, Pine Lake and Ciociaria.

I am now very happy to announce that a quantity of all three of these books were acquired and all are now available for sale at the Arcana bookstore! Very nice!

We had a really great discussion about photobooks, photographers, book bloggers, publishers and other book industry stuff. It was pretty diverse and free ranging discussion as one subject seemed to quickly lead into another.

I also had an opportunity to provide a quick show-n-tell about my book dummy for Middle Ground and discuss whether which is better to call the book design; leporello, concertina, or accordion fold. Kaplan defaults to leporello as probably the description that aligns best with bibliophiles, so I might need to adjust my photobook definitions and defer to the Middle Ground book as being a leporello design. Nice.

So it is now very nice that my books can be acquired locally in SoCal at this unique and impressive book store. I suspect that Kaplan will soon list these books at his various internet book venues.

Yes another very nice day.

Cheers!

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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!

March 8, 2017

Book table at LACP Open House – March 18

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Ciociaria published by Punctum Press (Rome, Italy)

For those on the Left Coast, Los Angeles Center for Photography (LACP) is having a Spring Open House on March 18 & 19th, 2017 at their L.A. facility; 1515 Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles, California.

I have been invited to present, discuss and sell my photobooks and I will have a table from 2 to 5pm on Saturday, March 18th. I will have copies of Ciociaria and one or two copies that are left of Pine Lake. I have still have a couple of issues of LensWork #74 in which my portfolio In Passing was featured.

And of course I will be discussing my Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop that begins on April 1st. I have told that there are a few remaining spots still available for this dynamic  two-Saturday workshop.

If you are in the area, I hope you can drop in and say hello.

Cheers!

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May 4, 2016

Silvershotz magazine features Pine Lake

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Pine Lake, self-published artist book, copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

I am really stoked and honored to announce that my artist book Pine Lake was just featured in SilverShotz magazine; Volume 10, Edition 8 (May 2016). The Silvershotz article includes the background for my semi-fictional story about an American summer rite of passage: a guy’s get-away fishing trip and has eight photographs that include the cover(s) and some of the interior pages. Really nice.

One more copy of this limited edition found a wonderful home during Photobook Independent this last weekend, so just a couple more of these artist books remain available.

The recent attention on this artist book is inspiring me to finish Bluewater Shore, which I had a work-print portfolio with me at Photobook Independent to share and discuss. This pending artist book generated some really good feedback.

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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September 24, 2014

Pine Lake > The Box of Dummies

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Pine Lake copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A little update on my artist and limited edition photobooks. With Paris Photo approaching in November, I noted that there is another call for book dummies (Rock Your Dummy!) by the Paris PhotoBook club to be submitted by the end of this October. Last year I had submitted the book dummy for Pine Lake and just noted that the Paris PhotoBook club has a page about resulting The Box of Dummies which are on tour and includes my Pine Lake book dummy. Currently the last remaining copies of this artist book are available from photo-eye‘s photobook store.

So at the moment I am starting to assemble another book dummy (or two) for Bluewater Shore to submit to the Paris Photobook club for potential acceptance and exhibition during Paris Photo and the Rock Your Dummy! event. Especially now that I have most of the kinks worked out for the book design and image sequencing. If all goes per plan, I expect to publish and release the limited edition (150 books?) of Bluewater Shore early in 2015.

Cheers!

January 10, 2014

New Year’s housekeeping – start of 2014

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10×10 American Photobooks exhibiton catalog, copyright 2013 10×10 Photobooks

Today was a bit of virtual housekeeping day, as with all of the events that crashed into the end of the year, there were some things that I did not complete that I should have. Most of these tasks are related to my personal self promotion as an artist/photographer, but in the end, the cobblers kids don’t have shoes. Yeah, those subtle things that I need to do for myself go to the sidelines while I complete the tasks at hand; ship books to bookstores, send out invoices, attend book fairs, respond to editorial requests about my books, etc.

So in order of what I did today  (since I kinda hear you asking), is 1. update my web site with the shout-outs regarding my artist book Pine Lake, 2. update this same web site with some 2013 accomplishments (you probably get the idea that keeping a web site updated is viewed as a necessary pain. Yep!), 3. finishing some Facebook shout-outs regarding my photobook Ciociaria and last, 4. publishing a commentary on the 10×10 American Photobook exhibition catalog in which I am featured. sigh.

The three publications which featured Pine Lake at the end of the year were easy to copy & paste into the web site. Yes, this blog is more interactive and easier to use repository of links, etc., so the links are over to your right under the category of Web Ink.

Same for a few updates to the my CV on the web site. My book Ciociaria was accepted into the Indie Photobook Library (IPL) a donation that was made possible by the support of Ella and Zachary Webb.  hmmm, Pine Lake would be another possibility for IPL, so I am now looking for a sponsor who might want to help make this happen.

And last is the review of the 10×10 American Photobooks catalog that includes my selection of photobooks for this series of exhibitions.

Okay, Done!

Cheers

January 8, 2014

Bluewater Shore – Maquette

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Artist photobook maquette cover, Bluewater Shore, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale.

A couple of days ago I started a discussion about my next artist photobook for 2014, Bluewater Shore, which I have just finished the first maquette in preparation of getting some feedback from friends at photo l.a. next week.

First, in the photo of the marquette above, the artist photobook dummy appears kinda of chunky, but that is due to my creative process. At this point in time, I have not finalized the selection of the interior photographs, nor the sequence. The image size and margins on the page will be the same as those I used for Pine Lake. Thus after I developed the marquette’s framework, the photographs are being held in place with paper clips (you can see them at the edge of the page) to facilitate changes. Thus, the thickness is a bit unwieldy. When I am pretty sure of the image selection and sequencing, then I will probably tape the images into place.

One change that I am making to Bluewater Shore  is the book binding process of the interior block to the book cover and I am using another manual process; pamphlet sewn stitch. For the Pine Lake artist book, I had used an aluminum prong binding process, almost identical to what was used by Kodak and Ansco for their promotional processing booklets. The downside to the manual prong binding process was the tedious punching of the holes and getting the alignment of the holes correct. Since I was using a hand paper punch, I could only punch three pages at a time. I busted a couple of these punches when I pushed the amount of pages to hole punch. One result of the prong binding was another reason to keep the edition size of Pine Lake to 25.

With the pamphlet sewn stitch, still a very manual process, it is keeping me literally in touch with each and every photobook that I am making. Even the ice pick tool to make the holes for the pamphlet stitching is from the same 1940’s period as the found photographs, or maybe even earlier. A very subtle, essentially unseen, and metaphoric book binding process.

The colors for Bluewater Shore were selected from those used in the same late 1940’s period as my short story is set in. The Canson 300 gm cover is a Sky Blue and the waxed Irish linen thread is a wonderful pink, aptly called Bubble Gum. You can still find these two colors in many of the bathrooms and kitchens of the 1950’s and probably 1960’s houses in the US. My parent’s house in Michigan comes quickly to mind. Oh yes, these were two of my mom’s favorite colors as well, thus another symbolic element.

What I did determine during the construction of this maquette is that my HP desktop printer can not process the 300 gm cover stock. This heavy paper jams the paper feeder and it jams it really well. Thus back to my Epson 4800, which I had suspected that I would need to use and I should have started with it to begin with. sigh. Some lessons are harder to learn than others.

A big change for Bluewater Shore will be that this artist photobook will not have the matching hand made wood frame and cover as did Pine Lake. Since I want to increase the edition size and keep this artist book reasonable priced, I need to make some changes, this probably being one. One thought is to have a large edition of just the stiff-cover book, and a smaller edition of the hand made frame and stiff-cover book. Nice thing about being an artist, I can change my mind on this.

Another change I am making is the printing of the interior pages. With Pine Lake, I had utilized laser printing from a local quick print shop. hmmmm, an area for improvement.  For Bluewater Shore, I will be using an offset lithographic printing process, probably two color. Still working the print, fold and trim details out with a local printer. I will have the printer also fold and trim to a saddle stitch style (without the saddle stitching) so that the signatures will be ready to stitch to the cover. I also plan to increase the limited edition size to 100 or more.

Another draw back to the small edition of Pine Lake was the limited samples available to send out for reviews; there just weren’t any. Thus Pine Lake ended up being under the radar a bit. So for Bluewater Shore, I want to have enough copies to send out to my fellow photobook reviewers to generate some buzzzzzzz. Or at least I hope it will get a little :- D

Cheers!

oh, as to the contents of the maquette, here’s a tease:

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January 3, 2014

New Year – 2014

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untitled (working title: Bluewater Shore) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

At the beginning of the year I like to think about what I might accomplish for the coming year, with this being more of a bunch of loose-goosey planing objectives. Having worked in corporate for tooo many years, I know how rigid and constricting a plan can get. As an artist, I think that having some objectives is actually a good thing, e.g. to ensure that I try some new things and explore some wild ideas. Allow myself to listen to the faint whispering of my creative muse.

One of the fun things that evolved last year was my first artist photobook Pine Lake. All in all, I am very satisfied with this artist photobook and I had kinda realized that if this worked out well enough (translation: I sold some), that I would do at least one more, if not two. Truth is I did more than just selling some, as about all of the Edition is gone. The response to the Pine Lake book has been delightful!

Even while developing Pine Lake, I was already planning for a second book in this series that investigates memory, family, relationships, nostalgia and loss. Similar to Pine Lake, this will be another semi-fictional short story with this one based on a young woman and her girlfriends going on a holiday to the shore set in the late 1940’s using “found” anonymous photographs that perchance were residing in my family’s old photo albums.

This second artist photobook will also incorporate some lessons learned from self-publishing Pine Lake. I will elaborate on those changes in the coming weeks as I finish the design and publishing as I am still tweaking some of these changes. Nevertheless I do plan to have the actual stiff cover book about the same size as Pine Lake, what I am unsure of at this time is to also include the outer custom frame. I also want to increase the edition size in order to have copies available to send to reviewers, something that I was unable to do with Pine Lake. So this book will be similar but yet different.

For now, I am working on creating my book dummy and to my initial point above, my objective is to have a book dummy to carry around with me at photo l.a. that starts on January 17 – 19 at the LA Mart. In this case, my book dummy is not to share with any publishers but rather I have a number of friends who I usually meet up with at photo l.a. and I want to bounce this project off their creative skulls. And the best way to obtain great feedback is to have a book dummy that they can play with.

So enough of this, I need to get back to printing the test images :- D

Cheers!

December 30, 2013

Pine Lake featured in Emaho Magazine

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Pine Lake copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale.

I was thinking earlier today that I should finish the year with a post about what my objectives were for next year and thoughts about this past year.

But then Manik Katyal, the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of Emaho magazine disrupted my great plans with his article about Pine Lake. So how cool is that?!

I have to admit, what a very, very nice way to end the year. So check it out here.

Cheers!

Oh, and there are only a few copies of Pine Lake left now.

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